Friday, May 11, 2012

Ole Spain

I arrived in Madrid this morning. The flight seemed to go by way too quick. There wasn’t enough time to sleep after I watched the movie Warhorse. As a result I ended up being very tired this afternoon and took a little siesta after a trip to the Archivo Historico Nacional. I kept nodding off but not too noticeably because no one said anything.  The people there were very helpful and friendly to me who didn’t know what she was doing as far as using the archive’s facilities and ordering records to look at.

The flight was relatively uneventful. We got to see the Space Shuttle parked at the airport at JFK in New York. That was really cool. I can’t believe they’re not going to send up any more space shuttles. I posted a picture of it on Facebook and for some odd reason I got really emotional about the whole thing. I’m weird but I have been getting by on little sleep and have been pretty emotional the last few weeks.

The other thing that happened last night on the transatlantic flight was that the crew made an announcement asking if there was a doctor or nurse on board who could come back to the back of the plane. I’m not sure what was going on but it created quite a stir. The good news is there was no ambulance or medical waiting for us when we landed and so I guess the person turned out to be okay.

I debated about going to the Archivo Historic Nacional today in Madrid. I had time before I could check in to my hotel but I didn’t have any place to change and so I went in my traveling clothes – a pair of jeans and a summery top. No one said anything to me and most of the people at the archive were dressed similarly including employees and so I guess it was no big deal. While there I looked at ordenes militares for a man with the surname Ripa. The records were fascinating. I had a really hard time reading the hand written ones on the oldest documents but the ones that had been filmed were easy to read. The documents gave his genealogy and baptism, marriage, and testament records of his ancestors for 3 generations. I wish all Spanish men were inducted in the Orden de Santiago so they would have these records. I also read a little bit about the organization o inquisition records. I wish I could have made copies of the articles I looked at for further study. I hope that I can find them at the FHL or online when I get back home.

In my rush to get to the archive I took a chance on a parking spot and it cost me big time. 90 Euros!! I’m not sure how to pay it but I guess I can talk to someone tomorrow to get some help to figure it out.

Getting to my hostal in Barajas was a bit of a hassle. The GPS couldn’t find the address. From now on I will check the map before I take off to make sure it can find it or I will have to pull up a map on my phone like I did today to figure out where to tell it to go. At first it looked like the AC and the fridge weren’t working but they seem to be fine now.

Driving in Madrid was the exciting challenge it always is!!

It has been fun to walk around the neighborhood. It feels like I’m in a small town in Spain and not in a burb on the outskirts of Madrid. I walked to the grocery store and around the plaza. I even had a salad for dinner out at a sidewalk café. I love Spain. While I was walking around I saw old men playing dominoes and families taking their children to the park. I saw groups of men and women meeting for drinks and tapas at the sidewalk cafes. It was interesting to watch the reaction of a group of men in their 30s or 40s when 2 very attractive young women walked by. Every head turned and stared. All conversation came to a halt. I saw very few people walking around with their cell phones in hand checking for texts and Facebook updates. I love that about Spain.