A Travellerspoint blog

Managing in Madrid

By Muriel

semi-overcast 7 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

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.

Madrid: Stovetop Expresso

Madrid: Stovetop Expresso

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.

Madrid: Retiro Park

Madrid: Retiro Park

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.

Posted by KZFamily 20:34 Archived in Spain Tagged madrid

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Hi family,
Sorry to hear that the girls’ are not improving much. This usual takes a few days. I hope not that you parents will follow.

Abby and Hannah you are in Opa’s thoughts and prayers all the time. Enjoy all the tender care you can get. As soon as you feel a bit better have another pastry, that is good comfort food (sorry Kathy, Opa loves his grandkids’)

In the meantime you were able to make a lot of very nice pictures, thanks. Madrid seems to be a very nice city. Your accommodation looks very good and is good to have during this time.
Well Muriel you are a language scholar, but wait until you start to mix some Dutch in the mix and see what will happen then.
I have some comments on one picture but I will give that later. Until next time, Opa

by G.Koning

13:10 pst 30/11/12
Chuckle , sorry Muriel not sick folks but you. In Spanish , do you speak Spanish when you meant English. Those med prices are amazing and good on you for looking to see where the locals shop.
Are you charged for public toilets as I found that so in UK and Scotland, unless we were in a Starbucks or in a betting shop (do not ask). Men need leather pockets when you walk around with all those coins.
As one of your family said, it looks like you are now slowing down and daughters are enjoying the family couch therapy :)
Nice picture.. if you check out my blog pictures , the girls might enjoy the one I posted last night (Dog in plane). Sorry , no cats.
Thankfully Dutch Santa Claus also has clones that visit us in Barbados and elsewhere.
It is raining today and I'm about to go grocery shopping for us. my weekly ritual.
Victoria are getting the flowers ready to hang and lights. Bundle up and the girls get better as it would be interesting if they have to look after you both.
Cheers... before you revoke my access

by RobBar

Sorry to hear the girls are sick. Hope they get better soon.

I was thinking about your Sinterklaas party this week. It's getting pretty "Christmassy" here. The Victoria Santa Claus parade was on the 17th and the Sidney parade on the 24th. Tomorrow is the truck light parade. The trees are on display at the Empress Hotel.

Are the blog comments where the person's name is in gray the ones that were done with the person not being logged in? It is possible to save each blog entry as a web archive (.mht) file. That will preserve the comments. You could also try saving them as a single web page (.htm) but I think the quality is better with the .mht.

By the way I've done all your pages so far...

by Jane1

Thanks for the advice Jane. We have backed up all our posts using the .mht format as you suggested.

by KZFamily

Good for you; getting around in Spanish, Muriel! I'd be curious to know when your trip is over what languages you think would be most useful in travelling around Europe... it would give me some ideas as to what to learn next! I hope Hannah and Abby are feeling better, but considering the title of your next post that I am about to look at, the prospects look good!

by jaalders

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