December 21, 1961 – Spain

Palace Hotel, Madrid, Spain – Clear, very cold

     Edith was far from better the next morning and I felt sorry for her so I ordered room service.  I had a full breakfast and coffee but all Edith wanted was toast and tea. 

Madrid Fountain near Hotel

     After we ate Edith and I joined a scheduled tour with another group.  The city was interesting and traffic wasn’t too bad although Madrid’s wide streets were a little confusing because many ran diagonally.  Ten streets branched off an oblong square called Puerto Del Sol.  All the buildings we saw were of Spanish architecture and had quite a bit of iron grill work.  We also saw many monuments that were each quite stunning.  The Gate which had 18th century Italian architecture stood in a large circle.  We spent most of our time during the tour at the private museum of Lazaro Galdiano so we could see its vast collection of paintings including many masterpieces by Francisco de Goya, Rafael, Botticelli, El Bosco, Hans Meniling, Vander Weyden, El Greco, Murillo, Alonso Cano, and many others.  Edith was particularly interested in the Velasquez masterpieces which were filled with life and action.  At the museum of fine arts there were also many cases of miniatures and a very large collection of antiquities.  One room had a priceless array of fans from several countries.

     The Royal Palace, now a museum, was furnished in a manner someone with an exotic taste would appreciate.  Entire walls were covered with tapestries.  The porcelain rooms had elaborate designs on the ceiling and elsewhere.  The throne room was less ornate but had beautiful chandeliers.  The dining room could seat 300 guests and had ancient, gorgeous ornate clocks everywhere to keep perfect time.

     When we were dropped off at our hotel, Edith and I decided we should walk to the tour office to make the final arrangements for the remainder of our trip.  However, after only walking a few blocks Edith tired out and we had to hail a taxi.  That was when we had a problem.  The taxi we got had just dropped off a man when we got in. At the tour office the meter read 90 pesos but I wondered if the driver had put it back to zero since he had just driven us a couple of blocks.  Edith handed the driver only 5 pesos so the driver started yelling at us.  I thought Edith must not have any more change so I gave him 65 pesetas which was all the change I had.  Then surprisingly Edith pulled out more money and handed it to the driver.  Finally happy the driver waived us off and we got out.  After taking care of our business we caught another taxi back to the hotel but this time it only cost us 12 pesetas.  After doing some calculating of distance versus what we were charged we figured out the previous driver had duped us.  I also discovered that I had given him $2 more than Edith had and when I mentioned it to her all she could say was, “That’s okay” which annoyed me and made me feel like I’d been duped twice.  She didn’t offer to even try to reimburse me for what I’d overpaid.

     After lunch Edith decided to go back to our room, take some medicine and go to bed to nurse her cold.  I was still a little annoyed with her so I decided to walk around by myself to see what I could see but I had forgotten that after lunch they had their siesta time.  I decided I would have to come back later because some of the shops really looked interesting.

     When I returned to the hotel and inquired at the front desk, I found they were holding two letters from Ramona and one from Anna.   I sat in the lobby, read them and enjoyed hearing from home.  I decided to write Ramona and mail it on my way out again to shop later this evening.  I figured that if I wrote Ramona now and mailed it right away the letter would get to Ventura before I did: 

Dec 21, 1961 – Madrid, Spain

Dear Ramona, Anna, Ray, Janice, David, Mike, Binky and the Cat;

     Just received your letter mailed Dec 15.  Also your letter mailed Dec 16. 

     It is real cold here this morning and there was frost all over the ground at 9am when we left the hotel.  We went on tour of the art galleries and the palace.  Saw all the collections then came back here. 

     We sure got took this morning.  Edith was late getting ready and she insisted on walking to the tour office.  Part way she got tired so we saw a taxi and she grabbed it.  The driver had just stopped to let a man out.  Well we got to the office and he pointed to the meter and it read 90 pesos.  Edith handed him 5 pesos and of course he hollered.  Well I thought Edith didn’t have change so I gave him 65 pesetas when I ran out of change.  Edith gave him something more and we got out.  90 pesetas is almost $2.  Well I should have questioned it but we were late for the time we were supposed to be at the office so I didn’t.  Coming back the same distance cost us 12 pesetas this afternoon.  It sure costs something to be stupid here.  The worst of it was I paid most of it at least $1.50 and Edith said that was okay and didn’t offer to make it up to me. 

     I am a little homesick and I’m counting the days.  So you know we will be home on the 30th, God willing.  Barcelona was a nice city – 2 million people.  Our hotel was very nice.  We had a nice flight here and this city is beautiful.  Fountains all over in both cities. 

     I am wearing 2 pair of stockings to keep my legs warm. 

     I got a letter from Anna and I will enclose the clipping she sent me.  Aunt Emma is fine and everything is okay there.  I haven’t written to Ada lately we have been so rushed. 

     Now in Madrid we have 3 days.  Our flight plans were changed.  We fly to London on the 24th instead of the 25th.  It gives us an extra day in London and we will be there Christmas Eve.  However we hear that it is very, very cold and rainy there so if our hotel is cold we will probably be frozen when we get home.  Have the car warm and the house warm and my electric blanket on please.  I hope nothing happens to change our flight plans on the 30th.  Say a prayer for me. 

     It is nearly 4pm so I’m going shopping.  We have siesta here from 1 to 4 all shops are closed – makes it very bad for tourists because as it gets later it gets colder and colder.

     Well dear I’ll be seeing you all soon – Love Mother

     Edith still didn’t want to leave the room so I made my way back to a few of the stores alone to look through them.  In one store I found perfume that was cheaper than it had been in Barcelona so I bought another small bottle of My Sin.  I thought this one might be a good present for Pat.

     When I made it back to our room it was time to eat but Edith didn’t want to go down to the dining room so we ordered room service.  We were able to get the same choices that they had on the menu downstairs.  After eating we passed a quiet evening playing cards and it was enjoyable.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: