April 23, 2015: Madrid Office

Alarm went off at nine this morning.  Sleeping on the couch turned out to not be all that bad.  It was very stiff and it has been a long time, now, since I used to sleep on the floor but it still did not bother me at all.  The pillow might as well have not existed and that meant that my head was a bit low but that was really the only issue.

I got u and showered and left for the office.  I had to get Dominica up so that I could leave her with the apartment keys while I was at work all day.

The walk to the office only takes a few minutes, which is really nice.  I got there probably around ten.  It is a very nice day here in Madrid.  The sun is out but it is not too warm.

Had a nice morning in the office.  Got a tour and introduced to everyone.  Then after about an hour I got set up with a spot to work in the common room as there was no spare desk available for me.  The office is so packed that several people have to work without desks regularly.

Dominica and the girls had been planning on coming to the office shortly after I went there this morning to get a tour and introduced to people but they slept in and then the girls were both very engaged in playing ABCMouse on their iPads so Dominica decided that it would make the most sense to hold them back at the apartment so that they could get some quiet time and educational time.

At two the whole team in the office went out for lunch to a really nice seafood place not far from the office.  We had a really nice time and it was good to get a chance to casually sit down and spend time getting to know everyone.  There was one other person visiting from the San Francisco office too.

I had fish tacos for lunch, which are nothing like tacos in the New World.  It was much more fried fish bites.  So weird how the words vary between the regions.  We had some amazing tapas to share before we started too including some of the best patatas bravas that I have had yet and a tuna salad (real salad, with tuna, not the tuna with mayonnaise thing that we call tuna salad.)  It was really nice having wine with lunch as a normal thing that everyone at the office did.  And very nice that we did shots after lunch!  That’s less common even in Spain, I assume.

Back in the office for the afternoon.  As soon as we were back from lunch, Dominica and the girls walked down from the apartment and came up to meet everyone and get a look at the office.  Dominica got some coffee there with me.  The girls probably spent about half an hour at the office.

The girls went out for pizza and cupcakes and took the food back to the apartment and spent the afternoon happily playing ABCMouse again.

After work I went back to the apartment and dropped off my bag.  Then we all set out for a walk to go find some dinner.  It was around six when I got back to the apartment, so on the early side for dinner but we wanted to do some exploring no the way.

Today, I learned at lunch, is Saint George’s (San Jorge) Day and that means the day of books here in Spain.  So all of the booksellers all over the city have the streets full of books that are on discount.  It is apparently a lot like St. Valentine’s Day in the U.S.  A very big deal here.  I had been wondering about the extreme number of books for sale all over the place.

So we started walking north on Fuencarrel and did about a mile when we came upon some playgrounds in the middle of a large pedestrian area.  The girls are always looking for playgrounds so even though these were small and designed for very little kids we found a bench to sit on and let them play, probably for an hour at least.  It was a playground that we think that we might remember having seen in Madrid in 2012, the last time that we were here.  Hard to believe that we would have chosen the same road again!

The girls had a grand time on the playground.  It was pretty busy when we first arrived but quickly went down to just a few kids as the evening wore on.  There was one little three year old boy that played with them a lot.  They had a great time playing with him.  The three of them kept trying to go down a small slide together and would pile up on top of each other at the bottom.  They were hilarious.

The little boy’s mother and grandfather ended up hanging out with us for quite a while.  She spoke a little English but he spoke a lot, having been special forces stationed in the US at Fort Bragg.  We had a very nice time.

From there we walked a little farther north and took the girls to a place called VIPS which is an American style and themed diner that I had discovered as I walked past it last night.  I was hopeful that they would have pancakes and other “comfort” food that the girls have been craving.  The place looked, from the windows, much like a high class Denny’s or maybe a Perkins and was very big and I knew that they were open very late or possibly twenty four hours.

We got to the diner and thankfully they really did have pancakes!  Luciana got those, with strawberry syrup as they did not have breakfast syrup, golden syrup or maple syrup, and Dominica and I both got “California” sandwiches which ended up being both very healthy and super tasty.  The French fries at this place were really good too.  All of the food, with the exception of the syrup options, was extremely American in selection and style and was a nice change of pace after an entire month of having nothing like that.  The water was tap and not bottled too!  I am pretty sure that this is the first tap water in a restaurant that we have had since arriving in Spain!  Liesl opted to just have onion rings.

Dinner was very good and we were quite happy by the choice.  We know that we will not have an experience like that again for quite some time.  One of the big things about being in Madrid is that the “traditional” food in Madrid is not traditional Spanish food but big restaurants with a lot of variety.  So eating American here isn’t as non-Madridian as you might think (and tomorrow I would actually have someone recommend eating at VIPS as a Spanish restaurant not realizing that it was American fare!)

After dinner we walked south and stopped at one of the other small playgrounds and let the girls burn off some of their dinner.  While they did that I explored one of the book stores that was open late for the holiday.  I really wanted to get “Don Quijote” in Spanish but could not find a copy anywhere.

Back to the apartment.  It was pretty late.  It took a little bit but we finally got everyone off to bed.  Luciana decided to sleep with Dominica in the bed tonight.  Liesl and I shared the couch.  I have to be in the office before nine thirty tomorrow morning so do not want to be up too late tonight and we already walked a bit today so I decided not to go out for extra walking tonight.  Tomorrow is going to be a long day.