On Saturday morning we drove five hours to Madrid, checked my folks into a reserved hotel (4 star!), and went out for lunch. We then met up with a friend of ours from England, Consuelo, and her friend, Paco.
The first order of business upon arrival was lunch!
My father and I shared a huge paella.
Then we walked around town.
Some pigeons, some flowers, and a fountain.
My mother had to stop to put a band-aid on her foot.
An ad for the movie Alatriste, that was debuting this weekend in Madrid.
It was pretty hot!
Marga calls Consuelo to tell her we are in the Plaza Mayor.
Eventually Consuelo and Paco find us and we walk around some more.
Don Quixote and his sidekick, Sancho Panza.
A nice hedge maze in a garden of the Royal Palace.
Marga told us a great anecdote about how the royal family doesn't live here anymore because the palace was too big and the distance from the kitchen to the dining room was too long, so the food was always cold by the time it was served. They actually reside in the Zarzuela Palace.
Consuelo's beautiful boxer, Calá, wanted to get a drink from the fountain without getting wet.
That's enough, get out of there!
The temperatures were in the upper 90's F. One bar found a clever way of allowing their clientele to continue to use the tables on the street. The fans blow a fine mist over the paying customers as they eat. It reminds me of this video of ceiling fans that I took in Stockholm.
After our brief tour of the city, we left my folks in their hotel room and went to Consuelo's house. She has a one bedroom flat in the very center of Madrid. Her living room also doubles as a dining room and kitchen.
The kitchen is cleverly hidden behind some folding doors.
When you aren't cooking, you close them and the kitchen disappears!
Then we took the subway back to the Plaza Mayor.
Paco suggested that we get a picture of Paul riding the subway with an authentic Spaniard.
Paul, Betsy, Paco, Consuelo, and Marga, seated at the Mesón de la Tortilla, an underground restaurant that specializes in Spanish tortillas. They were some of the best we've ever had. We also had lots of sangria!
A charismatic accordian player stopped by to serenade us.
Paco is a pretty funny guy. Consuelo has a wonderful laugh.
Waiting for another order of tortillas.
The walls in our little section of the cave were painted with Flintstones scenes.
The sangria was served in these clay pitchers.
Paco offers Paul some jamón and cheese.
Stuffed and a little tipsy.
Dios mio! No more sangria!
After dinner we went to a bar that specializes in Flamenco dancing where a friend of Consuelo's, Juan Carlos, dances. He used to be a professional Flamenco dancer, but now just does it for fun. The actual type of dancing that took place was a subset of Flamenco from Seville called Sevillanas.
Marga, although claiming to know very little about Sevillanas, danced very well with him on several songs. You may recall that she got some lessons from our friend, Maria, two years ago.
She was enjoying herself.
She gleefully thanks him for the dance.
Paco, Betsy, Marga, and Paul watch Juan Carlos dance with some other women.
That's him in the green. He was very graceful.
He danced several with that blond.
It's a very sexy dance, with almost no contact between the partners.
We could look down to the bottom floor where more people were dancing Sevillanas.
The following morning, Sunday, we took my parents to the airport and sent them on their way. I'm sure they will cherish their memories of bullfighting, sandy beaches, red wine, exotic food, numerous bars, sangria, tortillas, siestas, and flamenco.