Next to the window seat, I was thinking about when to get the camera out for a picture of the calm stary night outside the airplane window. Closer to Milan, the cabin seemed brighter, the air felt cooler, and I realised the best chance of getting the star shot has passed. Anyway, no regrets of not taking photo, some scenes are better through the eyes than through the lens, I told myself. The third time waking up, I was recalling “Rosebud” from Citizen Kane, an old gold that explained fame and hubris I watched in the earlier waking break.
The sky reflected blue and peach when we left Milan. The cabin was lit and suddenly filled with the sound of flaky croissant and the smell of coffee. As the captain announced our landing, the sky glowed in orange and wipe out the navy blue to a paler purple tint with a gold band across the horizon. The clouds beneath us looked like a skating rink with a skate traces left behind by angels. Later on, I realised that it wasn’t cloud, I follow one of the traces to a boat, reminding me it was the ocean we are flying above. After a decent sleep-wake relationship, we found ourself welcomed by Barcelona’s pastel magenta tinted sky with open arms. 
We landed on the morning of Christmas Day (25th December 2019). Trying to follow our phone out of the airport, we got in the metro reminding us how metro and luggages weren’t best friends. My luggage handle gave up on the metro stairs at Barcelona Sants. Before we board the train to Madrid, we stopped for the first Pan con Tomate at a fast food chain, not that great though. 
Gran Via, Madrid
We were sure we broad the right metro, we saw Gran Via sign. The train didn’t stop at Gran Via though, which made “steps from Gran Via station” became 15 minutes worth of steps. As of December 2019, Gran Via station was under renovation. With two large luggages (one without handles) it was a little rocky, but the golden light through the alley was a real motivator for me to find our ground, freshen up, and back out to combat jet lag on a prolonged day. 
Our Madrid Campground
The plan was to not have too many plans and follow our … tummy. Off we went to San Miguel market, where stars on Google Maps are closely cuddled together. We had croquettes, wine, huge oysters, Tostadas, and we were introduced to “Bacalau” (Codfish). I didn’t know Plaza Mayor, one of the most famous square in Spain, was just a corner away. 
Mercado De San Miguel
Plaza Mayor on Christmas Day
The day was short in winter, and off we go out after a filled stomach to two more destinations: Catedral de Santa María, and the Grand Palace. I didn’t know winter sky would be so clear, we were very lucky on most days in our trip, and the first day didn’t disappoint. The crisp winter air made our walk enjoyable, and after a long while away, European church and palaces can still bring charms.
Catedral de Santa María
Palace Behind Bars
The sun set around 5, and we walked back to town to stroll through Christmas evening. Plaza Mayor was beautifully lit, and people were cheerfully out on the square of Madrid. Regardless of what was sold, that yellow light during Christmas have a special place in our hearts. We walked past the oldest restaurant in Madrid “Botin”, though we didn’t have a chance to dine there, it seemed like a very warm place. And later that night was a double date tapas crawl in La Latina. Lots of wine, laughter and a tiny bit of memory loss. 
The Oldest Restaurant in the World
Portrayed from the Window
Vermouth at Taberna La Concha
Okay, one recommendation for those who will visit Madrid. Taberna La Concha has amazing home-made vermouth (Spanish fortified Wine) that serve as a great night starter. If your going to have a drinking night in Madrid, can’t hurt to stop here for a Vermouth start. 

I didn’t recall how the bar crawl ended up in McDonald’s. Though, the next day we have an early start to Toledo, we did enjoyed the first night out in Spain.

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