May 14, 2023 Happy Anniversary!!

Seem astonishing that 18 years ago we were married at OLBS in Depew, NY.   And the laughter has not ended. Kathy is not sure if Dave is laughing at her or with her, but laughter it is. Our last day in Spain was fairly low key.  We started with breakfast, which was included with our hotel stay, but which we had to walk outside and down 2 streets to get to.  We started off with the largest piece of toast Dave has ever seen (which created a lively discussion on the size of the toaster). The “peach” jam was really strawberry jam and Dave is convinced he can become a menu translator for the city of Madrid. Last night’s dinner of a “steak” salad was really grilled chicken with fresh tomatoes.  Kathy’s dinner of a tomato salad was exactly as expected or mostly as it was shaped into a tower and was perched delicately on top of the plate. (We wish we could have gotten pictures, but it was kind of a hoity-toity restaurant and they already looked askance at our orders. We are pretty sure they were happy to see the last of us!)

After breakfast we headed off to wander the streets of Madrid and find a place where we could attend mass. Stopping at the Cathedral, Dave lamented the fact that we had missed the 11 am mass by just a few minutes.  Looking confused, Kathy advised him that it only 10:17. Dave’s watch, a new one, updated the time by an hour later.  It also recognized we were in Spain and started showing the day of the week in Spanish. Instead of saying Sunday, it said Domingo.  Rectifying the pesky “smart” watch, we strolled around the outside of the cathedral and went into the adjoining “Crypt”, which is where the 11 am mass was held.  We wandered around looking at the displays before finding our seat and waiting for the service to begin. Like always, it was a beautiful reminder of how we are really similar across the world when we go into to practice our faith. In any language we can follow the traditional rituals of the mass and feel that connection to our faith, community, and the people with whom we worship no matter where in the world we are.

After mass, we hoofed it down to a beautiful garden that we had spied from the top patio area of the cathedral. Determined to find the entrance, we wandered down until we reached the beautiful gardens that were adorned with a variety of flowers, trees, and flowering bushes. Deciding we were feeling a tad bit parched we decided to find something to eat.  Lunch (or what ended up being lunch) was really a Black and Mango ice-cream cone for Dave and apple pie ala mode for Kathy. Dave’s Black & Mango ice-cream had the added benefit of turning his tongue black and the end tips of his mustache a tad bit darker than the upper part.  Truly feeling a bit Spanish at this point, they went back to the hotel where Dave took a siesta and Kathy just chilled listening to her book. No work today for either of them.

Nap time over, we again explored the area around Madrid. Puerto Del Sol, where the President’s Residence is located (similar to the square in front of the White House), is a bustling area where, like Washington, DC, protestors abound. Trying to figure out what they were protesting at any given moment was interesting. There abound multitudes of street performers who hope for change from the passing hordes who bustle in the square. Deciding on dinner we picked “Mel’s Diner” an American themed diner, hoping for something that was not fish, sausage, or ham and we both got lucky. Kathy had a Chicken Caesar Salad (which was perfect).  Dave had a chicken sandwich (which wasn’t as perfect, no bun – just slices of toasted bread) but, hey, the fries were good. Most importantly – the strawberry milkshake was perfect and a great compliment to end our last dinner in Madrid. A simple anniversary dinner, but since Dave bought Kathy a hotdog from a convenience store their first week of marriage as dinner, this was a step up!!  The highlight of the dinner for Dave was the “50’s music” they played to keep up the theme of a ‘50s diner.  None of the songs really reminded him of the ‘50s classics, but he really liked it when they played a song from the movie, “The Blues Brothers” with Dan Akroyd and Jim Belushi.  Kathy was sure we were the only two people in the area that had ever seen the movie.

Wandering around again, we gawked at the many passersby as the square was a perfect place to people watch. Seeing a guy in mint green bell bottom leather pants gave Dave the giggles as it reminded him of a classic episode from the TV show “Friends”. We saw many men and women wearing their traditional formal outfits wandering the square as people requested photos of them – they seemed always happy to oblige.  Deciding to end the night quietly they traipsed back to the hotel in a light rain to watch a movie on Netflix and get ready for the flight home tomorrow. Monday mornings here, like everywhere, come quickly.

The night though did not end so quietly, though.  Kathy stepped into the shower and discovered that the mechanics of the shower were too complicated. Periodically she would open the door and get instructions from Dave. Finally getting the shower to start up, it promptly sprayed water straight out into the entire bathroom, soaking everything in its path, including toilet paper. Just to provide some context there are no shower doors, no shower curtain, and one complicated shower that is not what it seems. Dave laughed so hard when Kathy opened the door and shrieked asking what she did wrong.  In between his hearty bouts of laughter, he provided some instructions to get the shower to spray down instead of out!

Kathy is excited to go home, take a bath, drink coffee that is not a consistency of mud, and eat food that she recognized and might not be tainted with shellfish.  We are checked in and ready to head home. Happy Mother’s Day to all our friends and family far away! Know that we are thinking of you and miss you all.

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