I promised pictures, but it turns out I haven't been taking any.
I know, I know. I'm in an exciting city with lots of things to take pictures of. But we've always got this checklist of things to do, and so our walks around Madrid feel less like a touristy stroll and more like a forced march.
The last couple of days have been hard.
I think we're really going to enjoy it here, and I'm looking forward to getting to know the city and taking time to appreciate it...
But right now it's just hard. Once we get settled in... is my mantra these days.
Nothing is easy, or simple, or intuitive.
We spent all day Saturday trying to get an abono mensual, a monthly metro pass. Which seems like it should be simple enough.
The Metro website says that you need to go to an estanco, which is a tabacco shop, to get one.
Because, clearly, tobacco shops make the most sense for where to buy a metro pass.
We knew that they needed to see our passports, and needed some passport-sized photos, but wanted to double check on how many they needed. So we walked to a nearby estanco and did our best to ask the questions, en espanol, por supuesto.
The lady said that we needed copies of all of our passports, 1 photo each, and also, we had it all wrong. For first-time buyers, you have to go to one of the bigger Metro stations to purchase it, the closest of which is quite a distance.
But we were on a mission.
So we returned to our hotel to get copies made of our passports, and headed back out. We stopped at a closer metro station because we knew they had a photo booth there, and we didn't want to get to the far away one and find out that they did not.
We went into the station, and had to ask to be allowed through the gate without tickets to get to the photobooth.
Once there, we realized that the booth only accepts 5-Euro bills, which we didn't have. Back up to the street. Got change. Back down to the station. Ask to be let in again.
Obtain passport photos of each of us, to the tune of about $30.
For a do-it-yourself photo booth.
Back up the street and on to our larger Metro station destination.
We arrived, wandered around, finally found the right spot, and joined the line.
While in the line, our limited Spanish listening skills picked up a word being mentioned.
Come to find out, we needed to get an appointment.
On the internet.
This was a low point for us.
We stopped off for lunch on the way back, discouraged at having accomplished nothing.
Hit a park for the kids on the way to the hotel, and then hopped online to schedule our appointment.
They were booked over a week out. So maybe, if we're lucky, we'll have an abono mensual sometime before February.
But maybe not, because we've heard that the kids' take several weeks to process.
So that was our Saturday.
Tomorrow the kids start school! I'm so nervous for them. I might just sit outside the building all day.
Or have a party.
I can't decide.
You see, we've been out of our own home for over a month now, and those two really need some time away from each other and time just to be on their own.
There's nothing for them to do in the hotel, and taking them on all our errands is driving us insane.
I know it's not easy for them either, but it's so frustrating just trying to walk them through the busy streets.
I think starting school will be good for all of us.
And that will definitely be a reason to take pictures! So tomorrow, for sure, I'll post the few ones we've already taken, and some "second-first-day-of-school-of-the-year-pics"