I arrived in Fuenlabrada shortly before sunset on Monday. Fuenlabrada, like many Spanish suburbs (but not all) consists mostly of high rise apartment buildings, not single family homes as one would expect in much of the USA.

Tuesday I took the train to Madrid and wandered the streets. I found a reasonably priced souvenir shop (but why would you name it "Yuck"?) but almost everything was "made in China".

I spent some time in the Central Plaza and then walked to the Royal Palace of Madrid. I toured the inside, but photography was prohibited in some of the most beautiful rooms.

Across the plaza from the palace is the Catedral de la Almudena, completed in 1993. The interior is nothing like all the other cathedrals I visited, the design is very contemporary.

Walking back to the train station, I stopped briefly to rest at the Plaza De Los Carros, just in time to see (and photograph) a young child who decided he wanted to go wading in the fountain. Mama had to drag him out. A little further along, I happened on the Mercado de la Cebada, a central market, originally for produce and food, now diversified. A couple of blocks further, I found an outdoor restaurant and had a light dinner.

By this time I knew I had come down with something, I felt miserable and was coughing. So when I got back to the hotel, I just went to bed.

Wednesday, I met Marvin Mills and his wife for lunch. Marvin is the son of Ursula Mills-Sobion, the woman who owns the place I stay every year in Trinidad. He moved to Spain many years ago and worked in television production until he retired a few years ago. I had met him twice when he and his family visited Trinidad for Carnival, so was happy to have the opportunity to see him again. I was just fearful I would give him or his wife my cold, but they didn't catch it.

They had suggested I go back into Madrid to do more sightseeing after our lunch, but I felt too miserable and went back to my hotel to rest. Late that afternoon, I felt a little better and walked around part of Fuenlabrada, stopping to watch the skateboarders in the park.

The next morning I flew back to New York. My cold got worse, it got into my ears and also became bronchitis. But at least it happened at the end of my travels, not the beginning. Overall, it was a very nice vacation.