Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
Trip End Jul 20, 2008

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Flag of Spain  , Madrid,
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wow! 3 nights in Madrid - what a vibrant, bustling town.  Our hostal was slap bang in the centre of all the action - Puerto del Sol.  Thank goodness for the double glazed glass on the french doors and the rolla-shutter.  Or we would have been awake ALL night as opposed to just 4am!
Our friend from the hospitality club - Goyo was great and spent a couple of days walking us around all the sights and took us to a Sideria which was like another world.  The only description I can come up with is like a scene from a Dickensian novel.  From outside. . .nothing.  Inside the smoke-filled bar a noisy, joyful crowd, talking ten-to-the-dozen, drinking eating and celebrating each others company.  Tapas came with the cider, and the tradition is to pour into the glass from a great height and strange angle!  Anyway - lots of fun.
Madrid is incredibly well organised in Barrajas Airport & the Metro, trains are always on time, clean and efficient.  Great to be able to get to and from the airport for 2 Euros with no dramas, rather than pay huge amounts for cabs.
On the first night in town we went to Corral de la Morreria Flamenco show - booked at home on the advice of Goyo.  We scammed our way to the front table, (or rather our French friends did for us), touching the stage and so feeling the pulse.  The show was fabulous - passionate and dramatic, dancers almost trance-like.  The flamenco guitars were excellent as well.

Absolute credit to Brenda on her organisation for this leg of the journey. She booked the perfect location in a newly renovated room in the historical (and nightclub) quarter of Madrid months back - did the same with the Flamenco show, both without a hitch. Better than a travel agent. Then Madrid also turned on the flawless airport and Metro. Even though it ¨rained in Spain¨ on our first day, it fined up to make it a great experience. We got to see the Picasso exhibit at the Reina Sofia including Guernica. Brenda also went to the Prado but as we have found with a lot of things here, a reluctance to signpost in English had her in the wrong line for the Goya exhibition.
Walking walking walking......... we must be fit. I reckon we must be walking 6-10 hours a day. But there is not much we miss by walking. Lucky we are only 35 years old and not 65!
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