Yo habla Englais?
Trip Start Sep 13, 2010
87Trip End Feb 02, 2011
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Hola! Yo Habla Englais?
That was the phrase that I used most often in Madrid this past weekend. One quick witted airline clerk responded, “Poquito, yo habla Espana?” I responded, “Un poquito, poquito!” Not surprisingly, you can get by with a few words, phrases, smiles and gestures in almost any language.
Arriving in Madrid at 9 a.m. local time after our 10 hour flight from NYC, we were dragging. Our flight was delayed on the ground at JFK due to thunderstorms for three hours. Everyone was happy to escape the airplane upon arrival. A quick trip on the subway to central Madrid and a short taxi ride put us into our room at Hostal Triana, which occupies two of six floors of an old building a block from Plaza del Sol
Friday evening we wandered around sampling tapas and wine and just checking out the scene in the immediate neighborhood. It is always a culture shock coming to Europe. The architecture, the layout and size of the streets, the people, the language all seen so very exotic. Every corner you turn is another monument or architectural masterpiece. We finished off the evening by attending “Ballet Flamenco Madrid”, an entertaining mix of Flamenco, modern dance and ballet. This took place across the small plaza from our room.
The Hostal Triana is centrally located between the two top sites in Madrid, the Prado and the Royal Palace, home of King Carlos. Saturday morning we walked to the Prado right at opening time, avoiding most of the crowds. After viewing hundreds of paintings and sculptures, most notably the Spanish masters, Goya, Valenzuela and El Greco, we were ready for a break. So, we jumped on the “hop on- hop off” double decker tour bus and saw the sights of Madrid, while resting our feet. The “Palacia Real” is the home of the Spanish monarchy and they open about 15 rooms for public viewing. Arriving around 3 p.m. put us in a line for about 20 minutes for tickets, but after that the crowds really spread out. The wealth that was invested in the care and keeping of the monarchy was astounding. But, then again, look at the White House…..
Saturday night started with an all you can eat buffet, the Hawaiian state sporting event. The Spaniards wouldn’t stand a chance in competition with the local bruddahs back home in Hawaii nei.
Sunday was sleep in day….arose at noon local time. A quick takeout lunch and a tour of the Sunday flea market. They shut down a half dozen streets in the antique shop area and put up 10’ by 10 booths chock a block in about a square mile. Like the states there is a lot of repetition in goods offered, scarves and “pantaloons” were the prevalent offering, but everything from shoes to junk and stuff were displayed. This is a good time to mention that Madrid is built upon a bunch of rolling hills, we went down one street and up the next…great exercise.
Sunday night is the night for bull fights. A quick ride on the subway deposited us at the Plaza de Toro. Inexpensive (10 euro) tickets put us in the sombre (shaded) section close to the action
On to Lisbon in the morning.