Sunday, June 09, 2013

SPAIN! (part one)

Well, finally. Here's a little on our recent trip to Spain! We very nearly didn't make it, as our flight from Bangor to Philadelphia was delayed by approximately 1 hour. We had just taxied away from the gate when the captain announced that there was a stop on all flights into Philly, apparently owing to some wind storm or something. So there was sat, on the runway, for just about an hour. That was bad news for us, as we only had about an hour and a half in Philly to make our connection on to Madrid! We all hoped and prayed that no flights were leaving from there as well. We finally took off and, after an uneventful flight, arrived in Philly, which was sunny and warm with a very modest breeze. Go figure. We arrived at the F terminal, I believe, and had to go all the way to the A terminal by bus. Thankfully, we didn't have to go through security again. When we arrived at the A terminal, we all started running, Brad and Marlene in front and me a short ways behind them. We ran for what seemed like forever and finally made it to our departure gate where they were holding the flight just for us! They knew we were on our way, as we had been issued our boarding passes for Madrid in Bangor. At last, we all made it onto the plane (hot and sweaty and with everyone else looking a little peeved at us for causing the delay), they shut the door and off we went! Phew! We had made it! And a good thing, too, as one of the flight attendants said he was so glad we had boarded as the flights to Madrid for the next few days were booked solid! After a very smooth 7.5 hour flight, we landed in Madrid. We had all just packed carry-ons, so we breezed through through Spanish Customs, took the subway into Madrid, and with Brad's internal GPS working well, we were at our apartment in no time. Since no one had been staying there the night before, we were able to check in upon arrival, around 1:00 p.m. or so. The place was very well appointed: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths with a large dining room and living room and an ample deck. Shaun promptly fell asleep in one of the comfortable chairs and I was a bit tired and jet-lagged, so Brad, Mary and Don and Marlene went off to find a grocery store to pick up food for dinner and breakfast the next morning and some wine! Shaun continued to sleep and I took a shower. Ahhh. Soon enough, the four others were back with plenty of food and drink. We then all went out and walked around a bit to get our bearings and then it was back to the apartment for a great meal and a fairly early night. After a good night's sleep, we were all ready to start our one-day exploration of Spain's capital! It was cool (as in see your breath cool!). Brad and I had decided that we were going to check out the new Dali exhibition at the Reina Sophia museum, while the rest of the gang went to The Prado. After waiting in line for over an hour to get tickets for the Dali exhibition, we got to the ticket booth just as they changed the time for the viewing from 3:00 p.m. to 3:30, which was when we had arranged to hook up with the others. Crap! We decided to just visit the part of the remainder of the museum and forgo Dali. By this time it had started to rain, so we spent an hour or so wandering around the museum before we made our way back to The Prado. We explored the area a bit as we did so, and a gal from a tapas restaurant stopped us on the street and told us about their specials. We promised to return, as so we did, in the pouring rain and with everyone in tow. We had a cheese plate, fried potatoes with a mayo sauce, and calamari (I think). Everything was very good and we had a chance to dry off before going out to explore more of Madrid. The rain had stopped and we walked around and finally made our way to the Retiero Park, which is a huge and gorgeous park in the middle of the capital. After one more night in our beautiful apartment, we arose fairly early the next morning to take the subway to the train station where we boarded our fast train to Malaga, which took us there in just over 3 hours. Once there, Brad went off to pick up his rented bike and Don and Mary (as our designated drivers) sorted out our car rentals. Before too long, we were wending our way out of Malaga en route to our villa, close to Salobrena. More on that soon! In the meantime, here are some pics of our digs in Madrid. Those umbrellas there by the doorway sure would have come in handy if any of us had thought to take them along during our museum day! Oh, and that narrow table with the lamp on it in the hallway - I walked smack dab into it, knocking over the lamp (which thankfully didn't break), during a nightime, no-lights visit to the bathroom. The air turned a very hushed shade of blue, as I was trying not to wake up everyone else in the building! Hasta pronto!

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