It was our second weekend in Madrid and Trey and I were ready to see the city...other than the inside of an alimentacion, grocery, and the IT department store Cortes Ingles. My employer's husband recommended to surprise Trey with tickets to tour Santiago Bernabéu Stadium when I explained Trey's love for Fútbol, with Father's day that weekend I thought what a great idea. Cashman and I got online that afternoon to book the surprise for Trey. When I told Trey Sat. evening what we had planned for Sunday he was estatic. He stayed up late reading facts about the stadium, he had to mentally prepare of course. We arrived to the stadium around 11am and there were thousands of people waiting to enter through one gate Tower C. Our tickets said to enter at Tower B, much to our dismay there wasn't a line at this gate and we immediately thought maybe I had booked the wrong thing. We follow directions and when we got to the gate the attendant told us to come back at 4 pm. I couldn't understand why because she was letting others enter, so I continued to wave my ticket in the air repeating myself with over and over the few Spanish words I knew... Proque? When a lady behind me finally said in English, "Mam she is trying to tell you that if you come back at 4 you can take the full tour you paid for. If you enter now because there is a special event here today you wouldn't be able to tour the entire stadium." I thanked the lady and apologize to the ticket lady for turning on my manager voice.
Trey asked what we wanted to do until then and I suggested us to check out the Central Park of Madrid, Parque Del Retiro. As we entered the park we noticed all of the people from all over the world in one place to enjoy nature and be active. It was instantaneously a hit for Trey and I. There were people biking, boating, roller blading, walking, running, jumping. The energy was vibrant, full of life, and contagious. We walked past this beautiful exhibit that demonstrated the world's sustainability, resources, and ways of life to make us more self aware of our planet. It was refreshing and really made us appreciate where we were at that very moment. We continued to walk through the park and discover some incredible statues, art, and sculptures. However, we hardly even scratched the surface of this very large park. We made it to center of the park and the main lake. Here couples, and families could rent out a boat to cruise around the lake. It looked like fun but we decided another day as we were getting a bit hungry.
Trey was on a mission to find us some good grub! He came across some good reviews and found this great little jazz dinner called Cafe Central. During lunch they had a set 3 course meal for next to nothing. Lunch in Spain is typically severed liked this at restaurants. Your meal included a salad, entrée, dessert, an acholic beverage and bread. I selected the calamari and Trey had short ribs. The meal was fantastic,hearty, and we managed our way into yet another food coma here in Madrid! As many of you know, Trey and I being the foodies we are, we couldnt have picked a better country for incredible cuisine. The freshness, flavors, and very low prices is a foodies dream come true. We will be blogging alot about food and the places we dine so get ready!
It was time to head back to the stadium for our tour. When we walked in they scanned our ticket and we walked to the top of the stadium straight away. We went around and around and made it tog the top...stepped out onto the stairs and gazed onto the world's most winningest Stadium. It was remarkable. I have been to professional stadiums before but this was one of the largest and most pristine I had ever seen. I look over at Trey and he was grinning from ear to ear and sighed with disbelief we were actually there taking it all in.
The next part of the tour was the trophy room, more or less an entire floor of the Stadium. It was truly unbelievable. As you walked into the blacked out room with the wall lit cases, the music, and auto of the fans cheering while the country anthem played in the background sent chill down my spine and arms. It was remarkable that one team over the course of so many centuries had been so successful year after year. It also made me think back on how it feels to give your all to a sport and how great it feels to be apart or a team...and Real Madrid is more than a team they are legends.
We then entered the museum portion displaying Jerseys and interactive touch screens that played on the walls of moments recorded, newspaper clippings, and highlighted games. There was a 3 dimensional wall with life size images of each player and there information and stats as they moved around juggling the ball. As the tour progressed it remained captivating with its state of the art technology.
Next, it was time for us to hit ground level. We entered through the back entrance into the locker rooms. It was pretty surreal for Trey. For me I was excited to sit on the bench where Christiano Ronaldo sits his sexy little behind as he gets ready to take the field. You see where my mind is at right... We approached the gate to where the players take the field and exited onto the field. As we looked up at the 82,000 seat arena I could not fathom how the players feel as they walk out onto that field, with not a seat remaining vacent in the entire house. After I came back to reality I noticed Trey wasn't beside be anymore. I turned around and there was Trey sitting in the dug out on one of the most expensive benches I have ever seen, swing his legs like the children were in the seats next to him. Each player had a state of the art leather chair. There was a large overhang to keep any sun off the players and keep them cool. I turned to Trey and said, '" I hated sitting the bench, but if I could I would sit this bench everyday gladly." He responded, "Me too and the pay check to sit this bench wouldn't be so bad either!" After sitting on the bench Trey and I began to get thirsty after all it was dry heat of 97 degrees.
It was time for us to find a drink and I was told about a bar inside the stadium from my employers parents. As we walked on our tour I was trying to see what bar they were talking about. Well there was only one bar I noticed that had a green terrace, overlooking the field. It was very swanky, and the music playing we could hear had a good beat as we looked up at the luscious bar from the bench. I told Trey that's where we were going!!! He said that looks for VIPS only. I didn't care I was going g to figure out how to get in. I asked one of the guards how to get there and one pretended he didn't know what I was talking about and the other told me by tower B where we entered there was an entrance. We thought hey we are here might as well try. The bouncer at the door took one look at us and marked us a tourist instantly. I wonder why...could it have been the large camera around my neck...no surely not. He turned us away and I noticed several people were just walking in. I turned to Trey and said we should just walk in like we know what were doing. The bouncer looked at my camera again and pointed. A young gentleman was walking in and asked if there was a problem in English. We told him we just wanted to have a drink at that bar. He said, " Oh okay no problem come on in. This is a private event the medical university throws every Sunday the bouncer just thought you were tourist and wanting to take pictures." He told the bouncer we were with him and asked that we not take pictures. We again walked into the grand Santiago Bernabéu this time in style. Trey ordered a gin and tonic and I a vodka and tonic. We sat in these oversized round chairs overlooking the field. We discussed our beautiful day and the incredibly posh bar we were in, all the while we listen to a DJ spin electronic music. It was a dream come true and quite a special experience for the both of us. Although we plan to attend a game at Santiago we will never see it the way we we saw it that day, for the first time and of course VIP treatment was an extra bonus!