Thursday, November 14, 2013

2:00 a.m. in Madrid

Monday, November 11, 2013
Kenny and I are sitting across our hotel room from one another, laughing.  It's 2:oo in the morning, and we can't sleep.  Our children are back in Colorado having dinner.  We're scrounging the last of the M&M's and nuts; our salad and half sandwich from last night long gone.
The last couple of days have been quite different from the normal Sargent family routine, to say the least.  Saturday evening, we discovered our water pump had gone out.  Let me just interject here- living in the country is not the same as living in the city.  When your water pump goes out, whether you are flying to Spain the next morning or not, you direct everyone in your house to pack an overnight bag and then help a little one pack up.  You call three different families to see if a handful of your kiddos can stay with each of them for a few nights.  You ask your Mom (Grandma) to see if her friend in Castle Rock can house her. You call your neighbors to ask who to call to fix the pump. You call your friend up the street road to ask if he could oversee the guy fixing the water pump, pay him until you get home, and keep you posted on anything important.  You send out emails to everyone keeping your Mom and children, so they can have each other's contact information, so they will all know when the Sargent's have water again and can come home. And then after you find the missing kitten and load him in the car along with his belongings, and you go through many last-minute hugs and kisses and reassure a few teary-eyed, bundled up younger children who look like they are being shipped off during war-time, and repack your little girls laundry basket (no backpack?) because it only contained 2 dirty dresses, a pajama shirt, and 42 stuffed animals and dolls (who packed their stuff, anyway?), you gather for family prayer, see that your children end up where they are going, and move on with the night.  You go to bed in a quiet house.  You mentally re-make the list for flying out tomorrow again and again.  And you finally get a few hours of sleep, thanking God for Who He is and for the richness of the body of Christ.  
And so now, after an 8 hour flight over the Atlantic ocean, my husband and I are here in Madrid.  When we made the arrangements for our trip to Africa, Kenny mentioned that we would have to go by way of Europe (I know, what a bummer!), and so the plans for this leg of the trip began to brew.  We chose Spain so we would be WARM in November.
The airport in Madrid is interesting.  It's huge, and old, and huge.  It took us 10-15 minutes to walk to the baggage claim.  Then another 10-15 minutes to get to the Metro (subway). We decided to save a bit of money and take the Metro for 9 Euros instead of a taxi for 35. And so, we lugged our giant bags and guarded our wallets as we too-politely shuffled through the system of rushed dark-haired, well-dressed Spanish-speaking individuals all on their way to somewhere important.  We were definitely the newbies, as we soaked it all in.
The 'Aecensor' down to the subway system

Natty will appreciate this- the elevator goes down to negative floor numbers!

I have to say, I'm proud of us!  We navigated our way through the airport and subway system, and landed a mere 2 blocks away from our hotel.  When we came up from the subway into the light, we were surrounded by more busy people.  And tall buildings. And little cars and roundabouts.  And trash all over the sidewalks.  I mean lots of trash.  And yet, as we looked up, we could feel the wonderful warm Mediterranean air and the well-received rays of sun.  The excitement of being here outweighed our achy legs and grimy hands.
Our hotel is beautiful.  When I was looking for a place to stay, the look of many hotels and hostels was so sterile, and Spartan. I finally found the one we chose, and we like it.  It is pretty.  Lots of glass doors, plants, and soft lights.  
After showers and naps, we ventured out for a stroll.  Thankful for three years of Spanish in high school, I could make out a lot of the signs and storefronts.  We found a wonderful indoor market, with counter upon counter of fresh fish, poultry and beef, nuts, Mediterranean olives, and an abundance of produce.  Kenny bought a fruit we had never seen before that looked like a big orange tomato. Then we found a place to eat.  Our waitress was the first person to smile at us all day! We split a wonderfully fresh salmon salad and a gouda- spinach-bacon burger.  Kenny ordered chocolate drink (think of thin, warm chocolate pudding in a mug.  Mmmm).  We had fun trying to see if we were to leave a tip.  The waitress was laughing at Kenny's question about leaving her more money. She smiled and yelled, 'mas dinero! mas dinero!'

A View of the Indoor Market

More of the Market

The Restaurant we found seriously had about 6 or 7 different menus to read


After dinner we walked two doors down to our hotel and fell asleep reading.  And now we are wide awake, planning our next adventure.  Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we're off to Segovia tomorrow!

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