The next two challenges weren’t too daunting or expensive and undertaken whilst still in Madrid …… I need to multitask on challenges whenever possible, lets face it, it’s nearly a challenge per week and I’m not sure I can keep up with that!
No.2 – Eat Oysters
As I’m a fairly adventurous eater, I have no idea why I’ve never got around to oysters. I love seafood, mussels, clams, cockles, lobster, I’ve had the lot. I’ve eaten rattlesnake in Death Valley, snails in Paris and even Biscuits and Gravy in the Southern US states which I should clarify are nothing like any biscuit or any gravy anyone in the UK would know and love! So surely it’s about time I ‘shucked’ an oyster.
We stumbled upon the beautiful Mercado San Miguel just off the equally gorgeous Plaza Mayor and rather like the famous La Boqueria market in Barcelona, this place was a foodies delight. Every fruit, meat, tapas was displayed to whet the appetite and it was busy with the great and good of Madrid sampling the fresh delights. And there it was, an oyster store…trays of beautifully stacked oysters and lemons waiting to be tasted and a very beautiful Spanish man dressed in black ready to prepare them to be sampled. The opportunity to purchase just one was too good to pass up. Medium sized I thought with the option to buy more should it prove to be the delicacy I hoped it would be. The beautiful man smiled and prepared the oyster with his no doubt specialist knife. And there it was, sat there on a plate staring at me, admittedly not looking that appetising. Still with lemon and my passion for seafood, surely it would be delicious?
Sadly no ! I assumed you were supposed to chew it slightly and on the basis it cost 2.80 euros, not simply throw it ‘down the hatch’ without touching the sides? So I chewed……it was like ‘fishy gristle’, like a huge but really sloppy mussel, with added toe curling gritty bits. I could only imagine it as a giant bogie….I am always far too lady like to spit when I go running, this felt like something I should have spat out but had to swallow instead (oo-er). How could such a foul thing ever be considered an aphrodisiac? I was left feeling decidedly queasy and in need of a lovely glass of Rioja funnily enough sold on the stall next door to settle my stomach. Never mind, another challenge down and one not to be repeated !
No.3 Ride a Segway
Segway’s are not really a new thing, I know that. I’ve seen them whizzing round the centre of Prague and cruising along the beach in Lanzarote. Both kids have ridden them on summer holiday activity camps and we all saw President George Bush fall off one as headline news …..but I’ve never got round to giving one a go. So why not give one a whirl in Madrid? It’s always staggering how far you walk exploring a new city. No matter how comfortable the footwear, it’s hard to muster the enthusiasm for the one final attraction of the day when all you want to do is sit down and soak your poor feet!
So with 350 acres of beautiful Retiro Park in Madrid to explore and a full day of walking already hammered into my feet, both me and the hubster felt a segway tour sounded great and much safer in a public park than on the public highway. We booked a tour online from the hotel room and being off season, what could have been a large group of riders ended up being just the two of us with our larger than life guide, Rami. Learning to ride a segway took around five minutes, yes that long! What skill does it require ? Can you stand up? If the answer is yes, then you can ride one easily. Admittedly we were complimented for being quick on the uptake of being to hold it steady and reverse (bet he says that to all the newbies!).
We glided round the park, pathways quiet and saw it all, the incredible Crystal Palace, the statue walk, the Rose Garden we weren’t supposed to go in on a segway and the oldest tree in the park. Rami was amazing, full of stories and history and the best places to take photos. He even took a crazy a video to show us in action.
Yet again we had a blissfully sunny day and we criss-crossed the park with ease. I could simply never have walked so far and enjoyed it so much.
I decided I needed a segway in my life every day until I was informed that they have been branded as illegal on UK roads and pavements (who’s stupid idea was that?) From now on though wherever we travel, if there’s a segway tour, we’re booking. Finally a way to save my ageing legs !
Categories: The 50 in 50 Challenge