I didn’t have the best start to my day. The flight was very early and we needed to be at the airport by 5am… I was still working a 2am and hadn’t packed. After 2 hours sleep i was on the road to pic up Joe and with two heavy sighs we stared through the windshield and headed for the airport.
After a minor drama of an oversized bag we boarded the flight and I slept all the way to Madrid. A taxi into the city left us at our hotel and we took the funniest elevator up to reception. It was triangular inside, as if they were making the absolute most out of the space the had and all they had was a wedge shaped elevator shaft. The other elevator was a more usual rectangular shape and provided less giggles.
Having checked in we took the comedy elevator to our floor to drop our bags into our rooms before heading to the marathon Expo. With shirts, chips and a million leaflets and goodies in hand our next task was dinner and of course it had to be pasta
Next day was race day. Warm, dry, sunny but not hot, yet. I bought a new water bottle and belt for the race but the damn bottle kept slipping out. After many adjustments to its position and tightness, almost 2 miles of them, I finally got it right and the bottle dutifully stayed put. I was very close to throwing it away, very glad I didn’t when I got past 20 miles and the pain really started to kick in.
The temperature slowly rose during the race and the I really found the last 6 miles gruelling but finish I did, and in a decent time of 4.42.17. I did feel like i had done some damage to my hamstring but after lashing on plenty of biofreeze it seemingly healed itself. For the next couple of days we were tourists!
Back to the hotel for a ride in the comedy elevator, a shower and a cheeky snooze we explored our locality looking for a nice restaurant for a well deserved steak dinner. We crossed Grand Via to explore some of the side streets, there seemed to be a lot of really friendly women hanging out on street corners and for a little while we just thought this was the happy side of town before we realised we were wandering through a red light district. Not seeing anything that appealed in that corner of the city we headed north for our juicy steaks and entered another district with an altogether more colourful feel, our tired minds finally figuring out that we were right in the middle of the city’s gay district, but still no open restaurant so onwards we went towards Puerta del Sol. We visited a few bars along the way but one would become a particular favourite. Judging by the explicit murals that covering the walls we decided this was a lesbian bar. The staff were really friendly and looked after us by keeping us fed with tapas on the house. When it was time to move on the bar staff asked me if I wanted another beer, I declined but what i didn’t realise was that in traditional bars here the staff gives you a drink on the house when you are leaving. A mistake i didn’t make again.
The next day we hired a three wheeled GPS guided motorcycle and saw all of the major sights in a whistle stop tour, that was a lot of fun! In the afternoon we had BBQ for lunch and back to our lesbian bar for drinks before a wander through the Madrid’s night life.
The next morning we has sore heads and foggy memories. After breakfast and cappuccinos all that remained was to enjoy the last few hours in Madrid.