I usually set an itinerary, but know that I’m willing to make changes to bend to the situations that come up.
Being flexible and willing to address situations as they happen can maximize your fun while on a holiday.
Sometimes it’s as simple as meeting new people on a walking tour and deciding to ditch your beach plans to hang out with your new friends.
Sometimes, it’s slightly more complicated.
Before arriving in Madrid two weeks ago, we knew it was going to be hot. When I looked up the weather I tried to talk myself into it, saying it wouldn’t be humid so the heat wouldn’t feel too bad. Well, 110 degrees does feel bad.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Madrid. I lived there when I taught English and it’s one of my favorite places in the world. It’s beautiful.
110 degrees is hot.
The first day we landed I was super excited to show my friend around the city I love. We dropped off our bags and headed towards the park for a leisurely stroll. When we got to the park we headed to the shade for some relief from the unobscured sun which was streaming down on us. My shirt had been sopping wet and slicked to my skin from the third step I’d taken outside. I was wearing the lightest clothing possible but my own skin seemed to be a burning blanket suffocating me and turning my blood to fire.
We bought chilled drinks from a kiosk. The park was quiet as the few people who had ventured out were laying in the grass under trees, most of whom were asleep. I thought it would be nice to walk to Plaza Mayor. It wasn’t. Though the plaza is beautiful, there is zero shade, and the cement sitting areas were white hot in the mid-day sun. I thought of visiting the Prado, but at this point it was on the other side of town, and the idea of the short walk back was just not fun.
Fun. That’s right – we were on holiday. We had just come from an awesome time in Ireland and Portugal, and we were ready to have more great times in Madrid. I was worried about how successful the idea of fun would be. Sure, we could continue with the itinerary I had planned, and those places would be beautiful. But would it be fun?
We decided to pop back to our AirBnB apartment and grab a shower before heading out again.
I was mulling it over, and knew we needed to change it up.
Once we were cooled down I pitched my idea. Let’s cut the Madrid section of our trip short and spend that time elsewhere.
Again, I love Madrid, but I knew if we stayed a long time we were just not going to have fun, and that’s why we were there. Madrid is full of stunning buildings and beautiful scenery, but you don’t really enjoy them when you’re standing in front of it hoping you don’t pass out from sun stroke.
We were already scheduled to fly from Madrid to Dublin the next week – why not go early?
The week prior we had been in Galway and knew they would be hosting an International Arts Festival – we could check it out now.
Could we pull off a change of flight and lodging at the last minute? I jumped on the wifi on my phone and started with the flight. The Ryanair flight change was a $30 fee, and the new flight was a few dollars more. Worth it!
Next was a place to stay. Because of the festival, Galway didn’t have a lot of options and our usual place to stay didn’t have availability. I sent a message to the hotel owner, who we’d met a few weeks ago – almost instantly he replied telling us they’d have something for us. Perfect!
A day later we were on a plane, and it was back to Ireland. We did a few things we wanted to in Madrid, like check out the Rastro, eat chocolate & churros, and go on a Sandeman’s walking tour. But, we’ll save our other plans for next time.
As we walked off the plane and the cool air hit us, we knew we had made the right choice. The things we wanted to do, like visit Toledo and El Escorial will be there waiting and we’ll go back soon to check them out (probably not during the month of July).
Don’t feel guilty if you’re not having a blast somewhere – move on! I’ll have an awesome time in Madrid the next go around,but sometimes you have to roll with what comes up, and sometimes what comes up is something as simple as the weather.