Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chicano in Madrid| A journey back to the motherland

Went to Madrid in Spain as mentioned in my previous post .

My first trip over seas!!

I am the first in my family to travel overseas!

After taking a Delta flight from Phx to Atlanta on a boeing 747_300er. (4 hours approx) and the a boeing 767 400er to Madrid( about an 8 hour flight)

We arrived at the Barajas airport,

I did alot of research before the trip and when we arrived I was still not sure if the Metro would be the way we would get to our rented apartment or if we would end up taking a taxi.

Thankfully that decision was made for us by the cab drivers due to a protest that they were having from 10am-12pm ... We were forced to take the Metro (which was the way I was hopeing to get around in while in Madrid)

After we picked up our bags at baggage claim , we walked by a both with a lady that was selling international sim cards, but us figuring this would not work for us and that it could not be that easy skipped her and instead paid 20 euros for a calling card on a machine that did not have any calling cards , we called the # and they gave me some code # that never worked and so I recommend that you don't buy a calling card because on the 3rd day we discovered that you could just use the payphones with euro coins and it was relatively cheap compared to what we thought it would cost.

Walked to the metro in terminals 1/2/3 and bought our 10 trip tickets and added the required airport supplements needed when traveling to or from any of the aiport terminals in Barajas in the automated machine.

There we were with our backpacks and carryon and 1 check in, ready for our Madrid adventure.

We did a lot of research and knew that our only point of vulnerability would be on the way to our rented apartment in the Metro (because we would have our passports, money and cameras)

So , we made sure to have our stuff put away securely before getting on and as they say" you are only as strong as your weakest player" we knew that there would be issues with my sis in law since she kept acting like she knew what she was doing and ignoring our suggestions because of that we had to take extra precautions to make sure we did not look like marks.

We took the pink line to the light blue line to the dark blue line , making changes for each different line and going thru the labyrinth of up and down stairwells and using the few but always appreciated escalators and a rare elevator.

We each had a bag or backpack and each a rolling suitcase.I would help whoever was tired with the ups and downs in the staircases and the sis in law gave her bag to her mom and I knew that this would cause some kind of issue.We get off the metro, walk up the hill to our rental and check in with the neighbor which has our keys and takes the rental fee for a 3 br 1 bath apartment on the 12floor (thankfully with an elevator)

It was a really cool rental , kitchen had a fridge , microwave and washer for our clothes and then living room with lcd tv and dining room table, all the windows opened up and we backed up to the beautifull retiro park.

We all go use the bathroom, settle in and find out that the sis in laws passport has gone missing.Surprise , Surprise.

The first night in Madrid:

That night after our siesta we made our way( 3 of us cause the sis in law was tired or more like ashamed for the passport being lost) to Atocha Renfe station (which was just a short walk down from our apartment) to see where we could buy our tickets to Toledo , one of our must sees and went into the metro station which was huge it had alleyways full of shops that sold everything you could ever need.

Got our info, found a really cool pond with 100's of happy swimming and thriving turtles and there we had our first Madrid meal.

How many turtles can you find in these pictures?

I read about all this awesome food and was so prepared to get my grub on...I thought some tapas the first night followed by some churros and chocolate and guess what my first meal was :

Burger King ;) whopper with cheese and Coca cola( which is how you ask for a coke in Madrid if not they politely correct you when you say coke) Diet coke is Coca Cola lite in case that's how you roll and of course you can buy a beer at burger king to go with your burger if that's how you roll.

It was about 9pm when we slowly walked back to our apartment, we could see that the night was just starting to get exciting but after our fun filled flight and Metro excursion to our apartment , our siesta and short tip to Atocha Renfe,we knew we should hit the hay , wake up with the Madrilenos and Make the most our days and time left.The plan was spend the next day at Retiro park,soak in the atmosphere and instead the next day was going to have to be to the US embassy to replace the stolen but most likely dropped passport. Boo ;(

Replacing the passport:

Having done my research I knew the address to the US embassy and found it on the metro map , walked down to the light blue metro and made our way to the embassy , after 5 hours including travel time she got her temp passport and this time made sure to give it to us for safe keeping : )

We got back to our apartment , tired and took a nice siesta in the afternoon before heading out to El Prado for the 6-8pm free entry time.

Dude, all we did...was walk down the hill to El Prado.

If you ever get a chance, got to El rocks

We took lots of cheezy pictures by the fountains and cool statues that we found on the way to the entrance and then made our way in to see my favorite painting of all time "the garden of earthly delights" which was just as awesome as I remember seeing it in the books at the City Terrace library but in person it has this whole other level and its a 3 panel and the back and front have something painted on it....made my soul happy.

Spent lots of time walking and looking at the great works of art at the Prado and also looked at all the different tourists from other countries enjoying the art as well as the Madrilenos that I imagined had been there many times but just loved the art , Which I could totally understand where they would want to spend as much time as possible there.

Then we had our Second Madrid meal : Burger King , cause it was right by the bus stop on the way back to our apartment.

Safety Measures:

While in Madrid we only carried small amounts of euro in our fake wallet and used it to buy drinks or Metro tickets and hid larger but not much euro in our secret wallet....mine was a small leather pocket with an eyelet that I used with a camera strap to tie on to and inside my pants, the lil pumkin used the inside of her luggage strap that she would tie to her beltloop and tuck inside her pants also for security (she also carried a fake wallet in her front pocket).

Evilchavo Out.

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