Today we said adios to Buenos Aires and hola to Madrid, Spain! Of course, Donna couldn’t resist one more stop to San Telmo before leaving and even though we teased her, we didn’t mind because we love antiquing, people watching and sipping mate as much as she does.
Kelly found a beautiful silver cross that she plans to give her daughter, Gabriela, but I think Lisa stumbled on the most amazing find: an antique lacquer box. I don’t know how old it is or what it was originally meant for, but it’s got a beautiful amber patina with gold flowers along the edges, and it’s so small it can fit in her purse. It’s extraordinary!
The flight was long—11 hours from Buenos Aires to Madrid and that doesn’t count the hour delay on the runway, but once we got in our seats it wasn’t bad to have time to sit back and relax. I know that sounds strange because flying is usually such a horrible experience, but Donna’s travel agent booked us in business class on every flight. I can’t even imagine what that cost but it is definitely the way to go! The only problem is that I am getting so spoiled that I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to coach.
Once we arrived in Madrid, we found out our bags had mistakenly been sent to Rio! The airport agent finally sorted out the problem and said they would be delivered to our hotel, the Gran Melia Fenix, the next day (By the way, I love, love, love our hotel! Although the bathrooms are kind of small, it oozes charm. I guess that’s why The Beatles stayed here in 1965. Now if only David Beckham would return while we’re here – he is so handsome!).
Luckily we all had thought to bring at least one change of clothes and a few toiletries, but Donna said she hopes our bags are lost for a few days because that will give us a great excuse to spend more time in Puerta del Sol, where she’s already mapped out the stores.
Madrid Attractions: El Parque del Buen Retiro
Since we all love gardening and making our backyards beautiful, one of our first places to visit after showering was El Parque del Buen Retiro, which we’d all read about online. Until we got there, we had no idea just how glorious it is! Of all the Madrid attractions, my favorite was the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), a glass building with gorgeous ceramic tiles that was once a greenhouse! When the sun hits it just right, it’s like you’re in a rainbow.
We couldn’t walk quickly because we were in various states of jet lag but that was fine by everyone. Kelly kept looking around with an awed expression; she probably thought this is what we’d all be living in if Adam and Eve hadn’t been so stupid and gotten us kicked out of Eden.
We started walking slowly around the lake and saw a Monument to someone who we knew had to be a big deal because it was huge and had marble lions next to it. Later we found out the monument was for Alfonso XII, who was King of Spain for 11 years beginning in 1874. (Personally, I think you should be king for at least 50 years to get marble lions but what do I know?)
Lisa saw a woman set up with tarot cards near the marble lions so she decided to have a reading. Kelly did NOT want anything to do with that, so she said she’d walk around and come back later. Donna also went off – not because she’s opposed to tarot but because she was thirsty.
Of course Lisa wanted to know when/if she is going to meet a guy and get married. The woman explained that the cards aren’t that explicit and must be interpreted. In the end what I got out of it is she’s going to fall in love with something, it could be a handsome man, a new sculpture for her backyard or puppy and she’s due for a lot of money, so maybe she’ll get a new job or win the lottery. Who knows?