No sleep till Spain.

breakfast at plaza mayor

I didn’t mean to take that mantra so seriously, but the 9-hour flight to Madrid did me no good. No Zs. Not one little z. I waited anxiously for rest, but the Sandman stood me up. This is notable because check-in at our Madrid hotel was set for 1 p.m. We arrived at 8 a.m. I almost cried. Jet lag is a cruel beast. My foggy brain reminded me it was 1 a.m. in Texas, but the sunny Spanish sky greeted me with two kisses. One on each cheek.

Naturally.

When your wits fail you, however, you choose caffeine. A favorite among Madrilenos para desayuno includes churros and hot chocolate, so Mr. Wonderful and I walked a few blocks down to the Playa Mayor to sample the Spanish breakfast.

The expansive city square was built in the early 1600s, where it was once the scene of bullfights, public executions and trials by the Inquisition. Today, cafes line the perimeter and street entertainers tail tourists in hopes of a modest tip.

churros

We found an airy cafe and opted for cafe con leche instead of hot chocolate to accompany our pastries. And we couldn’t leave without sampling a little jamon iberico, the ubiquitous cured ham made from black Iberian pigs that can be found across Spain and Portugal.

Sleep came much later – after a walk through the Mercado de San Miguel, a gourmet tapas market chock full of freshly prepared mariscos. I whispered to them in their glass cases. I’ll be back for you tomorrow. And I will.

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