As miserable as I feel, at least I got some sight-seeing in yesterday morning. To test my Spanish skills, I took the Metro to Central Madrid from my hotel. There was a moment or two when I questioned the logic of that decision but it all worked out. I traveled to Plaza de Espana which is within walking distance of the Spanish Senate and Palacio Real (Royal Palace) and Cathedral de Santa Maria. There is a monument to Cervantes there complete with likenesses of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Palacio Real is the largest palace in all of Western Europe. I was able to tour the Palace which is amazing – room after room of marble floors, guilded mouldings, art treasures and beautiful frescos. There is a formal dining room that would comfortably seat 75 people at one table! The Spanish Royalty really knew how to live.
Today it’s back to work; touring El Corte Ingles stores. We’re installing at Alcala Henares tonight and we needec to meet with the site supervisor and store manager. Then on to El Corte Princessa and Castellana. We’re replacing existing Liz Clairborne shops with new Jones New York shops in about 145 locations. I’ve once again become the official interpreter – Stuart is from England and speaks no Spanish (He speaks ‘English’ English and sometimes I could use an interpreter for him). I’ve gotten quite good at saying, “Perdon, donde esta Liz Clairborne?” I then usually wait for the person to point because their instructions in Espanol are often more than I can comprehend/translate. Tomorrow we’ll return to Alcala and possibly visit the warehouse in Toledo. Thursday we’ll take the train to Alicante. In the meantime I’m still searching for a Farmacia that will sell me an antihistamine.
I’m really trying to be grateful for this experience. Most people I know will probably never get to travel to Spain, but right now I’d just like my nose to stop running and to find something to eat that doesn’t have an egg on top of it. I think things will be better after my siesta.