|Are we there yet?|
Well, everything was going swimmingly until we stopped at a halfway point for lunch. When we loaded back onto the bus something went wrong and it wouldn't start again. Being the only English speakers among the group of travelers, we had trouble figuring out what we were supposed to do next. Our circumstances began to look rosier when someone told us that another bus was taking some of the passengers to "something, something America." Embarrassingly, our first instinct was, "Oh, it's a bus for Americans!" Come to find out, it was going to Madrid's Intercambiador de Avenida de América — a station we didn't have tickets to. I told Alan that it's just like a bunch of Americans to think a magical bus appeared across the parking lot just for us.
|Paella de Arroz Negro|
Stuffed, we took an after-dinner stroll around Puerta del Sol, the neighborhood we're staying in. Our first impression of Madrid is that it's a lively, more modern city — with full sidewalks even on a Tuesday night and newer facades compared to the historic ones we've grown accustomed to seeing. We noted that we didn't even pass one church, which is bizarre coming from towns with a basilica on every corner. There's still a lot to see, though. And we're looking forward to taking as much of it in as possible. Our first-day itinerary includes an orientation walk and a tour of the Museo del Prado, one of Europe's finest collections of art dating from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries. We're most excited to see what's considered to be one of the greatest paintings in the world — one that I mentioned earlier — Velázquez's Los Meninas.
|Our much-needed Tempranillo|