Monday, March 21, 2011

Madrid with Friends

Well, some of you may know that in Madrid a few of my colleagues have joined us. Before I begin to poke fun at them, let me just establish what an incredible joy it is to have them all here with us. I say this with all the warmth red wine can produce. No seriously, having these people here with us is as exciting and fun and enjoyable as it sounds. Tonight, we sit on our second evening together, having consumed a few bottles of excellent red wine, debating the larger political issues of the world. Can you hear the laughter, pontificating, and loud voices? That’s us. My children have long since escaped to their hidey hole. I am sure they are listening avidly.

We began our day slowly, each of us arising in our own way. Kenna was up and out of the apartment by 6am. Ray lounged in the living room where he had to be awake… just in case. Heather rolled out of bed next, having spent the past few hours awakening every so often as she battled jet lag. I heard Kenna come back about 8 and got up and then my children and husband dragged themselves awake.

We went on a self guided tour a la Rick Steves. My friends really had no choice but they feigned interest quite well. I had the book and led the group. Was there ever any doubt? I wonder how long that will last? Teachers on tour. How scary is that? We wandered through the streets of Madrid, admiring the interesting little spots Rick pointed out. My favourite was the convent where we had to buzz to be let in. Then the nun who stood behind the lazy Susan was supposed to sell us cookies but sadly, the English speaking group before us must have irritated her because she wouldn’t even acknowledge our existence. Never mind, it wasn’t about the cookies. It was about the experience.

Heather thought the convent was her favourite too which is strange since she has since admitted she now walks the streets of Vancouver. She goes dancing. She hasn’t really elaborated more than that so we’re taking turns filling in the gaps there. Kenna thought her favourite was making fun of me during the day, which she apparently has missed. Wait, it’s only 11:15 pm so the day ain’t over yet and honestly, I have difficulty believing she has not once laughed about me since I left. Okay, I just read her the blog and she insists her favourite was the scuff-marked symbol on the sidewalk which symbolized the centre of Spain. All roads lead here.

Ray thought the Puerto del Sol which means “gateway to the sun” was the high point. This was one of the plazas we stood in. We saw the statue of Charles II there. He was instrumental in establishing the postal service and more importantly, the public school system in Spain. Naturally, we had to have our picture taken with him. We also saw the symbols of Spain; a bear eating madrono berries. Bears used to roam the parks in Spain and the berry was used for a special alcohol here. We saw this symbol on a flag, on the sidewalk and so on throughout our walk so thank goodness we had the Rick Steves guidebook to explain its existence. Another interesting feature of the square was the attractive model having her shoes photographed. Some of us admired the shoes. Some of us admired the model. Some of admired the Ipad laptop she was carrying. You can guess who was who.

For Tom the favourite of the day wasn’t the poster we printed for our nephew but the area that it was in. It looked like at any turn you could enter a tapas bar or order a cerveza. You could do no wrong. You could sit on the patio and the rays of the sun could heat you. It was good. It was a nice part of town and it elevated his interpretation of Madrid. He thought it would be quite industrialized but it’s not. Kenna says we just haven’t seen that side.

Heather is now changing her mind saying that tonight has been the most fun; the sharing, laughing and discussions. The world is a better place for our discussions. Isn’t it interesting that that is where we started at the beginning of this blog?


Deanne said...

Yeah!!! The long awaited SS/BCSD blogs....keep documenting all the debauchery! Love the pics! said...

Did you leave my grandchildren locked in your living quarters?

You look VERY happy! And glad the weather is sunny!

Love Mom

Steve said...

Nice to see the weather cooperate for a brief period at least. With Spring finally upon us, the travels will only see warmer and better weather. I am sure it will be nice to shed the heavy winter layers. Really fantastic photos and blog notes. Always a great read.

Rhonda Staples said...

Hi Holly... I just returned from my Spring Break away and am catching up on your blog.... only to discover.... meeting up with teacher friends!??? I guess my invite got lost in the mail . Anyway, looks like you're all having a blast!! Meanwhile, I think I should contact Dave and Guy and plan a Rosser invasion.... so look out... we might be around the next corner!!