Got on the plane around 6 PM Toronto time, someone unfortunately sitting next to me in the middle seat. After boarding had completed, he said that since nobody was on the aisle, he would move over. I said “It’ll be nice to have some extra room, eh?” To which he replied, “You’re from Canada aren’t you?”. Apparently me saying “Eh” had given it away. Turns out he was from North Carolina. He must not have anticipated that he’d encounter any Canadians on a flight from Toronto…. That pretty much concluded the conversation between us.
Slept for the majority of the 7ish hour flight, had dinner, and not long before landing, they served us a continental breakfast, which was a piece of “spiced loaf”, not far off from banana bread. This plane had strayed away from the option of having traditional pull-down window shades. Instead, you pressed a button, which changed the amount of light which came through the glass. The flight attendants had closed everyone’s so we could enjoy some rest.
Landed, cleared customs, which was just a stamp of the passport, and went out to meet Nico. He is a friend whom I met while he was studying in Canada. Not more than an hour before I landed, he had arrived to the airport on a flight from Mexico, where he was on vacation visiting friends. He landed at Terminal 4, and I was in Terminal 1. Apparently he has never taken the Metro (subway system) from Terminal 1, so it was a bit of a struggle to find our way. I suggested we follow the sign that said Metro, but he opted to ask an employee, who sent us the wrong way.
I wasn’t sure of the plan for today, but it turned out we were going to stay in Madrid for a few days, and we would be staying at his Aunt’s house. (Nico lives in Zaragoza, and we will be going there next.) Arrived via the Metro to a cute house with a lot of character. His Aunt, a professional interior designer, has done a remarkable job of decorating the living space. Will try to get a photo of the inside soon.
His Aunt, uncle, and cousins weren’t home yet, they had been in a different city visiting the beach, but they would arrive later in the evening. After leaving our things there, we headed out. First stop, a place to eat. His uncle suggested (via text message) that we try out a place called Cereal Hunters, about a 30 minute walk away. Perhaps we could’ve taken transit, but walking provided me with optimal tourist viewing opportunities…. Holy $h!# was what I said when I arrived and saw the plethora of choices available. They had types which I’d never even heard of! Got a bowl with two different kinds, and then we had to decide about the type of milk we desired. Probably 10 different choices, ranging from whole, almond, soy, chocolate, etc.
Indulged in that, and then moved along. Rented these pedal-bike type things for a few euros, and took them on a trip though Parque el Retiro, which I guess means Retirement Park. More info can be found here.) It is quite large, and is hard to see all the different sites on foot. I noticed a body of water with many people rowing boats on. One bike had four wheels, and the other only three. We traded off part way through, and rode around for a while, taking in different parts of the park. We cruised on through some big winding garden, not sure if that was allowed though.
Eventually we came to a large decent in the road, and took a ride down, at a pretty good speed. There were a few speed bumps in our way, which almost made us go off the road as we attempted to pass over them, whilst still maintaining our speed. Decided to pedal our way back up after reaching the bottom. On our second run, just before we reached the bottom, Nico reached for the handbrake of the trike and tried to slow down. Apparently it made some screeching noise, and then the rear right tire came flying off, leaving him with only two wheels. I guess he collided with the curb, which stopped him. A small scene was caused, a few people gazed over, but then went back about their business. The wheel was pushed back onto the frame, and we road back to the rental shop.
Hopped on an electric scooter which you can rent from your phone, like a Car2Go, and rode somewhere else. (More info found here.) Nico drove, and I stood on behind him, clinging on to his shoulders. He said that if the police saw us, I had to hop off quickly, as only one person was allowed per scooter. Not one minute into the ride, two officers were crossing the street, in a crowd of people. I quickly got off, and began to casually walk behind the scooter, but they had already taken notice, and yelled at me from a-far that only one person was allowed. Once out of view from them, I hopped back on, and we rode through the park to the other side, parking it on the street.
Walked around some more, looking at different sights along the way. He told me about different things, and their significance, etc. The first building pictured below is called Plaza de Cibeles, which is City Hall for Madrid. The second one is Puerta de Acalá. It is the first modern post-Roman triumphal arch built in Europe (More info here.)
Lunch at a burger shack, then home for siesta, which is an afternoon nap. Usually not lasting more than an hour, but ours went for nearly four!
Took us a while to get going again, but left for dinner around 9:30 PM, which is a normal dinner time for here. Walked for 20 minutes, and arrived to an open air kind of place. Tried two dishes I’ve never had before, and shared a piece of lime or lemon pie for desert. Took a Lime scooter back home, about a ten minute ride, and met his Aunt and Uncle when we got back around midnight. Their kids are staying with relatives for a few days, so I didn’t meet them.
Relaxed and wrote this when we got home, not tired yet, as we had a long rest this afternoon. More activities planned for tomorrow!
Weather today was around 33 or so, but remained warm throughout the night, which I’m told isn’t that common. This morning when we landed at 7 AM, it was already 21 degrees. Another warm one scheduled for tomorrow I believe.
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