After a disasterous flight to Madrid, we awoke to our last day together in Madrid, now certainly one of my favourite cities in Europe.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in this fun city now, my third visit and really enjoy the history, the Spaniards, the food, it’s clean, attractive and oh so much to see and do here.
I decided we should join another free walking tour for Lorna’s sake who has not been to Madrid before, and although the guide was a young and particularly weird Irishman, was not disappointed, his history knowledge was good, sense of humour a little over the top, even for me, but we both learned so much more again about the Spanish Inquisition and civil war. Especially why nobody talks about it, why we hear all this 80’s music around and why the Spanish are so unpatriotic and quite disconnected to each other. The younger Spanish people are certainly much friendlier and nicer than the older or our generation. All due to the Civil war and Franco.
At the end of the tour, as threatened by the weather reports, the heavens opened and we had torrential rain for the rest of the day.
We took shelter in the cathedral where we spent time praying for our families who are both in a bit of strife at present, in the most beautiful and private little chapel within the cathedral.
Naturally after all of that, we retired to a bar for the tastiest tapas and wine lunch and then went shopping in Madrid.
I was Lorna’s tour guide for the day, so after shopping, I took her to my favourite hang out (Evan, where I joined the Spanish football fans a few weeks back) Plaza Mayor for a glass of wine and a big dose of people watching sheltering our doors under the umbrellas.
By this stage, Lorna was again beginning to fear for her right arm as I became hungrier and hungrier (Lorna thinks I’m a garbage guts, however, I just need feeding regularly and she only feeds like a bird) so we popped into the most yummy and Madrid’s Speciality, calamari joint for a snack.
We then proceeded to the chaotic though atmospheric Ham Museum for another wine, Serrano Ham and Cheese dinner.
I started complaining to Lorna that I was squelching around in my boots, she inspected and discovered that my extremely expensive, though really old favourite boots which have completed 3 pilgrimages and hundreds of kilometres over the past 5 years, were now ‘has beens’! deceased!
Very disappointing! I love them, so comfortable, have never had a blister with them, sooooo many wonderful memories and experiences both good and bad with these boots that are definitely made for walking.
That made it definitely time to return home, so we returned to our hotel to pack up, our last night together in a hotel room. Amazing to see how well the two of us cohabitated, we were very similar in many ways and made great travelling companions, in my opinion anyway.
I squelched my boots and socks off and after removing the still good to go laces, ceremoniously retired my old and faithful boots to some obscure garbage bin into an even more obscure hotel in Madrid. I wished I would’ve buried them in Santiago but had great trouble letting go of them.
And now we are on the plane home to Sydney.
I am looking forward to getting home, hoping I can provide some much needed support to my family, and can’t wait to spend some time with Wendy before she returns to SA.
I have had an absolutely amazing and wonderful trip all round, from start to finish. I left Sydney reluctantly and under a huge cloud due to family disasters, family are all still in a bit of strife so I look forward to hopefully helping out a bit.
The trip, .... I learned so much, so much more about European history, especially Spain and Portugal, I met the most fascinating and most awful people along the way, I enjoyed so many different cuisines, both good and bad, the challenges over the past 6 weeks, I’ve thrived on.
I’ve learned heaps about myself, accepted that I’m older than I was 5 years ago and all the things that go with being older, yet still striving to keep that age thing at bay both physically and mentally for as long as possible in a realistic manner, to ensure that I enjoy the remainder of my life in this wonderful place they call The World.
I think I’ve become more patient, more realistic and more accepting of life situations during this trip.
I enjoyed the Intrepid group I travelled with and learned from each one of those different people and the enjoyed Lorna’s companionship, friendship even more.
We’ve also had some interesting discussions, don’t always agree on everything, but listened carefully to each other’s point of view.
I know I love Europe, find it totally fascinating, learn more of the history, understand the people better, handle the challenges better (especially language and culture barriers) each time I come over here.
I think I’m waffling but this is my story, I’ve recorded it and one day when I’m sitting in front of the window at home, maybe too old to travel and experience the world, entertaining my grandchildren with my travel stories,
encouraging them to travel, I will have this, my travel journal as a reference.
Homeward Bound and cant wait to arrive.