Tag Archives: Madrid

Madrid to Essaouira

Although I was still on US time internally and woke up super early, I nearly missed my flight!  I did not realize there was passport inspection after going through security.  And there were tons of people! As I ran to my gate, I could see the door was closed.  Oh crap, I thought.  Breathless, I asked if there was anyway I could get on?  Then I stopped and saw several others in the same situation as me.  “They’re taking us to the plane” someone said. Oh phew!  I would’ve been flustered had I truly missed it!
Then, on the plane, super roomy!  Thank you Iberia!  Can you sell a plane or two to United? Their planes have zero leg room!
Arriving in Marrakech, it is one hour ahead of Madrid, so I get to live 12:25 to 1:25 all over again.  Kind of makes up for the running for the plane out-of-breath part.

Arriving at the airport

I was met by our driver and my guide, Abdul. We took off in comfort in the German camel (a Mercedes SUV).
We stopped at a roadside diner for lunch, where I got an omelet with mushrooms, a flat bread and two dipping sauces (not sure what flavors?) and had my first (but not last) taste of their delicious mint tea. Ahh.

Omelet with mushrooms and delicious mint tea

Three hours later, we arrived in Essaouira.  My riad was in the walled medina, so we left the car, took my luggage and walked through the cobblestone streets the last part.

The riad Al Medina was very charming.

Riad Al Medina

Riad Al Medina

My room was nice, with separate living area, bedroom and upstairs bath.  The bathroom lighting was a bit dim, but otherwise it was a nice place to stay.
Next up – our first day in Essaouira with the group and Karen!

Madrid – Day 2

For my second day in Madrid, Art Safari reserved a guide for me.  Julia, a native of Spain, met me at 10am in the hotel lobby.

We started off at a brisk pace, as she knew we had a lot to cover.  I had visited the Plaza Major and another main square the day before, so she took me to different areas. Sadly, my usual lack of direction sense means that I am not sure of many of the names of places we walked to.  Lesson learned – I am a visual person.  If I want to know where we are, I need it pointed out to me on a map!  Also, our busy pace meant that I didn’t stop to sketch, so the sketches posted here were all done from my photos.
I saw important buildings and architecture , Julia was a professional through and through and you can tell she loves her city.  When we were in a small park, she spotted a couple of guys that were asking other tourists for “donations” to some orphanage scam. She was furious. She didn’t want them to get away with it, first she scolded them, then we marched off to find a police officer.  As it happened, there were tons of uniformed men around the corner – some military ceremony was taking place later that day. With much gesturing, she told them what she saw and they sent someone to follow up.
Meanwhile, I ‘needed’ to get my souvenir photo with men in uniform…
Soldiers in Madrid
Next up, Palacio Real –  the royal palace of Madrid. It’s the official residence of the Royal family, but is now only used for ceremonies. It has over 2,000 rooms!  No, that’s not an extra zero!  Pretty sure we saw less than 100 of those, but it was enough.  Very rich, ornate, everything you would expect in a palace.

Statue at the royal palace

A statue at the Royal Palace

We stopped for a coffee after, I needed some breathing time.
For me, it was more fun to see the police using scooters! I know, I know, what can I say.
Next – passing Plaza de la Villa and Calle del Coro to see lovely doorways, unique street signs,
Plaza de la villa

Pasadizo de Panecillo

Pasadizo de Panecillo – Panecillo= small piece of bread

interesting stores, stop in an old church, then past a very unique restaurant, Sobrino de Botin, with marvelous miniature displays and listed in the Guinness book as the oldest restaurant in the world!
And then, lunch – at the Posada de la Ville, where I tasted several traditional Spanish dishes and received a small pot with a key as a gift!
Posada de la villa More walking (!), then for a grand finish, the Prado.  Julia is an art historian, and was able to share many details about the paintings and the artists, etc., which sadly, I am unable to share specifics because I have a terrible memory. I know, right? Lesson learned, don’t try to fit so much into one trip. Or even one day.  Or use your recorder on your phone!

Statue of Goya at the Prado museum

Statue of Goya at the Prado museum

But having said all that, it was totally worth having a private guide, and Julia was great! Maybe if I had done my homework beforehand (tsk, tsk) I might have given some input and used my maps. (So I knew where I was)  Madrid is a wonderful city with lots of side streets to lose yourself in (literally, haha). I would definitely go back to Spain, but would save a return visit to Madrid after I’ve visited some other cities.
I’m so glad I stopped here!
Next – I fly to Marrakech…stay tuned!

Welcome to Madrid!

After a non-eventful flight, I had a lovely welcome at my hotel in Madrid (@Hoteldelaslaetras; Gift was from @artsafari.co.uk) with a gift bag including a bottle of wine, jam, crackers, a Basque textile fabric square, and a Sangria spoon. (Never used a spoon for Sangria, I prefer a glass?)Gift bag at Hotel de las Letras

Then, while checking the mini-bar, I found these:Happy pills

Yeah, I’m a going to be needing a case of these? (As holiday gifts, of course. Me? I’m HAPPY!)