Sunday, May 8, 2016

Day 4 (Sunday): Madrid, Semi-mother's day

Day 4 (Sunday): Madrid

POTD: Good morning: Bom dia

Weather: Rain, cold and raining, rain

Department of clarification: Happy Mom’s Day to you qualifying Americans out there; for you Spanish mom’s, you’ll have to wait another week, it is celebrated on May 15th here this year. DB is double or triple dipping: she got her present from THB before we left, she got a card today, and she’ll have a tough time getting a lunch rezzie next week!

THB is up and groggy and sloggy after a short night and down to the fitness center for a short and sloggy workout. Tortidas (small, very small pancakes) with fruit and yogurt and lots of decaf. DB goes for revueltos (scrambled eggs) and a smattering of other stuff and lots of decaf. Breakfasts are included. In fact, most of the trip is pre-paid, so there’s no way to break out hotel costs.
Left side

Right side

At 9, we meet with SA and DA in the lobby; SA’s cousin and wife are in town, having ended a tour of Spain, and are joining us for the day.
Portion of the outside of the Real Madrid soccer stadium

Not for long: the six of us walk through the rain to a pick-up point for one of the city tour lines (there’s nothing quite like a city tour where you keep having to wipe the fog off the inside of the windows). 10E each for the two of us pensioners, the other four are younger and pay a bit more. They depart near one of the largest private collection museums, Thyssen Museum, to start their tour there. 
Foggy up front

Foggy on the sides

Clear with the windows open

We stay on for one more stop then stroll (in the rain) to visit the Caixa Forum and Reina Sofia Museum with modern and contemporary art.

Interesting color choice in men's room

We make it to the Caixa, 4E pp entrance fee, and view two exhibitions: Miro sculptures in many forms and odd deconstructed wall pieces, and “cartoons” for installations at Versailles from the 17th century.

Somebody stuck their umbrella on a Miro?

It’s still raining, mildly, as we walk 5 minutes or so to the Sofia, arriving around noon. There’s some sort of demonstration going on (under umbrellas) and a decent line outside the museum awaiting entrance. THB and DB join the line (with umbrellas unfurled) and decide that maybe heading to lunch and then back to the Urso seems more prudent.
Reina Sofia Museum: glass elevators

Fifteen minutes later we’re inside Frida’s (another Eloisa tip) to find out we need a rezzie (for what appears to be an extremely casual café holding about 50. Maybe the locals thought this really was Mom’s Day, though THB scans the crowd and there are no mom-offspring pairings around (THB did not yet know Spain’s moms were celebrating next week).

Back to the restaurant atop the market/food court nearby and lunch at La Cocina of San Anton. Fish soup and cerveza for THB, focaccia with an impressive lump of burrata on top and cava for DB, 45E. When we arrive, La Cocina is empty, when we depart they are starting to fill up (the waiter clues us in to Spain’s moms day).

Gluten free?

We buy a bit of bread and cheese for en suite dining mid-afternoon, and return in the rain to the Urso for a well needed nap or two before rejoining the others.

The decision is to meet in the lobby around 7:30 for pre-game drinks before the tapas tour at 8:30. Unfortunately, our guide doesn’t show and finally DA gives a call to our agency’s “we need help" number….several calls back and forth and it becomes clear we’ve been forgotten. Teresa, the guide, arrives at 9:15 with humble apologies and starts the standard intro: where have you already been. THB and DB figure out that our portion of the tour is either going to be severely truncated (i.e., we’re going to be ready to leave part way through) or we’d be better off staying at the hotel. We opt for the latter, take a couple of glasses of wine up to the room and finish off the bread and cheese and have a couple of chocolate olives for dessert.

We’ll find out tomorrow how it went for the other four…

Book Review #3: Red Sparrow, Jason Matthews (novel): Book 1 of 2 of the KGB vs the CIA brought right up to the minute, Putin's in charge (he's ex-KGB). In other words, the cold war is alive and well. THB has read book 2 of 2, The Palace of Treason, and recommend you read both, in the right order, earliest to latest. 

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