On Saturday morning Colin and I woke up early, he was off on a school trip to Segovia, and I was off to Madrid. Our host mom packed us lunches (bocadillo with cheese and I’m pretty sure an entire empanada inside), and then sent us off. I gifted her a bamboo plant in a tacky vase as a gesture of thanks. She said it was pretty… Truth being, all the flower stores closed before I could buy her a bouquet. She said she wanted me to write her, awesomely generous woman.
Colin and I said goodbye, a sad moment that concluded our fun. The fun should never have to end. Especially when you have a great friend who is stupidly nice to you and overly generous: he wouldn’t let me pay for anything!!! So I told him I’m getting him back in August when I get paid. He refuses. Knucklehead, love him!
I took the train into Madrid and found my hostel easily. Checked in and went to the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum. Being across the street from the Prado I feel like it was the storage closet for of the famous artist’s looser paintings. They had tons of crappy Monet’s, Homer’s, Picasso’s, and even a lame Sargent. What made the eight euros worth it (still kicking myself for leaving my student ID at home) was a Rauschenberg print collage in the modem section. It had some images of Merce Cunningham dancers and horses. Gorgeous.
I then went and explored the mainstreets a bit and then had a bocadillo de jamon y queso with sangria. Once six o’clock came around, I headed to the Prado.
There was a huge line for the free entrance deal. But shortly thereafter, I was in and heading towards the classics. I first saw Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. Definitely got choked up. It’s so pretty! The colors are way different in real life, the books don’t even come close. It was amazing to see something that I’ve been obsessed over since high school. Loved that painting.
I made my way through and saw everything, El Greco, Goya, Velasquez, and Fortuny with whom I am newly in love with.
After the museum was cleared out, I went back to my hostel. Here begins a long and frustrating story:
Earlier I could only check in and then leave my backpack, the beds/rooms were not to be ready until later. So when I came back, I got my pack, and headed up the stairs to my room, #4-77, as was written on the card they gave me when I checked in.
I went up to the third floor only to get lost in a maze of hallways and to not be able to find the stairs up to the fourth floor. So I went back down to the front desk and asked how to get to my room. They said I must take the elevator. Ok, wierd. So I do this.
When I open the elevator door on the fourth floor, I am confronted with three doors. Completely blank except for colored dots on each, one red, one blue, one green. Confused, I tried to imagine which door would contain room #4-77. I looked at my key. It had a blue toggle. Aha! Blue dot! So I keyed in and found myself in another hallway with rooms. I walked down the hallway. I see room 4-7… but the hallway ends at 4-9. It must be 4-7, I thought. So I pull out my key and realize that I need an electric key card to open this door. Ok… thinking that they just forgot to give me an electric card in addition, I went back to the front desk, waited in line for ten minutes and told them I needed an electric key for room 4-77.
I am given the card, I take the elevator, key into the blue-dotted hallway, unlock room 4-7, open the door, walk boldly in, and say hello to a middle aged woman. She looks confused, worried even. “Aqui?” She asks me. I tell her in Spanish that it was what I was told. She then tells me that I am in an all women’s room. Well I am not a woman, I tell her. She says I didn’t seem like it. I say sorry. She says goodbye.
Back down to the front desk I go. After I tell them that it was the wrong key, they ask me what room and look at the card I was given. “No, 4-11!” Ooooooh! Ok then. They said I don’t need an electric key, I give mine back. I awkwardly walk away and back to the elevator. Turns out those stupid little seven’s were actually one’s! Its just that somebody likes to write down seven’s when they really mean one’s (were talking no discrepancy here, and if I was any less confused about this whole hostel I might have considered the 4-77 to be 4-11, but in my current condition -current meaning permanent- my Adam thinking would never allow for such logic).
I walk out of the elevator on the fourth floor. I still don’t know where my room is. I know that it is NOT behind the blue door, so I try the red-dotted door; More hall way, numbers 4-0 through 4-5. Where the %$#* is my room! Red in the face, I willed myself to open the red dotted door. I open it. Its just a big room full of bunks. I find my bed. HhhUURRrrrGggaAAH! Fed up. It only took an hour! (Just under, actually, I seriously spent that much time just finding my room. Not okay.)
I tried winding down while I changed and got ready for dinner. I had plans to meet up with friends I had met in Seville. My friend Liz from the Seville hostel met them on a walking tour and so we hung out a lot. They are from Canada, their names were Greg, Jeff, and Sarah. There was one night where we all discovered that we had similar travel itineraries: Liz was going to Barcelona after Seville, so were they. Shortly after they had made plans to met up, I learned that they would be going to Madrid after Barcelona, so I made plans with them to met up! (Liz would go on to Munich.)
So they told me where to meet them and I got ready and headed over. We went to a tapas bar where I had pizza with anchovies and olives. It was really tasty, super salty, but good with wine. Afterwards we hung out and had a drink in the nearby plaza. It got late, and so we said goodbye, none of us really believing how crazy it was that we were able to meet up again. They were a great group and really fun people.
Then I walked home, got lost, got scared, took a cab, and then went to bed.
The next day I saw the Palacio Real and the Plaza Mayor, and just wandered until it was time to fly out of Spain. An eventful twenty-four hours in Madrid, very memorable. Don’t ever stay at the “Muses Hostel” in Madrid, unless you like mazes and you are really good at guessing.