6/1/10: Madrid, Spain
Sometimes we go to pretty stupid lengths to save money. Here’s a hypothetical example. Let’s say Amy had a flight out of Lima two nights ago around 10pm, but our flight out of Lima wasn’t until 12 noon the day after hers. Rather than take Amy to the airport by cab (35 Soles), come back to our hostel by cab (40 Soles), stay at our hostel for the night (54 Soles) and then go to the airport the following morning by cab (35 Soles), we would instead decide to go with Amy to the airport and spend the night there. And accidentally let a cleaner throw away the change from our dinner, which I would accidentally leave on my tray (40 Soles).
Ok, that wasn’t as much a hypothetical situation as it was, um, a real situation. On the one hand, we threw away 40 Soles, had the worst night we’ve ever had in terms of airport sleeping and were forced to eat only fast food for two meals (actually, for Kevin, this wasn’t such a bad thing). On the other hand, we managed to get rid of all or our Soles and hey, we saved almost 90 Soles!
Sigh. Thinking back on it – I don’t think it was worth it. I think if we went back and did it again, I’d insist on spending that night in the hostel. I would spend the extra thirty bucks and get a good night’s sleep and go to the airport feeling refreshed and well-rested. Yes, that’s what I would do. But guess what? Despite this experience, we’ve already decided to spend our last night in Madrid at…the MADRID AIRPORT! What is that word again for when people can’t seem to learn from their mistakes? Oh right, stupidity.
Anyway. The flight from Lima to Madrid was probably the worst flight we’ve had on our trip so far. Between the middle seats and the absence of personal screens and the incessant kicking and screaming (not crying, just plain screaming) of the small child who sat behind me – well, it was a really, really long eleven hours. Considering that our only other experience with Europe on this trip so far was that horrible night we spent at Heathrow airport (another horrible airport night- when will we learn?!) where the following morning I practically threw up on the security conveyer belt, well, Europe really hasn’t treated us very well so far. In my mind, it’s got a lot to make up to us.
We arrived in Madrid early this morning and after we checked into our hotel, we spent the rest of the day just walking around in Madrid. First impression? I LOVE Madrid. I really do. I want to transport it to America and then live in it. It’s funny, because for the last three months, we’ve spent a lot of time avoiding spending time in big cities. We did just a couple of days in Buenos Aires, a couple of days in Santiago and only a few hours in La Paz, and we never felt like we missed out on a lot. A lot of people we met in South America seemed to feel the same way. They often described the large South American cities by saying: “Oh yeah, you don’t need to spend that much time there. It’s just like any European city.” And I would nod sagely and agree. But now that we’re in Madrid, all I can think is – are those people completely crazy? Buenos Aires ≠ Madrid. Not in any way, shape or form. Ok, that’s exaggerating. They’re similar in that they’re both big cities with lots of people. I think that’s where the similarities end. Don’t get me wrong – I liked Buenos Aires just fine, but I LOVE Madrid. I love the huge pedestrian areas, the cafes with their cute outdoor seating, the people walking their Yorkies down the street, the building balconies decorated with potted plants… I just really like the character of it. I know that’s really vague and doesn’t explain anything at all, but that’s all I can say. I love it. I’m really, really glad we’re here.
Picture of the Day: This dress and a cardigan Amy brought me has doubled my outfit count.