As promised... details from my trip across the big pond...
Emily and I spent a lovely (sleepy) day in Dublin during our layover. We somehow managed to exit the airport, bypassing customs altogether. I'm not sure how, but we did. We took a cab into Temple Bar (famous district in Dublin) and went to 2 pubs. We were so tired though, I fell asleep on the cab ride back to the airport.
We arrived in Madrid late Wednesday night, and promptly headed out to meet Mo's friends. We had a great, late night. Thursday morning came very quickly as we had to be up for our private walking tour of Madrid. We met up with Mo's Spanish friends, Cesar and Pepe, and they took us all over showing us the Palace, Cathedral, Opera House, all kinds of monuments, parks, churches, train stations, museums, etc. We learned a lot about the city, and had a blast getting our first taste at the tapas bars as well.
Friday was spent at the Prado museum, and viewing Madrid from a rooftop terrace tapas bar, and a nice night hanging out in the courtyards and fountains at the Palacio Real. Saturday we were up early again, and headed to Segovia for the day. In Segovia we toured the Alcazar, the Cathedral and saw the Aquaducts. We ate lunch at a nice cafe next to the Aquaducts and did some souvenir shopping and then headed home to Madrid. As soon as we got back we headed to Mo's friend's house for an All-American BBQ in honor of her birthday! After that we hit a street festival.
Sunday morning (again, early) we left for Granada on a 5 and a half hour bus ride. We got there sometime in the afternoon, checked into our hostel, and hit the town. We walked all over, saw great views of the city, and even some flamenco! Then we had dinner in a cafe overlooking the Alhambra which was lit beautifully for the night. We returned to the hostel where we sat on the rooftop terrace, being serenaded by a Brazilian guitarist and watching fireworks for the closing night of the street festival we attended in Madrid the night before. Monday was Mo's birthday and we spent it shopping in Albyazin (the Arab district of Granada), visiting the Alhambra (last Moorish stronghold) and had a wonderful paella dinner at yet another cafe, and hit the hookah bar to celebrate. Then it was early to bed because we had yet another early bus ride back to Madrid.
Tuesday night Emily and I were on our own (Mo had to teach) so we hit the streets and markets to go grocery shopping, bound and determined to prepare a taco dinner. We were successful and had dinner ready for Mo when she got home! Mo had to teach Wednesday as well, so Emily and I went to the city center for some more museum touring (this time the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art). We were quite proud when we didn't get lost once. That night we went out with all of Mo's Spain friends for my last night in Spain. Thursday afternoon we all went out to lunch, and then toured the Palacio Real, and I was off to the airport. I flew to Madrid and got in around midnight, and quickly hailed a cab to the nearest hotel. Best decision I ever made. I got a great night's sleep and was so happy to not spend a 12 hour layover in the airport. I reluctantly flew home Friday afternoon, and here I am.
That was the short version... but we were very busy, and we had a lot of fun. I would go back in a heart beat! Thanks for everything Mo (and friends!) it was definitely an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
PS: I'll post some of my favorite pictures from the trip later...