View Full Version : A weekend in Madrid (with Rafa!)

18-07-2012, 16:19
I just have to tell you all about my amazing weekend in Madrid.

A group of us from VB were going to Madrid for the weekend as we had tickets for the exho at the Bernabeu between Rafa and Nole. When the exho was cancelled, most of the others decided not to go on the weekend after all but Sam and I decided that we would still go and do the sightseeing as neither of us had been to Madrid before. I was flying out Friday morning and she was flying out Saturday morning, and we were both returning Sunday night.

It didn't start well when my flight was delayed. Then when we got on board, the pilot announced that the motor that starts the engines wasn't working, so they were going to start one engine from the large piece of equipment standing alongside the plane, then start the other engines off that one. I've never heard of a plane needing a jump start before! :eek:

Got to Madrid in one piece and took the Metro to my hotel, which turned out to be really lovely. Then after freshening up, I went straight back onto the Metro to explore the city!

I got off the Metro at the Plaza Puerta del Sol, then walked to the Plaza Major, then walked round lots of back streets taking photos of anything that seemed interesting. I came out near the Cathedral at a place with a great view into the distance. Took lots of photos around that area, then went into the Cathedral for a look round. Then went to the Palacio Real next door for a look round that too. On emerging from the Palacio, I did some more walking around the theatre area and the shops. I wished I'd taken hold luggage so there would be room for souvenirs as there was so much that I would have liked to buy! What struck me was how green the city was, with lots of trees - I hadn't expected that at all.

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid%20July%2012/019.jpg http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid%20July%2012/020.jpg http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid%20July%2012/053.jpg http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid%20July%2012/046.jpg

18-07-2012, 16:37
In the evening I went to a tapas bar near my hotel. When I ordered my first drink, I was also given a little dish with four crispy fried whole fish. Then when I ordered my second, I was given another little dish with two little pasties in it. Great! I could have kept going like that all night but decided to order a proper size dish so had the ensalada de la casa, which turned out to be very similar to a nicoise salad.

We had read a couple of days previously that Rafa would be presented with the flag that he would carry at the Olympic opening ceremony on Saturday at 12.30 at the Spanish Olympic HQ in Madrid. Sam wanted to go there, although she knew she would be cutting it fine due to her flight only due in at 11am, and I agreed to meet her there. To be honest, I thought it would be rather a waste of time as all we would probably see would be a car with blacked in windows being driven in. However on Saturday morning I got on the Metro to find the place, which was more than halfway back towards the airport. When I got out of the station there was no sign of the building (which I knew from having looked it up on the internet resembled a squashed igloo). It wasn't in the place that Bing maps said it was. I eventually asked someone and it was in the opposite direction entirely! Just as well I had left plenty of time to get there.

As I walked down the road there was still no sign of it, but there was a bend up ahead so I hoped it might be just a bit further. Then a saw a group of five women walking along ahead of me. I thought they might be looking for the same place! And when I rounded the bend, there they were standing in front of the entrance to the Olympic HQ. And guess what? I knew three of them! They were three of the four completely crazy Spanish Rafa fans from Monte Carlo, who had been singing the Spanish Davis Cup song and who we celebrated with after Rafa won (you may have seen the YouTube vids of the celebrations). After greeting each other, we all went into the entrance hall and then wondered whether that might not be the best place to see Rafa, as there was nowhere for a car to stop outside and the car park was around the back. So one of the girls went to the reception desk to ask. The kind lady at the desk told her that we could all go in to watch the ceremony!!!! She told us to come back at 12.00 (it was only about 11.00) and told us where there was a cafe that we could go to in the meantime. We were all thrilled. I sent texts to Sam to tell her that we were allowed in, and that when she came out of the station she needed to walk east and not west.

We didn't spend long in the cafe - we were back by 11.30 but we were then allowed in. The auditorium was sunk into the floor so we walked down the steps to our seats - the first few rows were reserved for VIPs but we could sit anywhere else. On the stage were 6 chairs and above them a big screen, and a lectern to one side. I still hadn't heard from Sam and was getting worried that she would miss it. However she arrived just before 12.00.

