So the first day (Saturday 16th) was basically just a travel day. Hours sacrificed to the gods of flight and their acolytes, the time zones. I was expecting a vigorous security check, as usual. However, we made it through TSA checks in about 20 minutes, without removing belts, shoes, and luggage contents. Mainly due to a very efficient security dog. Man's best friend, and travelers best friend that day. The airport was uneventful however in the short hop from Austin to Dallas there was some little toddler on board who managed to babble loudly throughout the entire 40 minutes from gate to gate. Thankfully my headphones and audible account saved my sanity. It was short lived however as we boarded the Dallas to Madrid leg of the flight I noticed a baby in the seats next to Amelia. I immediately swelled up with a sense of remorse for her and the surrounding travelers. I also shamefully felt relief at the fact that I was four rows away. As Red and I got situated however I got my comeuppance. The third in our row was a single mom traveling with a very very agitated less than 2-year-old. It was time to pull out the big guns with the noise canceling headphones. Thank you Beats Headphones. This was the lease of my concerns as I'm used to flying trans-Atlantic on British Airways. This was an American Airlines flight and the seats were closer and with less padding. While I did eventually manage a little bit of sleep I had nothing like I was used to. Lessons learned.
We touched down in Madrid and it was 9:20 AM on Sunday the 17th. Stiff, sore, and a little delirious I disembarked through the beautiful and very large terminal. After walking for what seemed like miles at a snail's pace we made it to the Border check-in. Since we had let all our other travelers run ahead I expected a long line but no... there was hardly anyone there. I pulled my usual trick of immediately finding the border agent who was visually the most apathetic. With barely a glance at me and my passport, I had a stamp and was officially and unceremoniously passed through to Madrid. We wound through the terminal maze three stories underground to the tram and then back up to the baggage claim, then outside to freedom from the bureaucracy of air travel. After a brief stent to poison ourselves with nicotine and some unflattering stretches we found our way to the taxi station and into the heart of Madrid's City Center. Also a personal thank you to Madrid for making taxi travel from the airport to City Center a flat rate.
After being dropped off in the Plaza De Santo Domingo we made our way to Tim Hortons for coffee and a snack. I realize the humor in this being Red's first trip to a real Tim Hortons. Not in Canada but on a whole different continent and while our roommate was in Canada. Also before you get up in arms about chain food vs local tapas, this was during siesta so TH was one of the only places open at the time. We are here for two weeks, the tapas will flow. We met up with our Airbnb host and after hauling several bags up five flights of stairs we entered a very small but unique and enchanting apartment. Home for the next five days. Of course weary we decided to indulge in the time honoured tradition of the siesta along with the rest of our neighbors. When in Espana... The nap ended up being longer than I would have liked but time is a small price to pay for rejuvenation. Red and I decided to take a stroll and ended up walking by the Palace and taking a hand and hand stroll around the Plaza de Ote. I only took a few pictures as I plan to come back here later this week for a full tour. With an appetite worked up we went to Domingo's for dinner and we both had a goat cheese salad and I had the huevos rotos con jamon, while Red indulged in the steak. Amelia meet back up with us afterward and we picked up groceries and then went back out to an outdoor corner tapas bar for dessert and a bottle of vino. We watched the streets close down as we talked and finished off the last of the vino and headed back to the Airbnb to relax and watch some movies on my laptop. 3 AM rolls around and Red finally falls back asleep unfortunately my old nemesis jetlag kept me up until past 6 AM. That's the battle of traveling though.