Madrid, Spain; Day 1

Today started with a tough goodbye as 3 Adventurers split off from the others and headed to Madrid for the next leg of the Spanish tour.

We had originally planned to take the train but opted for a car instead. Tracy, Tiffany and Suaram picked up a brand new Citroen C3 and ventured on the highways of Spain for the 5 hour drive to Madrid. Tiffany quickly remembered how to manage a manual transmission but needed some help from Brian via text and the internet to figure out how to get it in reverse. Once that problem was solved it was full speed ahead.

A quick stop for a tasty meal brought memories of home – we ate in the San Clemente barrio (neighborhood). Suaram did a great job ordering in Spanish – our food vocabulary is coming back pretty quickly.

The drive was pretty uneventful. Except for giant black Bulls that kept appearing on the landscape. Not just one, but lots. We probably saw twice as many as we managed to grab photos of. It’s not clear how a 45 foot tall stationary Bull can sneak up on you and make it hard to get a photo, but at highway speeds that’s what happens.

Turns out – these are known as Osborne Bulls and are all over Spain. They were originally erected in the ‘50s to advertise Osborne brandy. In 1994, advertising alcohol on roadside signs was outlawed but by then the Bulls were so renowned that public outcry was huge. The compromise was to keep the Bulls and get rid of the advertising except for two in the western part of the country. The image of the Bull is apparently used widely on stickers, postcards etc. sort of like a mascot. We didn’t see any in Barcelona but we’ll plan to keep a look out in Madrid.

The day for these travelers ended with navigational challenges through the streets of Madrid, a seemingly hidden rental car return and a good reminder why renting a car for city driving is a terrible idea. Apparently it’s a lesson we need to relearn periodically. We finally settled down in the new space looking for more adventures tomorrow.

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