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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Outside My Window: Madrid, Spain

Puerta del Sol, Madrid

The first night I ever spent in Madrid was at the Hotel Europa
located in the center of Madrid in the Puerta del Sol
or the Gateway to the Sun.
Since it was just before Easter and the processions for
Semana Santa were about to begin our apartment rental was
not available until the day after we arrived.

We had taken the kids out of school early and drove to
Detroit to catch our flight to Frankfurt, Germany.
After a short layover we then flew to Madrid.
My brother had arrived the day before and as we
came out of customs he was there with our Metro passes
and could lead this exhausted group to the hotel.

As we exited out of the Metro, there was the wonder
of the Puerta del Sol.  A large square that is the center
of not only Madrid but the center of Spain.
We were filled with that thrill that is Spain!

We checked into our hotel and the kids went off with my
brother to his room and the bellman took Rob and I to our room.
When we walked in the shutters and drapes were closed
and I told the bellman I wanted a view and a bathtub.
With that, he flung open the drapes and shutters and there
were our 2 balconies overlooking Sol Square.

We went to my brother's room located on the other side of the
hotel and sprawled across the beds, snacking on olives and sipping
Tio Pepe while looking out the window at the Tio Pepe sign
and enjoying a warm Spring breeze coming from across
the Spanish plain.

Just below our balcony is the Hotel Europa Cafe.
Everyday that I am in Madrid you will find me there
as the afternoon turns to evening.  I'm the girl in a
scarf reading the International Herald Tribune.
I knew I was finally a regular when the hardened
Europa waiters would bow and say Buenos Noches Senora
as I left and other regulars would look over and nod to me.
I have wanted to be part of cafe society ever since reading
Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.
This is my Lady Brett moment.

As I sit in the cafe, I listen to the dueling marimbas,
or a gypsy orchestra or the beautiful Spanish guitar.
And I watch the world go by and get into the
Spanish rythym of slow down and enjoy.

That first night, after a very late Spanish style
dinner we were headed back across Sol Square
and my brother said, " Isn't it great to be back in Europe?"

Yes, it always is...

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