Tuesday, June 4, 2013

10th Anniversary Trip Part 1 - Madrid

This is the first of several posts about our 10th anniversary trip to Spain & Portugal.  We flew out on May 24th and arrived on the 25th.  We forced ourselves to stay awake during the day and toured some of the sites in Madrid, including the Prado Museum.  I have to admit I was half asleep walking through the museum, but we made it through to a 7:00 PM bedtime and slept 12 solid hours to get right onto their time without a problem.

Here was our hotel in Madrid - Hotel Europa right in Puerto de Sol, which was pretty much the center of everything. We opted to not have a room overlooking the square because of the noise and we needed our sleep.  But it would have been nice to have a view of the action:
Coming out of the Prado Museum, we walked by this church.  They were rolling out the red carpet for something special:
We walked over to Parque del Retiro in Madrid, which was beautiful on this gorgeous day:
First of many cartwheel photos in the park - by the funky trees:
On day 2, we started with a segway tour, which was SO much fun!  Here we stopped to take a pic with the Royal Palace of Madrid in the background:
On our segways:
Brian doing fancy driving:
Even fancier driving by me, though I have to say, about 20 minutes before this photo, I took a hard fall off of the segway when I cut a corner too close to a bench.  Our tour guide informed me he only has 1 fall a month . . . oops!
Getting fancy and going down stairs:
Our instructor took pictures while we were riding - this one I didn't even know he was taking:

We stopped at a rose garden which was in full bloom (though the photo is too bright):

More steps towards the end of the tour:
After the tour we headed over for a tour of the Royal Palace . . . and a cartwheel in front of it of course:
And after our busy day, we headed over to a see a bullfight.  Two words - HUGE MISTAKE.  It was HORRIBLE!  Within five minutes, I was crying and sick to my stomach.  For those unaware, bullfights in Spain end when the bull dies in front of you in the arena.  He doesn't stand a chance and it just is really cruel.  After 5 minutes, I proceeded to close my eyes or look up at the sky for the remainder of our time there.  Even Brian was a bit disturbed by it all and admitted he wouldn't go back to see it again (though he appreciated having the experience at least once).  And we left early - after 4 of 6 fights.
While Brian took more pictures, I'm choosing not to show them here because they get bloody.  I will say that the bull had a small "victory" during this fight.  The main matador (on the left below) was tossed into the air, landed on the bull's back and then onto the ground.  He was gored in the leg and passed out before being carried out of the stadium.
For anyone interested, click on this link for a professional picture of the matador getting tossed in the air:  Matador getting tossed

After the bullfight, we went back to the hotel to get up for an early train to Seville.  Only I couldn't sleep this night because (1) I was haunted by the bullfight and (2) in the middle of the night we got a text that Eric was having an allergic reaction to amoxicillin.  Just like his brother, he was covered in hives that were not responding to Benadryl.  And thankfully my mom was well aware of Evan's reaction and hospitalization for his reaction, so, after a Facetime conversation, she took him off to an urgent care to get steroids for treatment.  Poor Eric and my poor mother - I felt bad for everyone!  But after a few hours on the medicine, he started improving.  And compared to Evan's reaction, this wasn't nearly as bad.

All in all, we agreed that Madrid was our least favorite stop on our trip.  It just felt too much like a big city and did not have the charm of Seville and Lisbon, which we visited later.  That being said, we both agreed that our favorite activity of the entire trip was the Segway tour.  We were only in Madrid for a day and a half, which was the perfect amount of time before heading off to Seville.  Details to come in my next post.

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