Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I flew out Sunday at five thirty and landed in Madrid at about six thirty. It was still dark. I remember that when I flew in to Spain for the first time in 1969 that I could see a good bit of the country in the daylight, so I must have left later in the evening.

I lucked out on my seat when a boy wanted to switch with me so he could sit with his girlfriend. That moved me from the middle to the edge of the plane where there were only two seats in a row. No one took the other seats, so for the trip I had two seats for all my junk and as extra space to stretch out.
I was to request this aisle seat on my way back home.  It seems the best seat for me because it frees up the bathroom access.
I did not sleep well, but some.
I was tired but not exhausted when we landed, and I managed to find my way to get my baggage.
From the airport I took a cab, and it was good that I wrote down the address of the hostal as the cabby did not know them. It was thirty dollars as advertised. I had to wait a while to get in and get registered. 
The hostal was a very low budget place. 
There is not always someone on duty. In fact, there is rarely anyone on duty. 
It is a very tiny room, but it will do.
For full review see this link
Once in the hotel I took a walk around the Plaza Tirso de Molina and then took a great nap.

I used the day to shop for drinks. Wine is very inexpensive in the grocery by the bottle. I'm drinking a nice bottle of tempranillo that cost about two dollars.
I was glad I packed my tea cup because no cups are provided. The soap is a liquid for bathing and another shampoo. I brought a fine bar of soap that will last me the trip.
After a good nap, I walked to Plaza Mayor

and then to Puerta del Sol. 

I remember Puerta del Sol as much larger than it appeared in my visit.  It was the center of most of our travels in Madrid in those old days. 
The GPS on the phone could not seem to get me to Sol, and finally I asked someone.
While I wandered to the erratic directions of the phone, I got a good look at the streets and the shops and plenty of people, mostly tourists.
I almost went to a concert that I'm sure I would have enjoyed, but I was just too tired, and I was waiting for Frank to phone anyway.
After he called, I walked out again and circled Tirso de Molino. There were large groups of Black men with large bundles wrapped in blankets. Perhaps they were a soccer team. 
Also, there were a dozen or so young men with black shirts and "today" and "tomorrow" written on them with a drawing under "today" of a group of men and one under "tomorrow" with a bride and groom. I wondered what that was about. Frank supposed it was a bachelor party.
The rest of the plaza was either picked up and quiet or the outdoor seating for food venues. Mostly young people sat at them and talked.

Earlier there was loud drumming coming from somewhere, but later there was just mild street noises and the din of conversation. I did not find it hard to sleep with such noises. However, it is a great contrast to living on the lake where nights are very quiet.

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