I recently attended a business conference in Stockholm, Sweden. I had never been to Stockholm before. Neither had my wife, and since the trip overlapped our wedding anniversary, she decided to come with me. I extended my trip a couple of days once the conference was over so we could explore the city of Stockholm, often called “the Capital of Scandinavia”.
I HATE Cruises
I’m not a fan of the concept of an ocean cruise. It goes against my idea about what travel is about. In my mind, travel is about going to different places, interacting with people, and experiencing things unique to that location. The thought of being packed in a huge ship with 5000 of my fellow citizens, surrounded 80% of the time by the same view (water, lots of water; as far as the eye can see), was enough to send an introvert like me screaming into the abyss. In addition, I also worry about that one “Typhoid Mary” passenger or crew member who can turn the whole voyage into “Nightmare on the S.S. Rotavirus”.
While I tried to post something about each of our days in Spain, I thought it might be worth summarizing our trip with an overall impression of the country. So after talking with DJ, here are a few of things that stood out to us during our time there.
For our last full day in Spain, we had no tours scheduled. Usually when we travel, we don’t make a lot of plans. That allows us to factor in environmental elements like the weather, events, etc. as they occur. Having seen most of the sights we wanted to see in Madrid, we decided to just do a “walk-about”. And the first place we headed was across the street from the hotel, El Retiro Park.
We are nearing the end of our time in Spain, just a couple of days left on our trip. My Missus is getting a little depressed at the thought of having to go back to the “real world”. We have one more tour left on our itinerary: a trip to Toledo. It is about a 50 mile trip from Madrid to the former capital city of Spain, so we have to get an early 9:30 am start. Typically, that is not late, but we still dragging from the flamenco show the night before. Anyway, we met our personal guide Rossana, our driver Juan, and we headed out.
With no tours scheduled and only dinner/show at night, we had the day to ourselves. Our legs were feeling a little worn out after a couple of weeks marching through Spain. So we planned a light day since we knew we had a long tour to Toledo scheduled for the next morning. We slept in an extra hour to rest our weary legs. Then after a late breakfast and a couple of cups of strong Spanish coffee (the only type the Spanish make!), we set off for Palacio Real de Madrid, the Royal Palace of Madrid.