Our Madrid stay got off to a hilariously rocky start. Brooke and I arrived on different airlines and of course, as we failed to realize, that meant our arrival terminals would be different, so we had no clue how much our parting words of “meet in baggage claim” lacked any sort of common sense. Of course, after my flight arrived an hour late, I walked to my baggage and, after talking with the tourist information desk, realized I was two terminals away. I proceeded to wait (forever) for my baggage to arrive and then go in search of Terminal 2. However, Terminal 2 was a solid 15-minute bus ride away from Terminal 4, and by this time I already had my phone on and was texting Brooke, hoping she had also gone into minor panic mode once discovering I would not in fact be meeting her at baggage claim.
By the time I arrived at Terminal 2, I had received a text back saying she would be waiting where the terminal shuttles were. But in natural airport chaos, the Terminal 2 shuttle arrival and departure stations were 2 different places. So, I started walking around Terminal 2 looking for the shuttle departure area, and Brooke. Finally, like a scene of a movie, one that I might call Terminal 2 (hahahah I’m hilarious, I know), I was gliding down the moving walkway and I saw Brooke standing way up ahead of me. And in true movie fashion, she started walking away from me. So I took off hustling down the walkway calling out her name and FINALLY we were reunited, a good hour after we had arrived. Then we bought our metro passes and we were off to the city!
After exiting at our metro stop and walking one way for a while and trying to decipher our map with the corresponding street signs and numbers, we finally asked a local man (In Spanish! And I could understand him!!), if he could point out the address. Of course, thanks to the terribly labeled European streets (yes it’s a massive and correct generalization) we had actually passed it while walking. The hotel was hidden down a driveway, but just steps away from the metro stop — so handy!
Once we unpacked and relaxed a little, we took off in search of some food, or more specifically: sangria and tapas! Walking through the streets was so fun! Madrid was a city full of culture and color, definitely a contrast to the uniformity of Paris and its old, large, beige buildings! After discovering the grocery store around the corner was closed, as it was Sunday evening and siesta time, we decided to just wander around and find a restaurant. After walking a while, we ran into the park, Plaza España, just a few blocks from our hotel, and kept walking down a large shopping street where we kept passing restaurant after restaurant, all of which were obviously touristy and definitely over our budget. Once we were fairly burned out and hungry we finally saw a sign for yet another tapas place, but once that was actually reasonably priced, La Sureña. I ordered a delicious plate of meats and cheeses and a glass of Tinto de Verano, sparkling red “summer wine.” And it was SO delicious! After a long day of travel, we were both exhausted and ready to call it a night. Even though, as we headed back to the hotel around 10pm, the party was just getting started!