Tapas and Futbol

When we planned our trip, we made a tiny mistake.... Mr L loves soccer. The original plan, like I have mentioned, was to go to the World Cup in South Africa. Once we realized it would be too expensive and a pain to get around during, we decided to do the next best thing, which was to be in Portugal during the Portugal v. Brazil game. Which we are still planning on doing. However, when we booked the first couple of flights, we planned to go into Madrid on the 19th, then fly to Egypt on the 21st. What we didn't know then was that the UAEFA finals were IN MADRID on the 22nd. It would have been fun to be there during the game, however, we were there the couple of days prior and that city was HOPPING!! In fact, our hotel that we stayed at was the headquarters for all the activities, reporters etc that were there for the game. Oh well.

We were pretty tired when we arrived at 10 am, but were determined to stay up all day so we would get into the rhythm of being in this time zone (Madrid is 9 hours ahead of California). We did alright...but it is hard when it is hot and you have a beer and some food. The streets were buzzing with people and we just sat in the shade in a plaza in the middle of the city and ate peanuts and had a coffee, in the true nature of the locals. In fact, my Spanish picked itself up off the ground and presented itself fairly nicely once it brushed off the rust a little.  I made it to about 9 pm, then passed out.

We made a little plan regarding lodging which I like so far, but I have to say, I have been royally spoiled! I usually stay in hostels the whole time, share a bathroom and can't really spread out or really dig into my backpack without making a total mess. BUT. Since we work away from home all the time normally, and stay in hotels, we have accumulated some hotel points. Our plan is to use them for Europe, where the hostels are about 30 dollars each per person. Once we get to Africa, they will be more along the lines of 5 dollars per person (or less sometimes!) so then it will be no problem. Otherwise we will be out of money in a month!

So, in Madrid we were in the Westin and our room was AMAZING!!! A junior suite in a 400 year old building with a sitting area and FREE FRUIT (okay I was pretty excited about the free fruit). Oh and did I mention free bottled water? Ha. We saved about 3 dollars by staying here! Anyway, it was a beautiful hotel and it was kind of nice to "ease" into the traveling experience instead of jumping right from niceties to dirty shared bathrooms. Don't get me wrong, I actually LIKE staying in hostels -- you meet a lot of great people who give you great travel tips for the next destination and oftentimes you end up traveling with them as well. But man it is nice to be able to take a long hot shower and then walk around naked in your air conditioned room. Okay, maybe that was too much information. Suffice to say, the Westin Palace Hotel Madrid ROCKS. Here's the crown molding. Made out of plaster!

Enough about the hotel...ON with the TAPAS! I love tapas. Little plates of heaven! My favorite is these little pickled (I think they are...) sardines. Oh...I have a picture. Its not the best picture, but you have to see these so you know what I am talking about. If you ever, ever go to Spain, make sure to get THESE!!!

Okay so basically right after I ate that plate of fish, we ran to the airport to catch our flight to Cairo... I am very excited about the pyramids, although a bit wary of the people trying to take advantage of me. We shall see. Wish me luck!

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