Mike and I spent our 10th Anniversary in Madrid, Spain. We left on Wednesday, February 12th in the afternoon and drove to O’Hare. We picked up our favorite — Frontera — for the plane, and boarded around 4:40 on Wednesday afternoon. After a 6 and half hour flight (the plane was very nice, I was able to watch a movie and attempt to sleep) and we arrived in Madrid around 7:30 am on Thursday morning.
We took a cab to our hotel to leave our bags and then set out to start exploring Madrid. We ended up at VIPS for breakfast before heading back to the hotel for a much needed midday nap. We headed out and went shopping (finding Mike some new black shoes) and then went to a bar for a drink before walking around and trying to find a place for dinner. It was very nice to just be able to walk around, take it all in, and stop when and where we pleased. We ate dinner outside — we tried paella and tapas that night. It was okay, but nothing that I thought was amazing. We walked some more and had dessert at another restaurant. It was quite an enjoyable evening.
Because of the time change, we didn’t go to sleep until nearly 2 in the morning Madrid time — and then didn’t get up until 10 am. It was so strange! It ended up working out just fine though. It was our anniversary day and we started the day eating breakfast in a small cafe. It was one of those scenes from a movie where you can just picture saying 30 years from now, “Remember on our 10th anniversary when we had breakfast at that cafe in Madrid?” I had churros with chocolate and coffee. Mike had one his many, many meals of a ham sandwich.
After breakfast, we headed to the Prado Museum and spent several hours wandering the rooms and reading about the paintings there. I’m not sure Mike and I had ever just wandered a museum by ourselves before! After the museum we stumbled into a cafe called Murillo for lunch. We shared a salad, cheese plate, and lots of delicious bread. After lunch, we went back to the hotel for our siesta (we didn’t actually sleep, just rested) before heading back out that night.
In the evening, we went to the Corral de la Moreria, which is billed as one of the 1000 Things to Do Before You Die for dinner and a flamenco show. We both agreed that the food was great, but flamenco isn’t something we need to see again. It was neat, but I guess we just aren’t that into dancing. Personally, I think I enjoyed the walk over and watching the sunset just as much as the flamenco. Truly, it was an idyllic anniversary.
On Saturday morning, we ate pain au chocolate at another cafe before spending the day exploring the many shops in downtown Madrid. Of course, we found souvenirs for the trio and Mike found some new clothes for work. For lunch, we had prosciutto pizza and the most gorgeous chicken Caesar salad. We also spent some time exploring the Marketplace — Mike had wine and almonds — I had chocolate. We ended our Saturday at an Irish Pub (I know…) called O’Reilly’s where we watched soccer, drank Mojitos (me) and beer (Mike) and ate chips and guac.
On Sunday, we found almond croissants and more delicious coffee before walking through the Botanical Garden. Our next stop was Retiro Park where we were able to walk through the Crystal Palace and watch the boats on the lake. It was beautiful. It was so nice to just walk and talk and sight see.
At one point that morning, as we were walking through the park, I was being goofy and imitating a dog (you have to understand the nerdy humor that Mike and I share…) and Mike said, “I think I’ve seen you smile more in the last 4 days than I have in the last 6 months.” In a way, that sounds bad (I’m not desperately unhappy in my life or anything – my life is good and I know that!) but it was the first time in quite awhile that I wasn’t thinking about all the things. All too often, it is too easy to get caught up in the hub-bub of every day life – How was work? Is Bo’s homework done? Where is Anna’s show-n-tell? Have you seen Clara’s dance bag? Did you call so and so? Can you pick up the kids since I have a meeting? What’s for dinner? You get the idea… It was just so nice to have no agenda and nothing to worry about for a few days.
We eventually stopped for sandwiches as we continued exploring. After walking over 10 miles, we decided to siesta for a bit before heading back out to shop a bit more (apparently I’m embracing a star theme this year) and finished our night with ham, cheese, and beer at a tapas restaurant.
On Monday, we were up early and showered for the long flight back. We left Madrid at 11:30 am and arrived in Chicago around 3. It sounds short but the flight was nearly 10 hours long. I watched two movies and read an entire book during the flight (when else in my life can that happen?!) so it was enjoyable, but we were both very ready to be home. As we were landing, the pilot suddenly went back up into the air to circle again — either he wasn’t able to see the runway or he overshot the landing — it was snowing like crazy and looked like a whiteout from the airplane windows. Everyone applauded when we finally landed safely.
While our trip was amazing, it ended on a sour note as it took us nearly 5 hours to drive home from O’Hare in (yet another) awful snowstorm. We were very glad to be home and to see our trio. We were also exhausted!
*** Yes, all of these photos were taken with my phone. I actually did take my good camera to Spain and never took a single photo with it. Go figure.***