Our flight from Miami left one time. It was really different for us, going somewhere non stop–no changing planes in Atlanta, or Paris or anywhere. This 8.5 hour flight was from Miami to Madrid. It left at 9:30 at night so they gave us a dinner right away. The premium economy seats, while nowhere near as nice is in Business, were decidedly better. I slept a good 5 hours before the hubbub for serving breakfast began. We got in a half hour early, customs was nothing so we arrived at our hotel by 1:30. We hung out in the room for about an hour an took off to explore. (OK, don’t want to talk about this a whole bunch BUT, I have a wheel chair now. I’m having back surgery when we go home to fix it, so Ken is pushing me and sometimes I’m walking and one of us is pushing the empty chair.) So we walked toward the historic center. Our hotel is just a few blocks from it. We are not al all oriented yet, to the time or the city. I have done pitifully little research on Madrid. So we are walking by these breath taking landmarks not knowing the Plaza Real from the Plaza del sol but we are smiling and just taking it all in. We are kind of checking out restaurants. We stop where we see ham hanging from the ceiling and tons of people. A young couple with very limited English (and my very limited Spanish) helped us figure out what was what. I got a sandwich of jamon Iberico (special ham) and Ken got a salami sandwich–and 2 beers for 8 euros. Everyone eats standing at a counter or small high tables around the long bar. I realize after looking at the napkin that this is a place I had seen on a Rick Steves show a long time ago–“The Museum of Ham” Ken loved it, me too. It hit the spot. We kept on walking to the Plaza Mayor and it was beautiful. It was a holiday (Chorpus Christi) in Madrid so there were a lot pf people walking around. It was also about 90 degrees out.
Finally we made our way back to the AC Recoletos, our hotel. We took a nice rest and at around 9:00 started to think about dinner. Feeling pretty exhausted we opted for a place about a block away, someone had recommended on Chowhound, La Cesta. I came down to the desk before Ken and asked if they knew of the restaurant La Cesta, pronouncing it with an “s” and she made me write it down. She said “Oh you mean La THesta” So our education in real Spanish begins. Our dinner was fantastic. We ate stuffed mussels, a traditional potato and egg tortilla, a barbcoa pork rib and dessert–saffron creme brulee. We drank different wines by the glass but or favoite was the red, Ribera del Duero.
Here are some random pics of a totally successful first day!