Apartment in Madrid

Thursday was eventful.  I went to the convention center (IFEMA) to set up the booth.  It was hot.  The center is quite large, about a half a mile from the north end to the south end.  I know this because I was dropped off at the north end and told I had to go the south end to get my badge; my Fitbit reported the distance in steps, kms and miles.  A LOT of walking yesterday; four miles by the end of the day.

When I got to the booth space it was completely filled with workers’ supplies for constructing other booths.  They were kind enough to immediately move everything out.  I set up the booth components except for the wall decorations (left my scissors at the hotel and needed those to cut the extra-strength velcro mounting tape) and went back to the hotel to wait for a call from the apartment owner that I could move in.  That was about 2:30.  At 5:30 I got a call that I could meet the owner’s mother, Cecilia, at the apartment at 6:30 and she would give me the keys.

There was an elevator.  🙂  I checked ahead of time, but based on my history was only cautiously optimistic.  The apartment seemed smaller than in the pictures, but nice enough.  After a tour and making sure I had the WiFi password, Cecilia (who spoke not a word of English) bid me Buenas Noches and I was ready to settle in.  I knew I would have to get groceries and there was a store not too far away.  I checked out the kitchen and could find no coffee maker (although it was in the list of amenities).  I also noticed that the paper towel rack had a toilet paper roll sitting beside it.  Not sure how that is considered a good substitute!  OK.  I had a good idea of what I needed and set off to the grocery store.

The grocery shopping went well.  No coffee pot, but I found everything else, including a couple of bottles of wine.  When I got back to the apartment I was quite warm from the weather and exercise and looked for the air conditioning control.  The thermostat was unresponsive.  <sigh>  With 90° highs, it’s a bit uncomfortable without AC (also listed in the amenities).  I sent a message to the owners asking about that and then put everything away.  I  decided a glass of wine with the cheese and crackers I bought was just what was needed.

After going through 6 drawers, all the cabinets and all the drawers again, I came up empty in my search for a corkscrew.  I double-checked that the wine did not have a screw cap.  Nope.  Oh, dear.  I wonder if I kept that cheap plastic corkscrew in the pocket of my suitcase?  Yes!  All is saved.  Put the round plastic cover through the hole in the handle to form a ‘T’ and insert into cork.  Corkscrew securely placed.  Now to remove the cork.  Pull.  Pull!  PUUUULL!  Place bottle between feet and pull with both hands.  PUUULLLLL!!!!  Not budging.  Not turning.  <sigh>  What will I do?

The internet must have the answer.

Now, that was a very educational search!  Lots of clever solutions and quite a few fairly dumb ones.  One suggested using a screwdriver to place a large screw in the cork and then using a hammer end to pry it out.  I didn’t have any tools, but maybe a fork could be used for leverage?  I did actually manage to raise the cork about a quarter of an inch (while bending my corkscrew).   Not good enough.  Still too tight to pull out.

Another suggestion was to run hot water over the neck of the wine bottle (being careful not to wet the cork).  Supposedly this would make the glass expand and loosen the cork.  Seemed far-fetched, but I was not giving up yet.  Got the water nice and hot and counted down for the 30 seconds needed.  1001, 1002, 1003 . . .  1030.  I dried off the neck of the bottle, grasped the corkscrew firmly, took a deep breath, and out the cork came!  HaHaHa!  Who would have guessed?  I love those tricks.  It was good wine, too.

I did find a small fan in a corner of the bedroom that made my night’s sleep quite comfortable.  The wine helped, too.

Bye for now!