Our second day in Madrid and we woke up to pouring rain. After breakfast we would be boarding the coach to do a scenic drive around Madrid. Unfortunately we couldn’t see much as the rain pelted down. I tried to take photos but it was mostly rain on the coach window.
Sorry the picture is a bit green/blue its the window on the coach.
Our coach then pulled up outside the Real Fabrida de Tapices or The Royal Tapestry Factory on 2 Calle Fuenterrabia. Funny how once the coach pulled up and we all got off the rain stopped!
The Real Fabrida de Tapices was founded in the year 1721 over 300 years of experience in the production and restoration of rugs, tapestries and the coat of arms. It was fascinating watching them weave and restore the rugs. Unfortunately I had to leave and wait in the waiting room as the temperature in the rooms and the smell of the thread made me feel unable to breathe.
No photos were allowed in the Real Fabrida de Tapices either so check out the link I put below.
Here is a link to the Royal Tapestry Factory to learn and see more.
Our coach dropped us back at the hotel and we went and had cuppa and something to eat in the cafe of the hotel.
Then it was time to go to our Master Flamenco Class.
A whole hour of learning the basics of Flamenco. A lot of stomping and clapping it certainly was a workout. Those of us who attended voted it one of the best things we had done.
If you can learn to dance the Flamenco I highly recommend it.
The foundation was created in the year 2000 and is located right in the heart of Madrid. Its in the same building as the Casa Patas ‘tablao’ Flamenco restaurant.
The centre has many different activities, Flamenco classes, conferences and master classes. Its a way of learning the art of Flamenco along with the unique form of Spanish cultural heritage.
Arriving back at our hotel room we had a lovely surprise waiting for us. A beautiful spread of fruit and a lovely bottle of Spanish wine from hotel management. Rang our friends Sarah and Peter to see if they would love to come. Peter was resting so Sarah came down to our room and we enjoyed the wine and fruit. Sarah opened the bottle for us. Im not very good at getting corks out of wine bottles preferring the screw cap.
This was a “Sorry” for assuming that one of us was a male. I was listed as Mr! Our guide said that a lot of places in Spain and Portugal were still old fashioned and 2 females or males sharing a room was frowned on. I had spoken to the guide about it. She complained to management. She was going back to Barcelona the next morning and wanted brownie points. Mind you she – our guide thought we were a couple back in Lisbon on our first night. She who will remain anonymous didn’t even learn our names on the 11 days of our land tour. There were only 22 of us! On the cruise we had 94 and all the staff knew our names, what we liked to eat. I would sit down in the restaurant and the waiter which was different depending on where you sat knew I was gluten free, fish free and peanut free. If they can do that surely she could have also.
As it was to be some of the groups last night we all went out to dinner together. One of the group had found a restaurant close by that also did gluten free. So nice to have others looking out for you.
The restaurant was great. When I ordered I was given a placemat that had the coeliac sign all over it. Also my own tomato sauce sachets. I ordered a toasted sandwich and wine. Love how you can get wine and beer anywhere in Europe. I suppose it was more of a fancy fast food restaurant than a al la carte restaurant. The food was delicious and the wine went down well.
Luckily the place wasnt too far away and the hotel had plenty of umbrellas. Some of our group were flying out the next morning and due to a strike at the Madrid Airport of baggage handlers they had to leave 3 hours earlier. Poor things had to be ready to be taken to the airport by 3 am.
On our last day we decided we would walk around Madrid. Some were taking the Hop on Hop Buses. In hindsight we probably should have also. The rain wasnt letting up. The underground passes for the busy roads were closed due to the heavy rain. We also found out that Madrid was on high alert for Terriost Attacks. Another reason they were closed.
We walked up to the main square then back to the hotel. I had googled a cafe that was solely gluten free and according to google it was only 10 mins away. So off we went in the rain just so I could have something sweet and sickly and gluten free. We finally found it! I think it took us more than 10 mins. This was due to the under crossings being closed and having to navigate the busy roads.
Then decisions on what to buy. When they asked me, of course I said the whole shop thanks. haha. Finally both Muriel and I decided on what we were going to eat. We would take them back to the hotel and have afternoon tea.
On the way back I was busy clicking the camera and not really watching what was going on. Suddenly a huge wall of water came over me. A huge truck had come hurtling past and the wave of water was over me. Yes that would have looked funny I know. I was soaked through. Muriel was behind me and managed to avoid most of it.
Got back to the hotel and changed clothes and hung my wet ones over the railing between the bedroom and the “living room. I forgot to say we had 3 rooms in this hotel. Bathroom, bedroom and living room. It was a lovely room. Our friends who had to use walking aids their room was a pokey room with hardly any space. Ours wasnt suitable as it had steps down to the living room.
We enjoyed those cakes and our cuppa while watching some Spanish TV shows. It may have been Australian My Kitchen Rules!
Dinner would be back at the same restaurant, nPice and close to the hotel.
Next morning we also would be leaving early due to the strikes. A wake up call at 3am and about 15 minutes later a picnic pack of food. I was getting a gluten free pack. Do you know how hard it is to eat at that time in the morning. Juice, yoghurt, fruit and a roll with Spanish meat.
Our coach would be picking us up at 4am.
We arrived at the airport at 5am, no traffic at that time in the morning and as it was early we went through customs quickly. Our flight wasnt leaving till 9.
We wandered around the airport found a place that was open so we could have a cup of tea and waited for the flight to board. We would be flying Luftansa to Frankfurt then Singapore Airlines to Singapore and then Muriel would board to head to Perth and I would board to head to Melbourne.
Our flight was late leaving so by the time we go to Frankfurt we had to race through customs etc and we just made our flight. Once in Singapore flights were delayed due to lightning strikes as ground crew were not allowed to load the planes. Eventually we could both go to our boarding gates. We said goodbye as we went our different ways. Who knew I wouldn’t be seeing my sisters this year. Hopefully next year.
My flight was still delayed and I went to Hudson’s to get a coffee. Bumped into some Aussies who had been on the cruise on the Douro. They had hired a camper van and traveled around just the two of them. I remember seeing them on the cruise but we were never in the same groups. So we sat and chatted till we boarded.
I don’t know what it is but every time we travel there is always something. Our first trip in 2016 we had flight delays of 6 hours. The second time I did my left knee on the flight home.
Its funny writing this some 16 months later since our trip. I have had times where I just don’t want to write and others the words are running through my head at a million times a second.
What a wonderful few weeks we had in Portugal and Spain. The people are so friendly and the country is breathtaking. So much history abounds every nook and cranny and one day hopefully we can go back there.
If you can visit Portugal and Spain please do. Such amazing culture, the customs, the food and above everything else the people.
As a child I used to think that once I had been a gypsy. Perhaps in another life I had been living in Spain in the mountain caves.
Maybe thats an another story!