Madrid, Spain (Aug. 15 & 16, 2014)
The BYU women’s basketball team arrived in Madrid, Spain at 9 a.m., on Saturday, Aug. 16. The Cougars flew from Salt Lake International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport, then onto Madrid.
A bus took the group from the airport to the hotel. Once the luggage was left in a secure room, the group went on a walk to a market for a sampling of Spanish food. Two tour guides met us there and took us on an hour and half walking tour through parts of Madrid.
Then it was off to practice at the multipurpose gym of the Polideportivo Municipal de Torrelodones basketball club, the team the Cougars play on Monday evening.
Here’s more from Kristine Fuller and Xojian Harry on our travel day and first full day in Madrid.
What was the flight/travel getting to Spain like?
The two flights were long but luckily no delays and our six-hour flight to Madrid had individual TV’s. It was really weird leaving early Friday and arriving Saturday morning.
Did you meet any interesting people on the plane?
I sat next to teammates both times. We laughed a lot and played games. Monopoly Deal is the game of choice.
What did you do to occupy your time on the plane to NYC and then on to Madrid?
In NYC tried connecting to WiFi to watch Netflix, but it didn’t work, so ended up watching Bourne Supremacy and playing Monopoly Deal. On the flight to Madrid I watched two movies—Draft Day and Moulin Rouge. I sang along to Moulin Rouge, slept a lot and Ashley and I had a competition to see who can keep a spoon on one’s nose the longest. All of us slept, watched movies and snacked a lot.
Did you meet our tour guides? What are they like?
We have two tour guides – Brooke and Corey. Both are great! We got to take a two-hour walking tour around Madrid. We’ve had two different buses and drivers so far. The drivers are nice and the buses are smooth and clean.
What are you most looking forward to doing/seeing while in Spain?
I’m looking forward to trying new food!
What was the first thing you saw/noticed when we arrived in Madrid?
The first thing we saw was a big cemetery with thousands of tombstones and that was really cool. We also noticed as soon as we got off the plane there were a lot of weird smells.
What was the weather like?
At first the weather was a bit chilly, but then it got really hot, really fast.
What’s the hotel like?
The hotel is really small in comparison to U.S., hotels. There are two beds in the rooms but they are twin size and are really close together. We had a few struggles trying to figure out how to turn on the lights and the shower. Also, we found out that the drinks are not served cold and the showers aren’t exactly hot.
What places did you get to see on Saturday in Madrid?
We walked around the heart of Madrid and saw the restaurant Sobrino de Botin Horno de Asar, which is the oldest restaurant in the world. We went to El Mercado de San Miguel, which is a food market where you can get a variety of food, fruits, pastries and drinks. We saw a convent on Calle del Codo, which means Elbow Street.
What were your impressions of Madrid after a full day in the city?
It has sort of a small town feel. There are some really beautiful buildings with gorgeous architecture. It is kind of sad though because a lot of the buildings have graffiti all over them.
Did you get to meet or see anyone interesting?
We saw two men run out of a McDonald’s with big bags over their shoulders and they got chased by the police. We also saw a middle-aged couple fighting and the wife was smacking her husband and he was trying to run away pushing his cart.
Was it hard to communicate with the Spanish people?
For the most part, a lot of the Spanish people knew English, so communicating wasn't too bad.
What was the first Spanish food you ate? Was it hard to order/communicate with waiter/waitress?
The first Spanish food I ate was rice and chorizo tapas. It wasn’t hard to communicate with the lady at the market because she knew Spanish. At our evening dinner, they brought us steaks that were seared on each side and raw in the middle. We were all confused and then they brought out hot plates to cook the meat to our liking. It was cool and delicious. The steaks came with French fries. The restaurant was called Fatigas del Querer and it was a short walk from our hotel.
Tell us anything else about the day?
Today was kind of hard for all of us because of the jetlag and fatigue we had to deal with. Everyone was exhausted on our walking tour but after practice everyone felt a lot better. We will all definitely sleep well tonight.
Did you do any shopping? Get any souvenirs?
We didn’t get to do any shopping today, but we saw a few little shops that we want to stop by to look around in when we have a chance.