The sun came up over Spain and through the airplane window as we hit the Continent.
It was already April 5th in Europe, but my camera was still on Tucson time, showing the date of our first wedding anniversary.
A brand new subway took us from the airport to Plaza del Sol, the center of town.
Check out the TVs hanging from the ceilings of the carriage.
We exited the subway tunnels....
...and stepped from the 21st century out into the medieval heart of Madrid.
We checked into the chic Hotel Europa, complete with balcony overlooking the pedestrian-only Calle Carmen...
... and checked out the always-fascinating European bathroom.
It was 10 in the morning here in Spain, but we were still on Tucson time, where it was 1:00 a.m., a time to either sleep or party.
We did neither. The bright sun turned on wakefulness-hormones in our fatigued minds, slowing down time and adding a certain buzzy clarity. We went exploring.
The Plaza Mayor, historic center of Madrid. Late at night we heard some music off in a corner of the plaza -- a guy with a nylon six-string was sitting on the stones, playing heart-melting Spanish classics with passion and precision to an audience of 10.
A closer look at the murals in the Plaza.
As we walked we found this, La Clínica Veterinaria Los Austrias.
I presented my card and had a pleasant chat with the doctor, Javier Marinelli. He showed me his clinic and we discussed his latest feline hepatopathy case.
The low posts along the street are to keep the cars off the sidewalks. The streets are narrow, with many pedestrians and no curbs.
Evening at the main post office.
Paseo de los Recoletos is the main north-south street in Madrid.
Darkness found us wandering Madrid in a jet-lag haze.
This is the lake in Buen Retiro, Madrid's central park. On the far shore was a monument to King Alfonso XII, covered with young people playing drums, smoking pot, twirling fire sticks and performing other mating rituals.
Madrid's Atocha Train Station. What used to be the room with the trains and platforms is now an indoor park full of tropical-looking plants.
Was Madrid surreal?
Or were we hallucinating?
It was 2 pm in Tucson. Here in Madrid it was jetlag:thirty. We picked up a train schedule, returned to our hotel and hit the hay.
© 2005 Lee Fike
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