Our voyage began with a flight on United from Washington Dulles Airport. The flight is at 5:50 on a Sunday so we were fortunate to avoid any traffic. It is a rather painless flight out due to the fact that we have Global Entry and were expedited through security. The flight east totally messes me up, especially the “shorter ones”. We were awakened by the crew at midnight (having just fallen asleep) for breakfast. UGHHH. Ellie is a trooper and even with an hour or so of sleep she awoke in a good mood! We arrived in a stupor but there were few crowds, so the arrival through customs was painless. We get our bags and headed out to the shuttle waiting area for transportation to our hotel.
I booked the 4 Points Sheraton Madrid just so that we could have a day or two to adjust to the jet lag – good thing since we did not sleep on the plane. I know they say only nap a little to adjust to the time but we both slept about 6 hours and were much better for it. It was a very nice hotel, with a nice restaurant and beautiful pool area. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s too far from the center. We had to take a cab and it’s about $20 each way. Good thing is we only had to do it once.
My husband had a friend in high school that was an exchange student from Spain. We contacted him through Facebook and he came to pick us up the first night. Eduardo and his lovely wife were fantastic. They gave us a tour of Madrid then drove us to see their house (they were remodeling otherwise we could have stayed there) and to meet their two boys, 13 and 18. There was a local carnival down the road so they took us there for Ellie. We had some local carnival food – blood sausage (morcilla) and some empanadas. They weren’t bad but our hosts said the sausage not very good. Ellie had a great time and our friends dropped us off at the hotel.
Madrid – Day 2
Our friends had to work so we slept in and cabbed it into the historic center. We found a local playground, a carousel, and had an English breakfast (they eat late here about 10/11 am). Then we found the BIG park right in the heart of the city – it’s like Central Park in NY. We found a pedicab and took a ride around for almost an hour. It was so much fun! They have a large pond you can rent paddle boats, sit at a cafe, refresh and people watch. Most importantly, they have several playgrounds on which the children can play. We both had a wonderful day!
Our friends were running late so we went down to the pool. It was too cold for me and Ellie just kind of played around. Our friend Eduardo picked us up again. We ended up in the oldest part of the city and in one of the oldest restaurants. They have all kinds of wells and caves inside, really cool. We had great morcilla this time, as well as, fresh bread and the best, fresh Iberico ham. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant – it’s a few doors up from the oldest one in Madrid.
They took us for a walk around the old town, it was a lovely evening with perfect hosts. It’s so much better to be with locals!! Gracias amigos!