Our last day, Friday, we went to class for the last time (I took more pictures, of course), had our last two meals (breakfast and lunch) at Barradas, packed, and then KF, Dale and I went out to complete our mission of buying dresses! We walked north this time, traversing streets we’d never been on before, and accomplished our mission! Each of us came away with a dress from the same store where one of the other girls had bought the dress she wore to the farewell dinner (Kelly bought one just like it)!
Dale was on his own mission – to buy magnets that his daughter had only just informed us she wanted. This was annoying, since there had been nice magnets at virtually every museum and souvenir store we had visited throughout the entire trip and we hadn’t known until now that she wanted them. Plus the area we were going was not a tourist neighborhood per se, and there was really nowhere to buy the type of magnets he wanted.
What we did find, however, was a really nice little restaurant with fresh and inexpensive food! We only had ice cream (lemon with no added sugar!!) but noted the fare for a possible return for dinner if we didn’t like the offering for our last supper at Barradas. In fact, the food that night at Barradas was not to our liking at all, and once again our group of six adults set out for this place we had discovered. Along the way, Dale decided to go to a Chinese bazaar – not the one we usually go to – to look for magnets (I knew he wouldn’t find them but he was stubborn) and he said he would meet us at the restaurant. I didn’t think much about it, since Dale usually has a pretty good sense of direction and we’d been there only a few hours before.
At the restaurant, I ordered a vegetable calzone which was really great! It was filled with tomato and lots of hearts of palm! Yum!! Prof. A ordered the same thing and also really liked it. I also ordered a slice of tortilla, but ended up wrapping it to take back for our breakfast next morning, because I was full after eating the calzone.
Two hours passed and Dale did not show up!! At one point, I went out to look for him, but realized I could walk all the way back to where we separated and never find him, because he could just as easily come around the other way. I worried about him, but Prof. J told me quite sharply to stop thinking about him – he was independent and could find his way. She suggested he might want some alone time, but I seriously doubted that was the case – if so, why would he have put up with going on girly shopping trips for the last two afternoons?? So I said no more, but said a silent prayer for his safe return to Barradas.
Now I was glad about the tortilla because perhaps he had gone back, unable to find the restaurant, and would want something to eat. But when we got back, he was not there! His bag was there, but KF said he hadn’t taken it with him that evening. Now I was really worried!!
KF was developing a cold and wanted to finish packing and go to bed early, but she offered to go out with me to look for Dale. We met up with some of the other people from our group and told them that if they saw Dale, to tell him we were looking for him and that I had brought back a tortilla for him!
About halfway back, we came across Prof. J and A–, who had split off from us after dinner to go to a store. Prof. J was putting away her cell phone and said that Dale had just called. He had gotten lost, finally found the restaurant, and was now on his way back. KF asked if I wanted to go back or keep going to meet up with him. I was indecisive but leaning toward meeting up with him, so we continued on. We finally saw him, crossing a street ahead of us. I yelled to him and when we met up, gave him a big hug!! He had gotten lost and, after finding a place to stop and have a sandwich, showed us on the map where he had gone. He had walked a long way, all the way north to Rio Rojas!! And not having his street map, he could rely only on Metro maps to orient himself. He always used San Bernardo as a reference point, and a couple of times he knew he was very near the restaurant, but just never got to it.
I was so relieved, because although he is resourceful, he still cannot communicate well enough in Spanish to be understood. And I was grateful to KF for coming with me even though she wanted to stay in her room and pack – she’s a great friend!
Yesterday (Saturday), we got up early and I took a shower. We were all packed, so we decided to go out for coffee, since the dining room at Barradas was closed until 8 and we had to be on the bus by then. Prof. A went with us, and I took the wrapped up tortilla to have with the coffee.
At 8 am, we were all on the bus with our luggage stowed underneath, except two girls, who were roommates, were missing! Apparently they overslept, having relied on S– to wake them up! She had gone and knocked on their door earlier, but they had gone back to sleep. Why they didn’t set an alarm clock, I have no idea. Anyway, S– went back to get them, and to their credit, they got up and to the bus in less than 15 minutes!
As the bus rumbled by Barradas, we waved and some of the girls screamed goodbye to Fernando, the night watchman, and then we watched the familiar sights of Madrid go by for the last time.
The flight back was long and noisy, but I managed to sleep a little, thanks to a sleep aid. Shortly after our return, we went to my sister’s house, where our extended family were gathering for a family birthday party – there were three family birthdays between July 30 – August 11. The cake had number candles on it – 81, which was the sum of all their ages!! We stayed until 7:30 pm (2:30 am for Dale and me!) but then we just had to go home and go to bed!