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.

Refueling

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

Madrid to Reno

We made it home. We left for the Airport in Madrid about 6:20 am Madrid time on Monday and finally arrived home 36 hours later. There was a long line to check in at the airport in Madrid but it moved fairly quickly.

The check in line in Madrid

Our flight from Madrid to Miami was quite good. It was only about half full. Getting through health screening, customs and immigration and rechecking our bags in Miami took less than an hour. In Madrid airport they were making regular announcements to keep a one meter distance between people. In Miami that didn’t seem to be a concern.

Our flight from Miami to San Francisco was almost full. My middle seat made for a long flight.

My daughter and her family left our truck for us at the airport in San Francisco. About 1am Tuesday morning we were on the road home to Reno.

Loading our truck in San Francisco

There was very little traffic. We stopped to nap a couple of times. Interstate 80 was closed through the mountains so we sat in a parking lot in the town of Colfax for several hours.

Interstate 80 through the Sierras

It feels surreal to have been in the middle of a two month trip one day and be home the next. Duke is busy working on trying to get refunds. We are doing laundry and going through the mail. I will update our itinerary and the final videos of the trip on my YouTube channel in the next couple of days.

Córdoba to Madrid

We woke up this morning to the news that all hotels in Spain will close tomorrow. We were able to get a plane ticket home for Monday. In Córdoba we went to the bus station. Almost everything was closed up but luckily the rental car office was open and we were able to rent a car.

Archaeological ruins in the bus station parking garage where we picked up
our rental car.

We drove the four hours to a hotel next to the airport in Madrid where we are now.

Sign on the freeway. “It is prohibited to travel without justification “.

Our flight leaves early Monday morning. We have a connection in Miami and if the U.S. entry process isn’t too slow we will be in San Francisco by midnight. We have our fingers crossed.

Lerma to Madrid

It’s hard to believe but last nights blog post was my 1000th post on this blog!!

I forgot to mention yesterday that I anointed the Parador de Lerma since it was the last Parador of our trip. As I was walking into the lobby I dropped our food bag on the marble floor of the lobby. The bottle of wine in the bag broke and soon there was as a large pool of red wine in the middle of the lobby!

The Parador of Lerma was beautiful and we woke up there this morning to a beautiful view and a beautiful day.

We drove to Madrid, turned in our car, and checked into our hotel. Then we headed out to have a couple iconic Madrid experiences. We ate jamon and cheese at the Museo de Jamon restaurant near our hotel.

And we went to Chocolateria San Gines for churros and chocolate.

After a rest at the hotel we went out for tapas. The streets were packed with people.

We have had a wonderful time in Spain. It’s hard to believe that we leave tomorrow.