Sunday, August 1, 2010

Madrid y Morocco, June 2010, Part I

On May 30th, 2010, I flew to Dulles to meet my parents for the start of our latest big adventure: spending two weeks in Madrid and Al Hoceima, Morocco! This was my parents' first trip to Morocco (my dad's second to Africa--he visited Sierra Leone a couple of years ago). It, you may recall, dear readers, is the same trip I took last June and blogged about in great detail. For many reasons, this year's travel logs will not be as complete, but hopefully give you a taste of the amazing experiences we had!

Mom and Dad!
Dad and Mom!

I was so excited to return, and also a bit nervous. New people were in charge of the organization this year, there'd be a new group of volunteers, I was traveling with my parents for the first time in a while, and I had such high expectations from last year, that I hoped I wouldn't be let down. (Preview: it WAS a much different trip, but it WAS fantastic.)

My sister, Amy, who joined me last year, flew over in January to work long-term with the group. She spent a month in Fes, learning Arabic, and then was a full-time volunteer group organizer, housekeeper assistant, construction worker, and babysitter. She was having a BLAST!

After a week spent vacationing in Spain, she met us at our Hotel Coloso in Madrid. YAY AMY!!

The fam in the sweet hotel elevator:
Sweet hotel elevator

We headed immediately out to sight-see and adjust to the new timezone. Our first stop, a family necessity: Starbucks.

Heading out to sight-see:
Heading out for breakfast!

We hit up Plaza de España.

Dad, Don Quixote, and Sancho Panza:
Dad, Don Quixote, and Sancho Panza

We walked around el Palacio Real:
A sign. In Spanish.

We stood in line by the palace for a very long time, listening to an accordion player:
Super-long, super-hot line to palace

Due to standing for a long while in the heat, I think our favorite part of the Palace was the Magnums in the cafe:

...even though it IS lovely:
Mas del Palacio Real

We popped into the Plaza Mayor for cold drinks:
Plaza Mayor

And wandered back to the hotel to CRASH.

After a nap, Amy and I left the still-exhausted parentals and enjoyed a sister night on the town. We found a decent restaurant/bar for paella and sangria. My broken Spanish and the waiter's broken English resulted in 20 euros more than we meant to spend...he brought us what we thought we an extra huge plate of ham. Oh well. Also, we were surprised to find out that paella de mariscos was not only seafood paella, but UN-SHELLED SEAFOOD PAELLA. We eventually ate until we were stuffed and brought that plate of ham back to Dad. He liked it. :)

Amy, sangria, sea creatures, and me.

Not what we expected:
Not what I was expecting..

After a good night's sleep, we stopped at--OH YES--Starbucks for breakfast, took the metro to the airport, and FLEW TO AFRICA!!!

More to come. ;)

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