Back to Madrid

Amy and I are flying to Madrid right now. It's my fourth time back and our third time together. The other times we planned out way in advance: study in college, leading a group trip and our four month sabbatical with ten year olds. But this time we bought the tickets just six weeks ago to mark a significant season for us.

February 2 I celebrated my tenth anniversary as senior pastor of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. February 10 we celebrated groundbreaking on the upper campus and moved into our fellowship hall for a ten month season of worship while our contractor completes a $12 million renovation to our seven acre campus.

February 17 the leadership surprised Amy and me with cards and a gift that would allow us to do something special. Fix the cars, buy an appliance? No. Fly somewhere? Yes. Where? Madrid came out of our mouths at the same time.

We booked on Delta for a ten day trip between a board meeting and preaching two days after we return. We are staying at a pension that Rick Steves described as "tiny, granny-run and old fashioned... In the family since 1936... clean, quiet, served by an elevator, rooftop terrace, assuming you can communicate, unbeatable." They don't take Internet reservations and since I couldn't connect with them by phone I sent a postcard ten days ago, then confirmed it by phone just yesterday.

"Sí, Don Miguel. Hasta el jueves." So I think we are good, but we'll know for sure in just a few hours.

We want to go back to the Prado Museum, Retiro Park, and walk the monumental streets I was in awe of at 21. We'll have tapas and paella, coffee standing at the bar and jamón Serrano and manchego in a roll. We think we'll stay in Madrid the whole time but we might take a short side trip by train.

Our simple plans go along with simple bags. We downsized from the 21 inch roller bags to daypacks with a few shirts, jeans and toiletries--less than travelled with in college.

For whatever reason, we want to keep it uncomplicated. Just the two of us going back to remember what we loved, what made the decision so easy, too easy. Looking forward to going back and being surprised.

We land in a few minutes and we are smiling.


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