We discovered that flying from Barcelona to Madrid early in the morning was the cheapest way to go, and so we went. We caught the bus from the airport to the Atocha Railway Station, a lovely restored iron and glass rail station. Here are a couple pics of the inside plaza! (better pics at the Wikipedia link)
We had no real plans for the day, so we wandered around town a bit.
One of the walls at the Plaza Mayor,
Looking west and north behind the Royal Palace. In the foreground, Campo del Moro, behind is even more greenspace, the Casa del Campo, and in the distance, you can see the mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Everything had really greened up in the two weeks we’d been traveling. Here’s the Paseo del Prado, one of major roads through Madrid.
We relaxed about the Botanical Garden by the Prado. Though I don’t have allergies, at one point I started sneezing and sneezing. And then I saw this,
I got myself a pair of hip new shoes at Elena Hernández Zapaterias. They make me taller!
Actually, they are last fall’s style, so as usual, I am out of fashion. El Naturalista Ankle Boots, and they were almost half the price that Amazon is selling them for. Worth a trip, wouldn’t you say?
When we got on the plane to come home, it seemed empty. And then 100 boarding school students (in uniform) between the ages of 8 and 15 got on and filled the plane. It was like being in a middle school lunch room. They were mostly up and out of their seats, switching seats, chatting and loudly chatting and very loudly chatting. The girl who sat with us was not. I think it’s because she didn’t like flying (based on her exclamation when we landed). Other than that, she seemed put out that she wasn’t sitting with her friends. In the end I thought she was probably shy, a little sullen, and most likely spoiled. She briefly answered the few questions put to her (in Spanish, she also answered in Spanish), but didn’t elaborate or volunteer anything.
When the plane landed the swell behind us pushed forward. I pushed the young man right back and told him to wait for the rest of us in the front. And then I stood and let the mom and her two teenagers on the other side get out first. And then the kids started pushing the button to call the flight attendant. She came up and told them not to, that it was for emergencies. These kids were heading back to a private boarding school near Dublin for the last part of their term. You’d think they’d understand English well-enough, and I suppose they did. But they kept pushing the buttons. “¡Oye! ¡Maleducados! No se puede tocarlo” (Hey, you rude little beasts, you’re not allowed to touch that). A bunch of them looked at me in shock, stopped doing it for about 3 minutes. And then started up again.
We complimented all the flight attendants and told them they surely deserved time off or a bonus or at the least a good drink. And the mom next to us? She said (in perfect nearly unaccented English, though she was Spanish) “No wonder their parents ship them off to boarding school.”
I got sicker and sicker as we traveled home. Though I was sneezing the day before, I’m blaming those 100 boarding school kids! Luckily for me, it was just a cold like normal people get colds, so I didn’t miss any work and, more importantly, got well pretty quickly.
We’ve been home over a month, and I miss Spain (the coffee, the wine, the language, all the sights, the people)! Maybe another trip is in order, though for the next trip, I’d like to spend more time in one area and just take day trips from there, to really settle into a place for a while.