Crystal Palace, extra brains, and Real Madrid fútbol

This morning we slept in a bit before heading to El Retiro park, which was originally the Spanish Monarchy’s retreat until it became a public park in the 19th century. The highlight of the park was definitely the Crystal Palace:


Then we did a lot bit of shopping, but not at the touristy souvenir shops this time. No, we first went into what must be the Den of Geeks, Spanish style:

The next store was like a really nice paper/crafty/decorating store in the U.S. except everything was way cheap and super colorful, two of our favorite things. Cecily even found the perfect cure for her Concussion Brain:

If only she had remembered to buy it.

Happily she did remember to buy some markers, a coloring book, and a giant ampersand. Megan bought some post-it notes that look like a floppy disk as well as a colorful whisk. After she handed over her credit card, the lady at the register said something that Megan assumed was in reference to a minimum purchase for credit cards, which apparently had not yet been met. Then a man stepped up from behind, put two euros on the counter as well as a small item he wanted to buy, and said something in Spanish. Megan assumed they were all on the same page on what was being proposed so she gave him the thumbs up, hoped the thumbs up was an international thing by now, and smiled. Then there was a pause and the man decided apparently there needed to be more clarification because he proceeded to explain in English that he would give her the two euros for the thing he wanted to buy so she could get over the minimum purchase. Later Megan cursed herself for not taking the perfect opportunity to use her new favorite Spanish phrase: ¡Vale! ¡Vale! It means okay and we hear it only about a thousand times a day around here. Sadly the moment was lost, but hopefully another opportunity will present itself.

For lunch we stopped at a cute sandwich shop and had each had a BLT, or a BLAT as they were called on the menu because they had avocado as well. Megan discovered that she loves the Spanish version of bacon because it is almost just strips of baked ham instead of the over crispy stuff most Americans like. She added a fried egg to make her sandwich a BLATH. It was the best BLATH she had ever had.

Cecily was quite entertained at lunch by a lady near us who spent about 10 minutes trying to roll up her own cigarette. She never seemed willing to pull enough concentration away from her conversation to actually complete the task, so it was a very long process. Megan had her back to the show but luckily Cecily was willing to act out the whole thing with a torn up piece of napkin and some great commentary.

After lunch we checked out the Plaza de España, which made it three days in a row that we have seen a Cervantes/Don Quixote related attraction. Megan especially liked the two female statues on either side of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza: one is the beautiful lady of standing Dulcinea Don Quixote imagined and one is the peasant girl she actually was.

After that we went back to Kelley’s for a short siesta before the main event…REAL MADRID FÚTBOL!!

This was the first time either of us had seen Real Madrid play in person, much less in Spain, much less in a Champions League game. For soccer lovers like us, this was a huge deal. We commemorated the moment properly with a fantastic selfie:

At first it seems like just Kelley and Megan are in the pic, but wait! First you’ve got those two great guys in the row behind us; they are really bringing their A game to this selfie. Then look even further and you’ll see Cecily and Tim!

The matchup against Roma made for an exciting and close game, with Real Madrid scoring two amazing goals in the second half to win it. It was the perfect way to end our four days in Madrid. Tomorrow we’re leaving at 6 a.m. to catch the train to Barcelona. Stay tuned, more adventures in Spain await us!




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