Football-mania in Madrid

I’m kicking myself once more. After spending a handful of days in breathtaking Barcelona last month and returning with barely any photos to show for it, I swore I’d snap more shots when I visited Madrid on April 21-26. How can I go anywhere in Europe – which I love to pieces and firmly feel like everyone should get a chance to visit – and not take a million pics of the sights? Especially in the hometown of my old Brussels-based friend, Marta? Welp, I now realize work trips = I’m too distracted to remember to take photos, no matter how beautiful the place.

Lunching in a sea of Spanish wine

Lunching in a sea of Spanish wine

An awesome Nike Football (Soccer) event brought me to Spain’s capital city, where I oversaw two employees who won the opportunity to report on the launch of the Mercurial Superfly football boots (which included an appearance from Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo, the face of the Mercurial), the “Winner Stays” campaign, and a media summit to share Nike’s full collection of World Cup 2014 products. Two of my teammates joined me, so we had a crew of five that stuck together from early morning to…early morning. (I saw 2 a.m. more times in the past week than I have in the last two years.) We were surrounded by football, starting with our arrival at the Eurostars Madrid Tower, where we realized we shared our hotel with Chelsea F.C., who was in town for a Champions League game. We also grabbed dinner one night at the Real Café Bernabéu, a restaurant inside the Real Madrid stadium that overlooked the world-famous football pitch. (It was amazing.) We spent the majority of our time at the Salón de Reinos (“Hall of the Kingdoms”), the 17th century palace that hosted the two days of Nike Football events. Our only non-football activity was a ride to the Templo de Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple that was rebuilt in Madrid in the ’70s, for a video shoot.

After four full days in Spain, I hopped a 6 a.m. flight back to Portland yesterday and celebrated my return with a delicious Indian supper club meal with Jeff, Lindsay and Daniel. The four of us dined on cuisine from chef Leena Ezekiel‘s home state of Assam, India, and shared our BYOB wine with our chatty table-mates. (And I ate goat for the first time! Sorry, Aunt Roxanne.) From Spain to Portland to India, all in one day!

My work crew at Templo de Debod

My work crew at Templo de Debod

Behind the scenes at our first video shoot in Madrid

Behind the scenes at our first video shoot in Madrid

Dinner at the Real Madrid stadium, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Dinner at the Real Madrid stadium, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

One night before the Champions League match

One night before the Champions League match

The outside of the famous stadium

The outside of the famous stadium

Getting ready for the Mercurial launch to begin in the beautiful second floor of the Salón de Reinos

Getting ready for the Mercurial launch to begin in the beautiful Salón de Reinos

Lindsay and Daniel at the Thali Supper Club at the DinDin space

Lindsay and Daniel at the Thali Supper Club at the DinDin space

Chef Leena Ezekiel introducing the meal

Chef Leena Ezekiel introducing the meal

Our menu for the night

Our menu for the night

These two are trouble

These two are trouble (photo by Stark Photography)

Serious eating.

Serious eating.

Supper club laughs

Supper club laughs (pic by Stark Photography)

Happy ((pic by Stark Photography)

Happy (pic by Stark Photography)

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