The flight from Malta to Madrid could have been the worst family flying experience (which it wasn’t), and still wouldn’t have chased the smile away from my face. All I could compare it to is more than two weeks non-stop at sea in rather unpleasant weather, with no viable escape route. This would have been the alternative to a three hour flight. Crazy!
Let me avoid misunderstandings. Although we are selling Happy Dancer, we still love sailing. But long passages have never been our favourite. What we loved most about cruising life is what we are taking with us to land: Travelling. Seeing new places. Shacking hands with old ones. Meeting old and new friends. Tasting different cultures. Enjoying various foods. Immersing ourselves in other cultures. Smelling smells you’ve never been able to imagine before. Experiencingthe unexpected. Seeing crazy stuff. You get the gist.
The few days in Madrid were fabulous. For me they brought back many treasured memories from when I went to high-school here. Walking down memory lane, remembering botellones in many of Spain’s finest plazas, seeing old friends again whose hugs still feel the same like when we were 14, watching the turtles at Attocha (the world’s most lush train station), hanging out in tapas bars hours on end, seeing friendly smiling people EVERYWHERE. Honestly, Spain must be one of my very favourite countries in the world.
I also discovered some new places thanks to family preferences: The naval museum which fascinated Pablo with the first ever map drawn of the Americas, more than 1000 years old (!) and the beautiful newly designed river walk by the Manzanares by which we found the cutest appartment with river views, sunrise on the balcony and everything we could ask for to come back to and relax after long days of exploring down town, marveling at the Plaza Mayor, enjoying churros in the oldest Chocolateria in town and, of course, Spanish food in the local bars.
Tomorrow we continue our journey, past castles, manchego tours, old town squares and the world’s finest olive oil to sun-kissed Andalucia where we’ll spend a wonderful week with friends who’ve flown in all the way from Australia. My heart already beats faster just by the thought of it. Farewell’s are not my thing – but they most often than not do have the inevitable advantage of retrouvailles which not many things can beat in this world.
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us!