Yesterday I sent my kids an email with the website links to the hostal we're now at in Madrid and to the one we'll be staying at in Barcelona. I added that we didn't yet know where we'd be staying when we returned to Madrid on Saturday but that we'd let them know as soon as we had a place.
As soon as I'd sent the email it hit me: Geez-oh-petes, who at Tom's and my age plans on arriving in a foreign city in four days without yet knowing where they're going to stay?! It must be our left-over Camino mentality: you look for your lodgings when you come dragging into your town at the end of the day.
But of course we won't be pilgrims arriving in a Camino village, we'll be tourists arriving in Madrid and, as we learned to our dismay when we finally started looking for accommodations, our return date of October 31 is the worst night of the year to try and find a hostel or hotel room in Madrid.
This I found out when I went to the reception desk at our hostel and tried to book a room for our return and was told that the hostel was completely booked the whole weekend of October 31 because of Halloween. Apparently people pour into Madrid to celebrate Halloween and Puerta del Sol, the area where we were,
....is an especially popular area for Halloween partying.
The helpful hospitaliera at the reception desk called two other hostels in the area to see if she could find a room for us but both places were filled.
We then commenced walking around touristy Puerta del Sol inquiring at every hostel and hotel we passed if they had a room available for October 31 and November 1. Everything was completo. We came back to our hostel room and I looked on Booking.com for a reasonably priced room anywhere in Madrid and was informed by a pop-up message on the site that there was low availability in Madrid on the dates I was requesting.and the message suggested that I change my booking dates.
I've come to the conclusion that trying to find a hotel room in Madrid on Halloween is like trying to find a hotel room in New York City on New Years' Eve. You can't start looking four days before.
Long story short: I spent a long time on Booking.com abut did eventually manage to find us a room on Halloween night in Madrid, a hostel that appears from our city map to be half a dozen blocks from Puerta del Sol.
Now we two non-party animals are wondering what it's going to be like spending Halloween night in Madrid.
Which is at the moment a lovely city.
Puerta del Sol
Museum of the History of Madrid
A street scene that reminded me of Michigan Avenue in Chicago,
Parque del Retiro
Gran Via, which also kind of reminded me of Chicago.
The Centra de Arte Reina Sofia, which we loved, full of contemporary and political art.
...And the awesome, crowded little restaurant back in Puerta del Sol where we fininshed the day with a pizza,
....oh yes, and some doughnuts.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
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