It’s 9:30pm Madrid time, and I’m sitting in the rustic kitchen of our rental apartment on a tiny street just off the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Spain. As I am tapping away on my netbook, my 26-year-old niece, Mallory, is finding Madrid podcasts for us to listen to on her iPad. We’re snacking on salchichon, jamon, and patates fritas, and washing it all down with some delicious Spanish beers as well as a bottle of Casa Mayor Rioja wine.
Life is good indeed.
We left my niece’s apartment in Edgewater, NJ (just across the Hudson River from Manhattan) early Saturday afternoon. After enjoying a delicious and healthy lunch at Baumgart’s, Mallory’s boyfriend dropped us off at Newark airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight to Lisbon.
I wasn’t sure what to think about the airline, TAP Portugal. I had never even heard of it prior to planning this trip, but it turned out to be AWESOME. Yes, I am talking an about an airline. What made it so awesome? Three things:
1) Red fuzzy blankets and a comfy pillow in *every* seat. Such a treat for someone accustomed to raiding the United overhead bins for scratchy blue blankets.
2) The funniest safety video I have ever seen. Mallory and I were pretty jazzed that we got to see it twice – once on the EWR > LIS leg, and again on the LIS > MAD. You can see for yourself, here.
3) HOT male flight attendants. Yes, I am an old married woman, and Mallory is in a committed relationship, but … wow.
I love the Portugese. 🙂
We landed in Madrid around 11:30am local time. After some minor fumbling trying to figure out international dialing, we finally connected with our leasing agent. We had some time to kill before she could meet us, so we grabbed a Starbucks and hung out in the warm sunshine in Puerta del Sol and enjoyed some world-class people watching just steps from our apartment.
We finally got into our apartment around 2:30pm. After showering up and changing into some fresh clothes, we headed down the street to El Corte Ingles to pick up a few groceries. On the way back, we stopped at a hole in the wall and noshed on some light appetizers, all washed down with a glass of Rioja wine.
As we ate, we both started to feel the effects of 24+ hours without sleep, too much time spent breathing the airplane air (hot male flight attendants notwithstanding) and eating dodgy airport food. We both crashed for a nap around 5:30pm, but Mallory set her alarm for 7:30pm so we wouldn’t throw off our sleep schedule any worse than it already was. Around 7:15, I woke up and despite being incredibly tired, I forced myself out of bed and made a pot of coffee. I knew this would get Mallory up immediately, and it worked.
Since then, we’ve been hanging out in our cute apartment, drinking a great bottle of 3 Euro Rioja, and snacking on our version of tapas.We are both looking forward to getting out and exploring a city that has impressed us immensely so far.