LAX --> Houston --> Newark --> Madrid
You all know Blake as the self-proclaimed frat star who runs around screaming “Live Ever, Die Never” and spray paints the word “Frost” on walls in Europe. That’s one side to him. The other, that a few others and I know, is that he’s actually just a large baby. Literally, he loves playing airplanes with the 3-year-old I babysit (who is coincidentally named Blake also). Also, he’s probably seen Frozen more than any little toddler has. So, that’s why when I tell you that when we woke up at 4AM to leave for Europe today, you won’t be surprised that he was a grouchy, pouty child. Once we arrived at LAX after an Uber ride featuring the post ghetto rap music possible, Blake proceeded to sleep in the fetal position on the chairs by our gate. I, on the other side of the spectrum, was too excited to be tired as I did leprechaun style jump kicks throughout our terminal.
Then, commenced flight one of three before we’d get to Madrid, the first city on our itinerary. Now, here’s another thing you should know about Blake and I: we have a knack for unwillingly attracting the weirdest of people to talk to us. Seriously, it’s like we carry around a big sign that reads “Please come invade my personal space and tell me your life story.” From Uber drivers who make wallets out of duct tape to Italians visiting SF who tell us about their sex lives as we eat 50 cent wings. We always find ourselves trapped in strange conversations. So, that is why again, you shouldn’t be surprised when I tell you that a man sitting in our aisle on the flight decided we should all be best friends. He showed us videos of his nephew drinking Mountain Dew as if it was the winning video on America’s Funniest Home Videos (it wasn’t) and insisted on giving me his email so I could send him pictures of Europe. What an eventful morning it has been.
The rest of our flights consisted of lots of hangman, wine and Brooklyn 99. After popping a few melatonin we fell asleep and woke up in Madrid. After wandering around aimlessly trying to find our bus for a while, we finally got to the right one and headed to our hotel. Yes, we’re being divas on this trip and staying only in hotels and Air BNBS. But, let’s be honest, there’s no place for couples in hostels. Also, Asia possibly ruined my views on hostels for good.
We settled in a bit then headed out to explore the city, running on two hours of sleep and one croissant. We walked through the most beautiful park I’ve ever seen- rose gardens, winding hills spotted with couples and the greenest trees imaginable. Toto, we aren’t in Los Angeles anymore! Later on in the day we split a bottle of Lambrusco in this park while various couples full on made out and groped each other all around us. Side note, there’s a heavy chance that what we thought was Lambrusco was actually cooking wine, but it tasted good so I’m fine with it. Back to the horny Spaniards. Turns out that in Spain, they have no term for PDA as they believe kissing in public is no different than in private. Hence, the numerous women straddling their lovers on the park benches.
This park is also home to a gorgeous pond alongside a statue called Monument to Alfonso XII. People rent little row boats and paddle around. Or, more so, the men row around their girlfriends and wives while they sunbathe- myself included. Aside from the park we explored the city’s breathtaking cathedrals and palaces. And, we of course ate plenty of cured Jamon y Iberica. Madrid is so far my favorite city on earth. It’s both historical and modern and is big enough while still maintaining a quaint, cute feeling. Turns out though, that I’m incredibly allergic to the city as it’s known for having a high pollen count (according to Google). My eyes are so red that it looks like I’m on the verge of tears at all times. Which, is maybe why every time I attempt to speak in Spanish, the locals take pity on me and reply in English. My months of private spanish lessons are helping, but the combination of how fast Spaniards talk and my anxiety that I’ll say the wrong thing are prohibiting me a bit. I try.
We napped for a while and Blake fought me until I finally woke up and then headed out for dinner. After our jaunt in the park we tried- and failed- to go to El Corte Ingles, a shopping mall with a “gourmet food” experience on the rooftop that our friend’s recommended we try. We got there too late though and settled for a Mexican restaurant nearby. Nothing like going to Spain just to eat Mexican food. Pina Coladas and jet lag set in and we headed to bed, not quite prepared for the nocturnal Spanish lifestyle just yet.