I blame him, Anta Banderas, for everything, including the good time.
Landing in Madrid on a hot late September day was a dream come true. Upon arrival, looking down at the bustling Gran Via street from our well positioned hotel room; I jumped on the bed and said, let’s go get our bearings for tonight. This was against item 1 on the itinerary list of things to do upon arrival: sleep till around 6 pm. I had a six months reservation for dinner and a flamenco dance at 10 pm and from months of planning I’d calculated that sleep was the best thing to do after 18 hours of flying. But Madrid was calling. The sun was shining and the itinerary seemed so stupid.
After freshening up we took an aimless walk up Gran Via, past the Metropolis building and soon thought, let’s get those tapas everyone is always raving about. We decided on a modern looking tapas bar a few minutes later and after a couple of poses with Glamour magazine (my friend is obsessed with taking pictures with her glamour magazine and sending them in when we return for a free gift. She actually gets the gifts).
The restaurant had all kinds of cured meat and ham legs hanging behind the bar man with labels like Iberian chorizo, and morcón, with colours ranging from bright red to almost black. With my tiny bit of Spanish picked up from months of reading Getting By In Spanish, I ordered my meal. My vegetarian friend had a few struggles but carne is meat in Italian as well so the menu was not so difficult to read and just to be safe, we repeated vegetariano sí and no carne, pointing at the order like crazy people. The food was superb, even if I learnt a few hours later that chorizo does not agree with my stomach. Nothing against their cherished pigs, I think the spices were the problem.
My friend ordered a glass of wine and we were crouched in our seats with Elle, Cosmo, and Glamour, the time, 4 pm. Still so early! I said I’ll have one as well when she asked for a re-fill. Then, wait, let’s just get a bottle. I’m usually not a fan of rosé, I find them too sweet, but something about the 2010 Anta Banderas hit the spot just right. About two hours later we were giggling out of the bar and laughing like we were high on something and somehow still found our way back to the hotel. Next I opened my eyes and it was something past 6. I was confused. Didn’t we get here around 6 pm, how long have we been sleeping? Is it dusk, or is it dawn? It was 6 in the morning, we’d slept a solid 12 hours and I’d missed my six month reservation for my flamingo and a dinner. But it was only day two so plenty of time to make up with amazing Madrid and Barcelona at the end of the week until I heard the words that left me cold: I can’t see my passport!
To be continued…