April 2

My alarm set for 11:00 never went off, luckily my body woke itself up at 12:30. I had already packed most of my clothes so I didn’t have too much to do before my 2:20 train departure. The great thing about traveling on trains is you only need to arrive about fifteen minutes early to go through security and load on. I showered, threw all of my clothes in a bag and picked up my room a little bit before I left for the train station.

I got to the train station just as planned, fifteen minutes early. I found my seat and started a new book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I haven’t read it yet and have only heard excellent things about it. I love going through the Spanish countryside. I read about fifty pages and decided to listen to some music and just watch out the window. The olive tree farms are just beautiful and I feel like mountains can be seen from any region in Spain. I ended up dozing off for about forty five minutes and when I woke up, I only had an hour left on the train ride.

After the train got off, I found the right metro train to Puerta de Sol (the stop nearest our hotel) and hopped on. I have really enjoyed traveling by myself and figuring out maps, routes, etc. It has been challenging, but I haven’t had too many major problems. I took about four metro stops and got off at Sol. I found the Hotel Regente without too much trouble. I definitely had a slight advantage because as soon as I walked out on Gran Via (the main city street), I noticed the hotel we had stayed in, my first two nights in Madrid. It was a pretty funny coincidence but I was happy because I knew we were in a prime location to see the whole city.

It was a little surreal to knock on the door and have my Mom answer. I was just so excited to have my Mom and Dad over here. I hadn’t seen them with the exception of skype in two months. They had just showered after working out and we decided to go explore a little bit. We walked down toward Puerta de Sol and explored the Plaza for a little bit. There were so many people; we decided it was a mix of Good Friday and just a normal busy Madrid Friday afternoon. We decided to grab a drink and some tapas and sat at some outdoor tables at a restaurant tucked back on one of the small streets near Puerta de Sol.

We ordered some Gazpacho, Patatas Bravas and some artichoke hearts. It was very relaxing to eat and catch up on the happenings back in Atlanta. I always enjoy my one on one time with my parents. We enjoyed ourselves for a couple hours before we decided to start making it back to the hotel. We happened on a religious procession complete with a relic of Jesus with the crown of thorns and people doing penance wearing purple robes that look exactly like the Klu Klux Klan wear. After the procession had passed chaos broke loose. Everyone was pushing and shoving while trying to leave in a different direction. We ended up making out of the crowd and were on our way back to the hotel.

We looked up a few restaurants in our guidebooks and decided on a couple that looked good and weren’t too far away. Mom and I went down to the lobby and got a map. We all started off toward the restaurants. We got off course somewhere and ended up walking around for thirty minutes. We all didn’t mind though because we were exploring the city. We ended up catching a cab to the restaurant. The cab driver was a little puzzled by the Plaza we told him so he had to look at a map for a while. After looking at the map for some time, he drove us about two hundred yards forward and said we were there. He was nice enough not to charge us and I got out laughing a little to myself.

We asked a man and he said the restaurant we were looking for was closed for a party so we decided just to walk and find something that looked good. We read a few menus and decided to go in a restaurant called Boda Bar. It was very nice. The ceilings were brick and it had a very “wine cellar” feel to it. My Spanish food vocabulary is a little lacking so I couldn’t translate the menu very well. We ended up asking the waiter what he recommended and got a mystery rice for my parents and I got a fruit of the sea linguini. The food was excellent. We all ended up sharing. The mystery rice actually had lobster in it and was out of this world.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the restaurant and the time spent there. We all remarked how European we felt because our meal didn’t get finished until after 12:00. We were all turned around so we decided it was best to take a taxi home. After we got back to the hotel, I didn’t spend too much time getting ready for bed and I fell asleep pretty quickly. I am so excited to show my parents more of this great country.

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