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Appreciating the Sh!t Out of Madrid: The Invasion of Iberia by Tall, White Americans, Vol. 4

27 May 2008

The final chapter. If we could make the type yellow and read at an angle so that it appeared to vanish into deep space, we would. But we can’t, so use your imagination…

Despite all the train shenanigans, we arrived in Madrid the next morning, pulled ourselves together and got everyone back to the hotels before Al and I headed off to class. That’s right: despite getting only 4 hours of sleep and having to endure a head-splitting exchange of ignorance, we still had the fortitude to get our money’s worth from the escuela. I hate us sometimes.

After class, we met up with everyone and did a survey of the west end of town, intending to go to the royal palace, but because there was yet another city-wide fiesta of some sort, it was closed. No biggie, as we were able to stroll around the gardens and hit Plaza de España, home of the Cervantes monument, complete with the big bronze statues of Donnie Q and Sancho. Obligatory photos taken and posted.

At the end of the day, we returned to check on Poor Friend Jenny—who, though markedly improved, wasn’t up for going out. Additionally, by this time we also figured out that aforementioned city-wide fiesta was still the Festival of San Isidro, and there was going to be a big fireworks display in the park that night. Seizing this opportunity, we hit up the market and grabbed a bunch of Mediterranean picnic supplies (olives, wine, bread, cheese and a variety of cookies and chips—come on, we’ve been here for a while, but we’re still Americans), snagged a blanket and set off to have an awesome sunset picnic with fireworks set to classical music on a quaint little knoll in the middle of the park. It was on the order of the 4th of July fireworks on the Mall we did every year as a kid. Good times.

The next day, Al had a test in class, so we couldn’t skip (well, I could have, but got guilt tripped into going). Afterwards, we met up with everybody at the Reina Sofia Museum, the modern art gallery which, in concert with the Prado and Thyssen Bournemiza, forms the trifecta of Madrileño museums. After “appreciating the sh!t out of some art” as Pete put it, we then waited around for Dear and Beloved Friend Adi, whose watch was still on Portuguese time, making her a full hour late for our predetermined rendezvous. Like I said, this trip had a very distinct theme. From Reina Sofia, we went up north to tour the Bernabéu Stadium, the aforementioned Ohio State practice field, er, I mean, home of Real Madrid, the team that invented God. By now starving, we set off on our regular Friday night circuit, including the tapas bar where you get a full plate of food with every tiny beer you order, a slightly classier wine bar, and finally the old timers restaurant / bar where we know two of the bartenders, and they take really good care of us every time we visit. Due to a miscommunication at the tapas bar, we ended up with 12 cañas of beer at once, rather than the six we needed, resulting in a smorgasbord of food and cerveza, but since O and Paddy were there, it ended up not being a problem at all. It was a divide and conquer scheme: Paddy on beer, O on food, Poor Friend Jenny on plates. Go team.

Saturday, we rose early to get everybody to the school bus that was taking us to El Escorial, where we had gone earlier, but the guys wanted to see as well. During roll call, my former teacher (the Brack Peet one) was having a little trouble pronouncing the American names and called out “Pee-ter? Pay-ter? Wheesh wun ees correcto?”


Of course.

Well, it was either that or, “Me llamo Mike.”

The trip was great, and though the subject matter was a tad heavy (despite the alliteration, Franco is not fun), it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves, so we’ll consider the day a success. Upon returning, we all passed out in Paddy and Dear and Beloved Friend Adi’s hotel room (except for Al and O, who went running), and Pete, who sat quietly in a corner and drank for two hours while the rest of us slept. Let’s hear it for dedication, people! After everyone rose / got back / puked and rallied, we went out for dinner at another, slightly more upscale tapas place, then did some bar hopping, ending up at an Irish bar.

Of course.

Sunday morning was the beginning of the Exodus, as Paddy, Peter and Poor Friend Jenny left early. Dear and Beloved Friend Adi’s flight wasn’t till later, so we hung out for a bit, grabbed some lunch and then escorted her up to the airport terminal, mostly to help her carry the awkwardly large and ghetto-fabulous plastic bag full of paintings she had acquired in Lisbon. The jerry-rigging was phenomenal.

After dropping Adi off, O (whose flight wasn’t till the next day), Al and I stopped by the stadium to see if there were any tickets left (there were) and then to procure the necessary fan regalia (at obscenely over-inflated prices). Upon arriving home, we got a text message from Adi saying they had canceled her flight and she couldn’t get out till the next day and she was coming back to the apartment. This ended up being awesome, because it extended the fun yet another night. Granted, that night meant that there were 4 people sleeping in a room barely big enough for 2, taking us to truly tenement levels, but oh so cozy!

At any rate, they left the next morning as we went to class, and we cried all they way to, thru, and home from class. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime gathering, and, as Pete put it in a follow up email: “[it] Confirm[ed] that we are indeed all best friends by spending 10 days with each other with almost zero sniping (I got cranky about tardiness on Friday…my bad).” We’ve come a long way from the Outer Banks beach week beach house…

And so concludes the Iberian Invasion by Tall, White Americans. We hope you enjoyed this adventure; we sure enjoyed embellishing otherwise boring events. Tune in next time as our heroes set off on new and exciting exploits, taking on towns such as Sevilla, Barcelona, Granada and Córdoba!

Editor’s Note: Though neither government has issued any official statements on the matter, we’re fairly certain that none of us will ever be allowed back on an overnight train from Lisbon to Madrid, nor anywhere near Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (that last one isn’t really that big of a deal).


One Comment leave one →
  1. Countess of Cava permalink
    27 May 2008 12:46 pm

    What an awesome time all of you enjoyed during this trip. Thanks for sharing the fun and the details with the rest of your fans back home.

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