Madrid to La Granja

Our plan today was to pick up our rental car about 2pm.

We found a spot near our hotel for breakfast.

Then we packed, checked out and stored our luggage. We went for a walk in Retiro Park.

It was a beautiful spring day.

We stopped near the lake to have a snack.

Smoothies for Rick, Duke and Elaine
Churros and chocolate for me.
Duke and Elaine on a bridge in the park.
On our walk in Retiro park.

At 2 we got the car and headed out of Madrid, northwest over the mountains to La Granja.

After we checked into the Parador Rick and Duke parked the car.
I took this picture from the balcony of our room.
If you travel with us you play cards!

We had dinner at the parador.

This is my noodle and vegetables starter.
This is Elaine’s white chocolate and mousse desert.

When we were in La Granja on February 28 of 2016 it snowed.

Outside the La Granja Parador 28 February 2016


First thing this morning Duke and I took the Metro to Madrid airport where we met our friends Rick and Elaine who were arriving from Denver via Chicago. We got to the arrivals area a very short time before they walked through the arrivals door.

We took a cab to our hotel and then went out for a walk to show them a bit of Madrid.

Here we all are in the Plaza Mayor
Duke and Rick looking at the Royal Palace
Rick, Duke and Elaine overlooking Madrid from the plaza between the Cathedral and the Palace.

We walked back to our hotel and rested a bit this afternoon and then had snacks on the balcony of our room.

For dinner we had fun walking around the neighborhood near our hotel. We had dinner at a couple of tapas places.

Having tapas
Outside the tapas place
The salmon at the second place we stopped.

Barcelona to Madrid

Roger and Gayle ordered a taxi for 7:30am this morning to take them to the Barcelona airport. We had a wonderful time traveling with them and we’re sorry to see them go.

Roger and Gayle leaving.

We ordered a taxi for 8:30 to take us to the train station for our 10am train to Madrid. When we got into the taxi the driver said getting to Sants train station could be very difficult because today was the Barcelona marathon. We made it to less than a mile from the station but then there was no way to get to the station. We told the driver we would walk, got out and walked the last .7 of a mile. Along the way the marathon leaders ran by us.

The leaders in the Barcelona marathon.

When we got to the station I wasn’t sure how we would get across the course and the runners. But an old guy suggested we use the metro station and it worked!

The metro station we used to cross the marathon course.

We caught our high speed train to Madrid with no problem. And then walked to our Madrid hotel.

Walking to our hotel in Madrid
After resting a bit we enjoyed our complimentary welcome drinks.

For dinner we went out for tapas.

First tapas stop
Second tapas spot.

Toledo to Madrid

Driving into a city like Madrid to return a rental car is always a bit stressful. The rental car we have been driving for the last week or so is from a new company, OK Rental Cars. When we picked up the car they couldn’t really tell us where to return the car in Madrid. First we drove by their office near the Atocha train station. We saw nowhere to return the car there. Then we went to the place near the train station where we have returned every other car we have returned to Madrid, but OK Rental Car was nowhere to be seen. Then drove back to the office and Duke pulled into a handicapped space while I ran in to ask where to return the car. They gave me a paper with the address of a parking garage a few blocks away. We managed to find the garage, go down three levels in the garage and finally deliver the car. All of this was done through heavy Madrid traffic!! We survived!

We walked to our hotel and left our bags since the rooms wouldn’t be ready for a while. Then we found a lab that was doing Covid test and walked there. Roger and Gayle got there preflight Covid tests. We found a cafe to have beers and toast the fact that we had successfully completed all today’s must do tasks.

We made it to Madrid.

We decided to check out the Museum of Money but it wasn’t until we had walked another mile or so to get there and had been told that they were closed that we realized that today is Monday and most museums are closed on Mondays!

We stopped to rest and have coffee and then headed to the hotel because it was after two and the rooms should be ready.


On the way back to the hotel we walked through Retiro Park. Today was the first really nice day we have had for a long time and the park was peaceful and beautiful.

Retiro Park

When we got back to the hotel, and got to our rooms, we had walked almost seven miles and we were ready for a rest. We played some cards and then about eight went out to find tapas for dinner. We started out with roasted peppers.

Tapas places
Roasted peppers

The next place we stopped was just perfect. It had a friendly Madrid tapas feel and our waitress was very friendly and helpful. We had the fried shark and it was fantastic.

Alhambra Tapas Bar
Fried fish
Alhambra, a wonderful Tapas bar to end this portion of our trip.

Roger and Gail fly home to tomorrow. We have had a wonderful couple of weeks with them.

Guadalupe to Madrid

Duke and I got an early start this morning. We packed up, had breakfast and headed to Madrid to pick up our friends Roger and Gayle at the Madrid airport. We assumed they would be arriving at terminal 4, the international terminal. Which is a couple of miles from terminals 1, 2 and 3.

We followed the signs for arrivals, pulled in and found ourselves by the terminal 4 parking garages. The signs said if you don’t want to park keep going. We did and found ourselves back on the freeway leaving the airport! That was not the plan! I texted Roger; “We are going in circles but we will find you!” Maps on my phone said it was 15 kilometers back to the airport!

Apparently we were on a toll road because the next thing you know we were at a toll booth. Duke pulled up and said to the toll taker “Estamos perdidos! (We are lost!). Luckily there was almost no traffic and she was very helpful.

As we were making our way back to the airport we got a text from Roger saying “we are at T1 number 12”. Terminal 1! That was unexpected! I quickly changed the Maps destination and we managed to get to terminal 1.

It looked like we were on the rental car pick up area but miraculously we saw Roger and Gayle up ahead. It was one lane road with no where to pull over but the bus in front of us stopped. Roger and Gayle jumped in, and mission accomplished, we were on our way to our hotel in downtown Madrid.

We made it to the hotel without getting lost and checked in.

Checking in at our hotel in Madrid

Duke and I took the car to the rental car return place and walked back to the hotel.

Returning our rental car.

This afternoon we went to the Madrid Archaeological Museum (MUSEO Arqueológico Nacional – MAN).

Display of a woman’s tomb
Visigothic Guarrazar Hoard

It was a lovely day for a walk so we walked to and from the museum

Plaza Cibeles

After resting for a while back at the hotel we went out and had tapas for dinner. They were wonderful and a great end to a busy day.

Patatas Bravas
Taverna Los Chanquetes