30.11.2012 - 30.11.2012 7 °C
We tucked the kids in last night, hoping for better health for them today. However, that was not to be. At 2 AM, we were visited by one who needed comfort and attention, only to discover the other was now running a fever. We spent the next three hours making tea, dispensing Tylenol, taking temperatures and providing TLC. In between, we watched Downtown Abbey together, all sharing the large couch. I am hoping Ben and I don't come down with the same virus but in such close quarters, it's hard to avoid contact. Abby suggested the night must have seemed to us like taking care of newborn babies again and we had to agree! However, neither of us has to worry about work in the morning and we have a very comfortable place to stay so there was no concern on those fronts. As the dawn started to arrive, we all attempted sleep once again.
Upon arising for the day (the second time), Ben immediately set to work on his espresso routine while I went out for morning pastries. There is a shop right down the street but when I entered, heard the sophisticated music playing, and surveyed their wares, I was somewhat put off by the 4,95 euro prices for the individual apple tarts. Therefore, I headed off to the mercado stall where we had bought our cake the previous day. Finding a line up of locals convinced me this was the place and they didn't disappoint. I was also pleased to be able to perform the whole transaction in (broken) Spanish, with much pointing. The first few days in Spain saw me speaking a combination of French, Spanish and English strung together so that no one had a hope of understanding me so this appears to be an improvement. I was also able to try out my linguistics at the 'farmacia,' the pharmacy where we went to get some medications for the girls. I began by asking in strong Spanish whether the pharmacist spoke Spanish. Looking surprised, she said she did but then asked whether I meant English? But, of course that's what I meant! We had a laugh and I then purchased the Tylenol and anti-nauseant. They came to the great price of less than 5 euro ($6.50) in total, much cheaper than in Canada. In addition to there being bread and fruit on every block, there is also a pharmacy every few steps -- we saw the same pattern in Brazil.
Aside from the morning outing, Ben and I went for a two hour walk to the main city park, called Parque del Buen Retiro (which means retreat). It was initially created as a royal park and belonged to the Real Sitio del Buen Retiro palace (1632). When it was created, the park was well outside the city walls, but now the city of Madrid has completely enclosed it. Since 1868, it has been open to the public. Today, we saw mainly tourista like ourselves: some snapped pictures, others rowed boats in the artificial lake, still others watched the street vendors and entertainers. We stumbled upon a colony of a few feral cats, sorry the girls were not able to see them (they miss their pet cat, Bella, whom we expect is currently enjoying the life of Riley in her upscale foster home). As we walked home, we saw more municipal employees putting up Christmas decorations. We hear that Madrid turns on the lights starting in December so we are looking forward to a night walk tomorrow. Canadians must also be getting in the decorating spirit so I hope that you all enjoy the upcoming light shows in your cities as well. We will miss seeing many of you at our annual Sinterklaas party, which would likely have been held this weekend but perhaps some of you will be partaking of tai tai and chocolate letters nonetheless.