First day in Spain

Trip Start Jul 14, 2011
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Spain  , Madrid,
Friday, July 15, 2011

Plane landed in Madrid a little after 7:00 am (Madrid time).  Unfortunately, I only got about 1 hour's sleep while flying.  I fell asleep almost immediately on the plane, but woke up when dinner was served and then never was able to go back to sleep.  So I listened to some music and some podcasts on my ipod.  This American Life really helps make the time go by.

Everything at the airport was incredibly smooth and fast.  I was originally going to carry my bag on board, but decided to check in at the last minute.  When I got to baggage claim the luggage was already coming out, my bag wasn't there yet so I decided to use the restroom first.  By the time I got out my bag was there.  I grabbed it, made my way outdoors and the bus I needed to take downtown was right there.  It was about a 30 minute ride into the center of Madrid and then about a 10 minute walk to my hostal.  It was early (about 9:00 am), so I didn't think I would be able to check in but decided to see if I could at least leave my bag there.  However, when Javier answered the door he told me that my room was all ready and I could come right in!  That was great.  I spent some time organizing my things, taking a shower, etc. 

After my shower I decided I should go out and get some breakfast and walk around a bit.  I am so glad I decided to say in the same hostal I stayed in 2 years ago because I know the area right around where I am staying.  Feels really good to be able to walk out the door and walk confidently to where I want to go.  I went to the VIPs cafe that is about a block from here and had a pretty yummy breakfast -- a croissant with ham and melted cheese with some great Spanish coffee (I really love the coffee in Spain).

My goal is to say awake until a reasonable time to got to bed tonight.  I want to get on the correct schedule as quickly as possible.  So with that in mind, I decided to go to the Thyssen-Bornemisza art museum which is really close to the hostal.  When I was here 2 years ago I went to the 2 other big art museums but didn't make it to the Thyssen, so thought that now was a good time to do that.  It worked out really well.  I spent 4 hours there.  I was really impressed by the collection -- they have a little bit of everything, it seems.  I saw paintings by almost any artist you can name.  I especially liked the impressionist collection, some of the 20th century art (Picasso, Dali, etc) and the El Greco paintings (a couple of really nice El Greco's there!)  I particularly enjoyed seeing a Salvador Dali painting in person that I have looked at many times in art books: Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening In addition to the permanent collection, I bought a ticket to see the special exhibit they are doing on Antonio Lopez.  Gretchen and I saw a smaller exhibit of his work in Boston a couple of years ago, but this one was much bigger.  All in all in was a nice way to spend 4 hours.

Now I guess I better go find something else to eat.  
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Bill Leonard on

Hi, glad everything went so smoothly! Sounds great, and I love the blog method of communication. Hope you have a great time.

Julie Doyle on

Glad you arrived safe and sound and things went so well. It does sound really nice to be there but be familiar with where to go and how to get around, not to mention of course being able to speak the language. Much easier to enjoy being in a foreign country!

catswain on

Yes, being able to speak the language is a major plus. I know I wouldn't feel as comfortable if I were somewhere where I didn't speak the language.

Heidi Reynolds on

Glad things are going well. I finished at the museum today and we will spend the next 2 days doing some sightseeing. I am so glad I came, I learned so much. Hope you have a wonderful time!!

Stuart on

Baby Big Head is sorta freaky. Museum sounds great.

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