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LucyEthel Takes a Trip “Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” Miriam Beard

And now, the end of the story (I hope)

USA | Wednesday, 7 October 2009 | Views [356]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


On Monday the museums are closed so I had a perfect excuse to go shopping.  I made my way to an area I hadn’t visited, Principe Pio.  I don’t know why, but there is only one way to get there.  I had to walk to Metro Opera then take a special route.    I knew that is was behind the Palace Real but on the map it seems like a huge distance.  It wasn’t so I found that I could have easily walked there.  That would have been a good idea because the walk TO the mall was all down hill, but I chose to walk BACK, which about killed me.  Fortunately, an incredibly beautiful garden  sits in front of the Palace so I was able to rest there.

At the mall, the shops were unfamiliar although their American counterpart was pretty identifiable.  For example, Woman’s Secret doesn’t take much of a stretch.  There were high end shops like Massimo Dutti, who may be unfamiliar to us but is the major men’s retailer in Spain, along with Armani, of course.  There are more shoe stores than I could imagine and they carry high end and cheap shoes.  At the same store, I can find Camper, Arte, and Hispanita’s along with Payless quality shoes.  My biggest disappointment was no Swatch store, although a couple of places carried a few of them.    No new Swatch darn it, but I didn’t resist the shoes.

I ate lunch at a nice little place in the mall.  Note:  “burritos” are really tacos here.  They were very good but this is just a heads up.  The manager spoke English and talked with me quite a bit about living in Miami and New York, Buenos Aires, and Madrid.  He liked Miami a lot and he feels that Spain needs to open up more to the rest of the world.  He said that the people aren’t very friendly and they have resisted learning English too long.  He believed that was one of the reasons that Madrid didn’t get the Olympics.    When I said that I was surprised at the lack of English but didn’t think it was a terrible thing, he disagreed.  He definitely believes there needs to be a push to speak it.  I think it is now being taught in all the schools but the surprising piece to me is the lack of English spoken in shops. 

On the way back from the mall, I took more pictures of the Palace, fountains, and lovely gardens.  The crowds were still around but much smaller than on Sunday.  The weather, again (yawn) was perfect.

I bought some art at a craftshop.  While I am not a fan of the modern art, it seems to be the most available and the colors are very vivid, so I managed to find a piece I liked and could afford.  I asked the lady if she spoke English (no) so I asked in mime, if she shipped.  She said No Problem, then wrapped up my purchases very nicely and handed them to me.  Fortunately, I am able to get them in my suitcase by leaving most of my clothes here.  Just kidding.  I bought another small bag.

For something different, I bought some nectarines, lemon soda, and a ham/cheese sandwich and ate in my room.  It was a good change of pace.

Tuesday:  My final day is now completed.  I got up early today and had breakfast of Spanish Omelet.  Note:  A Spanish omelet is made with eggs potatoes, none of the peppers we sometimes associate with it.  I’ve developed a taste for it.  They will put it on a sandwich but it’s too weird for me to eat a potato sandwich.

I made my way to the ‘ritzy’ street and looked in the windows of Prada, Ferragamo, Bulgari.  Didn’t see anything I wanted to buy—ha—so I landed at the Camper store and bought my shoes.  I was going to go right back to my hotel because I was meeting Annemarie (an Indiana friend’s daughter) for lunch close to my area.  However, I got distracted by Chueca, which is touted as the ‘gay’ area and with interesting shops.  It didn’t appear anymore gay than any of the other areas but I’ll take their word for it.    I’d read about a building in this area that was “Gaudi-like”, it was described as looking like a wedding cake.  I took off for the sole purpose of taking a picture.  Of course, I went the wrong direction—twice—and spent a lot of time just to take a picture.  However, it did look very wedding cake like; the kind with the ‘good’ butter cream icing, not the other kind.  

By this time, I was afraid I would be late to meet for lunch so I grabbed the metro back and got to Starbucks (meeting place only) just as Annemarie arrived.  Thankfully, she looks like her mother so I didn’t have any trouble picking her out.  We walked up the street and found a restaurant for sandwiches and soft drinks and all in all had a nice visit. 

I came back to my hotel and realized something.  I was totally exhausted.  I mean, the kind that you say, I can’t wait to get into my own bed.  I am ready to leave.  It’s not that I don’t love it here because it is great but…  Living in a hotel and feeling like I needed to be out all the time to see everything just wore me out.

I checked in with my flight, I ordered a car to the airport, and set out for one last meal.  After weighing all my options, I went to a Chinese restaurant for a delicious meal of spring rolls (note;  they look like a burrito but taste great) and pineapple chicken.   I’m packed and ready for my trip home.


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