Initially Madrid seemed to be business as usual. After checking into our penthouse three bedroom, three balcony Airbnb we did our usual grocery store restocking of a new home and had dinner very nearby.
The morning of the 11th we did our usual exploratory run.
We encountered a number of tour groups on this outing and everything seemed to be open. The morning of the 12th we spent ingesting the news about the US closing its borders to Europe for 30 days and FaceTiming with our friends Brian Gerhardson and John Shade who are in Barcelona for the marathon which was cancelled after they had already arrived in Europe. They are scrambling to find a flight home.
Friday afternoon we take a taxi to Puerta de Atocha to catch the train to Barcelona. The taxi driver was bemoaning the state of the economy and discussing the politics of Spain and the US in very fractured English/Spanish. Jim was able to interpret most of what he was saying and reply.
We disinfect our seats and tables before taking ownership of our seats and also cleaning our hands. There were only three other people in our coach and the staff who served us lunch were all wearing gloves. The train was nonstop at 300km/hr turning a 6 hour driving trip into only 2.5 pleasant hours on the train.
We took the local train to Sitges at 8:30pm. Dick picked us up and brought us to their beautiful home. More on that in another blog.
So where do we go from here? The really wonderful thing about what we are doing right now is that wherever we are today is home and we can live here indefinitely. We plan on returning to Madrid on Monday. If the trains are closed down we will consider renting a car and driving the six hours back. If we can’t do that we are with friends in a huge comfortable home two blocks from the Mediterranean. When we return to Madrid we expect to find everything closed with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies.
We are presently booked to fly home to Boston on April 15. If things are still out of control in the US and we face a potential or known two week quarantine we will probably remain in Spain until things have settled down as we really have no place to quarantine ourselves without putting others at risk. Madrid is such a large, beautiful, historic city we feel that we could easily pass a few months exploring there even if things do not open up for a few weeks. We can also spend some time catching up on blogs, reading downloaded books, watching movies and doing crosswords. We feel so fortunate to be in a situation where we do have options, although limited, and we have no pressing engagements anywhere in the world at this time. Our next plans were running a 5K before the Boston Marathon and volunteering for the marathon. One week later we had planned on attending the London Marathon in support of our friend Kelly Leonard but London has also been postponed. For now we are just living one day at a time and devouring the news from around the world for about one hour every morning. Please know that you, our family, friends and supporters; from around the world are in our thoughts on a daily basis. We are especially mindful of all of our friends in healthcare. We cannot imagine how bad your working conditions may be now or will potentially get. We would love to hear everyones comments either on this blog or by email as to how each of you are coping with all of the disruptions brought on by this pandemic.
We are septuagenarians doing our best to set an example as to what a good retirement looks and feels like. Feel free to travel along on a very personal journey with us. Just remember that the destination is not important, it is the journey that counts.
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