18-07-2012, 17:02
The VIPs started to take their seats. Of course Sam and I didn't know who they were, but the Spanish girls pointed them out to us - "That's the King of Spain's sister, that's the minister for such-and-such . . . " The ceremony was being televised and also there were lots of photographers. Then Rafa arrived, with his father and Carlos Costa, his manager, and took their seats. The proceedings were led by a lady who I believe is a well known Spanish TV personality. First they showed on the big screen scenes of previous Olympics. Then five previous flag bearers were introduced and took five of the six seats on the stage. They each gave a little speech about what it had been like to be a flag bearer. The head of the Olympic committee presented Rafa with the flag and he took the sixth seat. I'm a bit hazy now about what order things took place in. They showed on the big screen lots of different athletes being asked who should have the honour of carrying the flag, and they all said 'Rafa Nadal'. Then they showed some highlights of Rafa's career - his GS wins and the gold medal. Then the Olympic head gave a long speech praising Rafa. And then Rafa also gave a speech. Throughout it all I was taking non-stop photos, as was just about everyone else. My photos weren't coming out very well - I never seem to be able to take good photos indoors - but towards the end I found that they came out better without flash.

At the end of the ceremony, after posing for photos, Rafa left the hall. We made our way back up the steps to find that the area on ground level had been prepared for a drinks reception! There were waiters going round with trays of drinks and tapa-style canapes. We had lots of canapes pressed on us - they were delicious! We were only dressed very casually in T-shirts, crop trousers and trainers and of course most of the people were very smartly dressed, but nobody seemed to look down on us as they would have done in England. So there we were, ordinary people just come in off the street, hobnobbing with royalty and other important people! :shocked: There hadn't been any security either, we hadn't had our bags searched or anything. Then we were allowed to go down to the stage and sit on Rafa's seat and have our photos taken with one of those Olympic mascot toys!

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid July 12/119.jpg http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid July 12/228.jpg http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid July 12/220.jpg

18-07-2012, 17:08
Afterwards we all went back on the Metro to Plaza del Sol for a drink and a tapa. Then Sam & I went to visit the Botanic Gardens and the Prado.

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid%20July%2012/263.jpg http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid%20July%2012/281.jpg

In the evening we went back to the tapas bar that I had been to the previous evening, and had lots of drinks and tapas!

18-07-2012, 17:09
What a fantastic experience, Linda. Loving the photos.

18-07-2012, 17:15
On Sunday we had breakfast in a nearby cafe and went back to the centre to go on the tourist bus! There are actually two of them, one doing the central area and one going further out. We did the central one first, then walked around some of the places I had walked around on Friday and went to the souvenir shops, then went on the other tourist bus. I was taking photos non-stop from the bus but it wasn't the best place to take photos from - it moved quite fast (the traffic moves quite freely in Madrid) and there are trees everywhere so most of my photos turned out to be closeups of leaves! :rolling:

We had a meal in a cafe and agreed that Madrid is absolutely the best place on earth, and we both want to go back for longer. But it was time to return to the airport. :sad:

My photos are as usual on my Photobucket account (http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd287/Granny_Linda/Madrid%20July%2012/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ36).

18-07-2012, 17:39
wow Linda what an amazing time you had - and great photos!

18-07-2012, 18:28
Sounds like you had a great weekend Linda :)

18-07-2012, 18:41
That's brilliant, bet you are glad you still went to Madrid now and you still got to see Rafa! :thumbup:

18-07-2012, 18:46
Yes, and from much closer up!

18-07-2012, 19:56
Glad you had a fabulous time, it certainly was eventfull-great photos!

Golden Lady
19-07-2012, 08:19
Wow Linda, what a fab time you had! I'll bet that you are delighted that you went along on the off chance. Fab story!

19-07-2012, 08:57
Really enjoyed reading your blog Linda and I'm glad you decided to go after all.
I really liked Madrid when I visited; had a bit longer though so went out to Toledo and El Escorial.

24-07-2012, 15:57
What a fantastic time you had and how wonderful that you were allowed in and then in the Reception. Your photographs are brilliant. We have never been to Madrid...bypassed it once and we've always regretted it. Glad you and your friends had such a lovely time.:thanks::clap:

27-07-2012, 01:17
How awesome you got to hobnob with the VIPS and got to see it in person! And Madrid looks FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!