This morning I loaded a group of 41 faithful tour members on to a bus, one last time, and off we went to Madrid’s airport. Our adventure began one week ago, way down in Rome. During the last seven days, we’ve put a lot of kilometers between here and Rome. For the most part, the tour went very well, although, there were a few “hitches” along the way. But, I’ll save those stories for another post.
At the moment, I want to share my “tour recovery” story here in Madrid. You might imagine it would be a bit stressful leading a large group of American tourist around Europe. There are tons of things to think about, plan, consider, and adjust everyday. My wife puts it this way, “when David’s leading a tour, he has to be ‘Mister Entertainment’ and on the ball 24/7.” We both learned a long time ago it is not a “vacation” for us when we are leading a group tour.
So, after getting the group checked-in and through security at the airport, I was ready for a “down” day of recovery. I hopped on the Metro and returned to central Madrid. It is Saturday, and the town was slowly waking up. When I popped out of the Metro and onto Plaza de España, it was filled with joggers, dogs, and older residents enjoying the warm sunshine while visiting on park benches. I took a stroll over to Puerta del Sol, and finally to Plaza Major. It was wonderful, just to wander, not having to worry if my group was in tow or feeling the need to count to 41 for yet another time.
After taking some photos in Plaza Major, I found an outdoor cafe, ordered a cafe con leche and took in the scene. By now, it was approaching 11:00 and the square was coming to life. The silly costumed entertainers and vendors were getting dressed in hidden alcoves, waiters were drying the dew off tables, dressing them in crisp table clothes, and tour groups were just beginning to flood in to the square.
There was an American family sitting two tables away from me, and the two teen-aged boys had fried eggs and bacon on their plate. After ten days eating breakfasts of chewy baguettes, jam, cold cuts, and pastries, this looked pretty good. So, I got some myself and enjoyed a traditional USA breakfast on the grandest square in Spain!
After writing in my journal and posting some photos to Facebook, I was surprised to find it was after 2:00 p.m. I think I’ll pack up my things, go back to the hotel, and take a siesta!