I cycled to a hostel, but they had no where secure for Fiona, so I started dismantling her straight away, which went well.... except a few of the rack bolts, the pedals, and the seat post, which haven't been touched for almost two years, were solidly stuck..... Never mind, there's a cycle shop near by. I hoist skeletal, sans wheels, Fiona onto my shoulder and wander the streets of Madrid looking for it, getting some funny looks. Of course, it's Siesta. They open again in 30mins, at 5pm. And then. ....soooo helpful. The seized bolts are dealt with, and then I'm given the "Royal Tour" of the oldest bike shop in Madrid 's museum..... pretty damn amazing. This is a manufacturing bike shop..."Otero", and I'm shown ancient bikes, drawings, photos, tons of medals and cups, and the bike that one a Gold Medal at Barcelona Olympics, and the 1992 Olympic Torch. And I was given a medal....." because anyone who has cycled from NZ to the Atlantic deserves a medal". I'm humbled. Thank you so much Otero team.
Then it's back to packing. I've been trying for months to book some extra baggage on the flight to New York, but I can't do it online. I'm worried about that, and also about my weight allowance. I'm only allowed 1 X 23kg. Flying from Dehli to Bishkek, I had 60kg. I shuffle and change stuff from bike bag to trailer, then carry them to a Pharmacy to weigh them. 22.5kg in bike bag. 27kg in trailer. I go back to my room and shuffle some more, and throw some stuff out. I'm stressed again, and spend two sleepless night trying to devise cunning schemes to get everything on the flight.
By mid afternoon I give up. I hook up with another Free Walking tour. This Guide was good. Enthusiastic, interesting, funny, and entertaining. If you're in Madrid I recommend him, or one of his collegues. Outside the I Site in Mayor Square, wearing a red shirt, with a red umbrella. His girlfriend was a bit all right too. I learnt about the Moores, the Jews, the Christians, the royal families, the Inquisition, and the Incest. Interesting.
Muscians are everywhere in Madrid. Violins, accordions, guitars, and even crystal glasses being played. Lots of "Characters" to have your photo taken with, including Puss in Boots, Minions, and a rotund Spiderman, who was actually pretty funny. There were also lots of African salesmen. They lay out a sheet with their wares, soccer shirts, or shoes, or leather bags, or sunglasses, but they never let go of the "tie ropes". It's fun to watch them. They are very alert to the police. Spot one, and within seconds, they have pulled their "tie ropes", the wares become a large white bundle draiped over their shoulder, and they disappear up a side street. The police pass by, and the salesmen are back, laying out their sheets. In 20 minutes, I saw them pack up and leave five times. The cleverest things I saw on the streets were the living statues. These guys are made up to look like statues, and hold poses for ages. One guy was dressed as a soldier, and was holding a pose as if he was running on attack. I don't know how he held it for so long. It must have been incredibly uncomfortable.
My flight leaves at 11.15am. I get a taxi just before 7am. What an amazing surprise at the check in counter. No hassle, zero, nil, nada. Trailer 23kg. Bike bag 23.5kg. I wrap the trailer, which has the two bike carriers tied to it, in security wrapper. I pay €60, and both of my luggage articles are whisked away to the plane. Luckily I'm early, as the flight is leaving at 10.15am....... That could have been an oooops. Less than eight hour later, I'm in the USA. Woohoo. I've been looking forward to this for a very long time.