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Sept. 28: Madrid


We got up at the crack of 8:30 (finally, a day to sleep in!) when the alarm of construction went off. It looks like they are doing lots of construction next to our hotel, so this will probably become a pattern.

Again, no internet. Kurt and Phil showered,and I dressed and took down some of Kurt's clothing to be laundered. It turns out I packed enough to last me the trip. I just had to hand wash a few undies, and I'm set for the remainder of our vacation.

We walked on over to a chain cafe, where there was wireless a plenty. The free connections just don't work as well, however. But the for-pay connections are too expensive to buy given the amount of use they'll see. So we'll just have to be content with what little we can get access to.

Yesterday I had bid on an eBay auction, and I had internet connectivity enough to find out that I had won. So some time today I'll have to find a hotspot so I can pay for my purchases.

After a quick coffee and croissant, we retrieved the car from the garage. 28 Euros for overnight parking. Ouch! The car does give you some freedom, but honestly, I'm not sure it's worth it, what with the expense and the traffic. I'd rather just take the train and be limited in where we can go.

The roads around Madrid are jammed with traffic. It was slow going getting out of the city, in part because of the traffic, and in part because of the construction. But within half an hour we were out onto the open roads.

The landscape here reminds me a lot of California. Rolling golden hills dotted with green trees. Must be why the Spanish settled in California so long ago.

We reached Avila before noon and began our quick tour of the town.

Left for Segovia around 2ish. Had difficulty parking in the old town, but finally found a place.

They were filming a movie there, so parking was tough. The movie is "Goya's Ghosts". Lots more extras and period sets than the movie we saw being filmed in Girona. We did find a place to park, finally, just on the other side of a no parking post that was put up because of the movie. Or so we thought.

Went to see the aquaduct, strolled the town, tried to get something to eat but failed. Bought some water and saffron, and recharged my phone at the Vodaphone store. Strolled back past the cathedral and down to the castle, which looks like the castle in Walt Disney.

Came back, but our car was no longer there! Found the police, and it turned out it had just been moved a little bit away from where we were (within about 10 yards, in fact). Found our way out of town, which was very dicey due to the narrow streets of old town (shades of Girona). Then finally, found our way out of town and back to Madrid.

Took the car back. Took the metro back to the hotel, and then went over to Plaza Mayor (a square reminiscent of Piazza San Marco). We picked a place to eat and had the worst meal so far... then went for gelato and back home.

I'm so tired. Tomorrow we were originally going to go to Toledo, but I think we'll stay here and go see the Prado instead.