Started off the day by packing up our things in preparation for our eventual departure from Madrid to head to Segovia (NW of Madrid). After breakfast we took a short stroll thru Madrid's Plaza Mayor. A big central square lined with restaraunts, shops and of course the inevitable street vendor. While admiring the surrounding architecture and history of the square (bullfights, gatherings & executions used to be held there) one street "vendor" in particular caught our eye. Spiderman! But this was no ordinary Peter Parker, more like Pedro Porker! He took a liking to Erin and as you can tell she got a little creeped out...
After the morning stroll we dropped our bags at the train station, then went to visit one of the oldest and most successful futbol clubs in Europe if not the world...Real Madrid CF & thier Bernabeau Stadium. I cant begin to describe how much history the club and stadium have written into the books over the last century, but sufice to say that FIFA (soccers global governing body) named Real Madrid the Futbol Club of the Century in 2000. Anyhow, given that most of you are not big fans of the game i'll save the details for another time. But here are a few pics we took...one photo not here (requires scanning) is one of Erin and her "dreamboat" Cristiano Ronaldo side by side...and here i thought i was the only soccer player in her life! I should also mention my "wardrobe change" as i broght my Sounders jersey along for a few of the photo opps...what can i say i come prepare for any and all situations!!
As if the tour wasnt enough, we had plans to stay in Madrid to watch Spain play their first world cup match. Before entering for the tour we noticed there was a "Madrid Fan Viewing Zone" being setup and decided to stick around and watch the game there. The fans of "La Furia Roja" came out in droves to support their country (i'm guessing @ 3000 fans), and it was unlike any sport viewing event i've ever been a part of...singing, cheering, drums, more singing & cheering. Though the Spanish were upset by the Swiss 1-0 (major upset...more on that in a bit), it was one of those once or twice in a lifetime events. And i'm so glad we were there to witness the worlds biggest sporting event (the world cup..not the NBA Finals) from such a unique and authentic perspective. Here are a few photos of Erin and I taking it all in.
After viewing the match we hopped back onto the subway and headed for the train station to catch our high speed train to Segovia. As you can see from the photos i wore a Spain jersey and after the match was talked up by many people about the game...never before have i seen a people so enamoured with their sport. General consensus in Madrid was that the end of the world was near. The shocking loss was quite literally the talk of the country today...the evening news didnt cover much else...The 30 minute high speed train ride into Segovia made me realize just how behind the times the infrastructure in the US really is. Efficient, clean, comfortable, reliable...i'm running out of adjectives to describe just how easy it is to get around.
After a short bus ride from the Segovia train station we arrived near our hotel, and with some directions from the local police and a few Segovians we arrived at our hotel "el hospedaje del gato". This place is a small "pension" above a bar of the same name. The place is a modest, clean, small town "mom & pop" with all the basic comforts, and pretty cheap. Thanks to Rick Steves for this one. After checking in I took an evening siesta while Erin read, then we grabbed a late night tapas meal a couple of beers...then called it a day.
As day 3 comes to a close, i'm reminded of just how lucky i am to not only be on such an amazing adventure, but lucky to be able to share that adventure with someone special. Not only does Erin put up with my constantly playing soccer back home, but she supports my interest (sometimes she calls it an obsession) with the game when we're half a world away. That support makes it possible to have days like today where i can be "like a kid in a candy store". Thank you for a great day together, babe.