Adventures in Madrid: Weekend #3

What a doozy of a weekend. I don’t even think that’s how you spell doozy, but it’s completely irrelevant at this point.

Friday started the weekend out right. Brandi and I hung out again, eating lunch at a cute little cafe in one of the neighborhoods. We also found a bakery just a few doors down that sold cupcakes, so naturally, we had to get some of them. Afterward, we hung out at J&J’s, chatting with Dave and another visitor named Duncan. I had to take off to tutor, but apparently, the shop got really busy afterward and consequently, really awesome.

After my tutoring for the day, I waited at my flat for Super Ninja to arrive. He was set to land at 7:50PM in Madrid and somehow find his way to where I’m staying. Well, I figured it would take awhile, and I was correct. It wasn’t until around 10:30PM that the boy showed up, but regardless, I was pretty excited. When the intercom rang up at the flat, the little girl I tutor answered it, then called out, “Ardiiiiiith! It’s for you!” I went downstairs to let Teh Ninja in, informing him that he was about to meet my host family.

“Isn’t it a bit early in the relationship for that?” he responded.

After meeting not only my host family but a few of the neighbors, we went into el centro to check into the hostel. The location was great, the cleanliness of the place was great, and everything seemed fine– until Super Ninja opened the bathroom door.

The bathroom smelled awful. Not awful enough to keep me out of it, but terrible enough to keep the door closed at all times. It was perfectly clean in there, and granted, after standing in there, working on my make-up for a few minutes, I could barely tell that it stunk. Oh, the joys of hostels.

We didn’t go out for too long; we did, however, go to “The Stop” for some food and drinks. Not bad, other than not recognizing anything on the menu, other than sangria and chorizo. It was kind of fun that way.

Saturday was a long day. We left the hostel around 10:30 or 11AM, grabbed some coffee, then started a marathon walk. It was a beautiful and sunny day, so that was a blessing, seeing that it had been raining off and on for the past two weeks. I dragged Super Ninja to all the tourist hot spots: Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Temple de Debod, and so forth and so on. Even though I’d seen most of the sights, it was great to have to have Teh Ninja with me.

Eventually, we took the Metro up to Retiro, which is basically like Madrid’s Central Park. The plan was to meet up with Brittany, but I was having problems with my phone– a.k.a., I totally forgot to charge it and it was dying. I shot a text stating, “We are at Fuente de Galapagos. We are the obvious American couple,” before the battery decided it hated me. Without access to Brittany’s number, we waited on the bench, playing games on my iPod and watching the various street performers.

I kept an eye out, and after roughly half an hour, I spotted someone who could have been the girl we were looking for. She had the “I’m definitely looking for someone” walk going on, and I waved at her from across the small plaza. It was, indeed, Brittany, and the three of us moseyed along in the Retiro for awhile. After some drinks in the sun, we met up with another new friend, and the adventure continued.

I mentioned to Teh Ninja that we should hit up J&J Books and Coffee, and it turned out that B was pretty tight with the staff there. We hung out for a good while there, although Teh Ninja disappeared downstairs, presumably rolling around in the books.

The next stop was at a cafe for more drinks and some food. Unfortunately, after waiting for a table, we were seated, then informed that the cook wasn’t in the kitchen, so there was nothing to eat. The beer tasted funny anyway, and we left, with one of our friends literally telling the waitress, “Yes, we wanted to order more awhile ago, but now we don’t.”

Then we went to “The Bird’s Eye,” which is not what it’s called in Spanish and I’m forgetting the name. That place was rad, and we parked ourselves there for several hours. The food was amazing, the company was better, and the atmosphere was great. After maybe 10 minutes, I was stupidly-full, so I pulled up a chair to our tall tables and sat awkwardly as we continued to chat (yell) and laugh (be obnoxious).

The rest of the night consisted of more food, some late-night coffees, a walk into Chueca, and wrap-up rounds of drinks and food in Plaza de Santa Ana. I was exhausted afterward, but it was definitely worth the good times.

On Sunday, Teh Ninja and I wandered for way too long trying to find breakfast. We couldn’t settle on a place, since most of the cafes were closed. It seemed that every time something sounded good, there was the potential that something better would come along. After probably over an hour of this terrible game, we found a place with pastries and coffee, a standard Spanish breakfast. Delicious.

The original plan was to browse some local shops, but I totally forgot that things are shuttered on Sundays. Instead, we went to Museo del Prado and checked out the art collection there. It was a good way to get out of the sun, too, and there were some impressive works in the building. After the Museo, we grabbed some paella, and then…

Then came the real fun. Super Ninja realized at around 7PM that his flight was leaving at 8:25PM, not 8:50PM like he thought. We had to jump on the metro from my flat and race to the airport.

Long story short, we totally lost the race. By the time Super Ninja made it to check-in, it was 8:20PM. So that was a no-go. The next flight back to Frankfurt-Hahn was on Monday night; while it sucked that we totally botched the arrival to the airport, it also meant I got to hang out with him for an extra day. (Yay!)

We traveled into Sol to track down a hostel for him, which went like this: exit the Metro station, walk about 20 feet, look to the left. “Oh, there’s one.”

His hostel for the night was fantastic, and it didn’t even smell funny. And it was right on Puerta del Sol. What a lucky little duck. We grabbed even more food, and Super Ninja attempted to inform his family that he was alright, just stuck in Madrid. I got deliriously tired and had to head back to my flat around 11:30PM; Super Ninja was an absolute gentleman and accompanied me the entire way back. Apparently, at least according to Teh Ninja, there was a man on our Metro that was “looking for a target” to mug. Good thing the boy came with me.

With the extra day, Super Ninja was at least able to do some shopping. Well, and so was I. We met in Sol, grabbed coffee and breakfast at a nearby cafe, then started looking for clothes. For lunch, we were total tourists and camped out in Plaza Mayor. Fat Spiderman made an appearance; what good luck!

After hitting up a few more shops, it was time for me to head home again (where did the time go, seriously?). I wished the boy a safe trip back (a.k.a., “Don’t miss your flight!”), and here I am. Patiently waiting for the kids to come back to the house, and looking up destinations for the coming weekend.

Is there a way I can make having weekend fun my job?

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