Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spain, Week 2, Rest, Roaming, Real

Feast for the eyes on the top floor of El Corte Inglés
During the hubbub of our last weeks in Washington, Rich and I decided to treat our first two weeks in Madrid as vacation before settling into a new life. We dedicated most of 2014 to preparing for this year in Spain and the realization of a dream to live abroad for two years -- or at least one. I had decided to sell the house that Rich and I have shared for the past 11 years and sell, give away or toss most of the furniture, memorabilia, books, housewares, clothes and miscellaneous accumulation. Sounds simple, but carrying out this cleansing was wearing in mind and body.

The difficulty was compounded because I was away from home from mid-August 2013 to January. My journey to realize another dream began in August with purchase of a Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser in Pennsylvania and a month of mostly solo RV rambling west across the U.S. This travel journal originated with that trip, and someday I'll post the highpoints. In October, I joined Rich in New Mexico where we spent the next three months caring for his dying father. I've squeezed in a couple of additional RV trips this year, but that's another story.

River at Parque Juan Carlos I
This second week, we are still learning to relax, but continue to explore, including a long walk through Parque Juan Carlos I in northeast Madrid, magpies and parrots, sculpture, olive groves, grass pyramids, man-made lakes, rivers and fountains. We also spend an afternoon shopping for inexpensive cell phones, kitchen gadgets and workout equipment and then gourmet grazing at El Corte Inglés, Madrid's massive department store. 

Olive groves at Parque Juan Carlos I
Ruins at El Castillo de Alameda
 on the outskirts of Parque Juan Carlos I

It's also a week of Madrid soccer. On one long neighborhood walk, we round a corner to find the Real Madrid futbol stadium looming ahead. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu dwarfs most U.S. football stadiums, but surprisingly is surrounded by Burger King, TGI Friday and other tastes from home. That night, we are invited to join fans of Atletico, the other Madrid soccer team, watching a game in the back room at Casa Vincenta, a neighborhood restaurant favorite. Saturday night, we join the crowd packing C. Vincenta for the Real Madrid versus Barcelona game, a major rivalry. For once, Rich was not the loudest one in the crowd yelling, "Vamos!" 


  1. Sounds wonderful! And I shopped in El Corte Ingles in Leon! Never got to Madrid. Keep these coming!

  2. Enjoy reading your travelogue. Keep me in the loop!.