It was nice to sleep in a bed again and have wifi in the room. I skyped with my family again, and got to see Xavier with an eye open at last, for a moment before he returned to sleep.
Breakfast was late again, the staff must be getting very frustrated trying to work in this environment. The longest I have waited for a lift was about 10 minutes but at least I wasn’t holding breakfast trays while I was waiting.
I met Suzanne and Brett in the lobby at 10:15am and we caught a taxi to the Madrid Zoo because this Zoo is one of the four Zoos in world that has, wait for it…….
I made this totally chance discovery when I was given a book of discount vouchers on the tour bus yesterday, and it fell open on the Zoo page – and it had a Panda on it. So we checked and yes they did have Pandas.
Shellbe, one of my daughters, loves Pandas but when I spoke to her on Skype this morning I didn’t say anything, because I was prepared to get to the Zoo and find that either they were asleep inside their enclosure and you couldn’t see them or for some reason they were not on public display today.
We got to the Zoo just as it was opening, and there was already a line to get in. We looked at the Zoo map, I was really excited, and got to the Panda enclosure as fast as my legs would carry me.
There are four pandas at this Zoo: Mum and Dad were gifted to the King of Spain by the King of China, and the two two-year-old brothers Po and Dede were born at the Madrid Zoo, on the 7th of September 2010, weighing 250 grams at birth.
To start off with we just saw Dad eating bamboo in separate part of the enclosure, and the other three were sleeping in a corner. Then one of the boys came out and walked around, then followed by mum and brother. We watched them for awhile, completely enthralled with them.
As Suzanne had to leave the zoo at 12:40 we had a quick look at some of the other animals, such as Red Pandas, Giraffes with two babies, lions, elephants, and Zebras with babies.
The enclosures were generally really good, the only one that I thought pulled the short straw was the Leopard, who was not only in a fairly small cage but also appeared to be by himself. There were also lemurs and flamingos and some storks.
We decided to return for another look at the Pandas before we left, and I am so glad we did as we got to see the brothers climbing a tree, playing, and also in the water just below where we were standing, it was awesome and magical.
One of the brothers was lying three metres below where I was standing, lying on his back splashing water on himself, and paddling with his feet. He was also watching the spectators to gauge our reactions.
With great difficulty we dragged ourselves away and went to the front to wait for Suzanne’s shuttle, which we had pre-booked at the hotel that morning. After 15 minutes we rang and guess what – it was waiting outside our hotel, even though the reception person at the hotel had rung and booked it from the Zoo, and Suzanne had waited in line for nearly 30 minutes to get this done. Luckily a taxi turned up dropping another passenger off so we grabbed it and Suzanne got to the airport with time to spare.
I went back to the city centre to check out the perfect gift shop but it was still closed, so I suspect it is not open in the weekends. Hmm . . . it will have to be plan B for the present for this child.
I had lunch, and then the rest of the early afternoon was taken up with laundry, catching up with the blog, and packing. I had dinner not far from hotel and I found a shop where I bought three presents. It’s always a risk trying to pick for someone else’s taste but at the very least even if the present is disliked the recipient knows you were thinking of them in Madrid.
Once again there were a number of beggars. One young man approached us on the Saturday night asking for money for food. I was a bit sceptical as he looked fairly well fed, but we gave him the benefit of doubt and gave him a couple of Euro. I must admit that I am generally more generous with buskers than beggars.