So we left the hotel, passed the hookers, paid $10 for parking the car for 30 minutes and took off to Retiro Park which was the former hunting grounds for the Royalty in Spain. I had a bridal shoot set up there at the Palacio Cristal. We tried to find a parking spot which is very difficult to do. While trying to make a U-turn and finding no legal way to do it Ryan asks me, "What are you going to do, there's no place to turn around?" I turned to him and said, "I believe life to too special to obey traffic laws." At this point I made sure it was safe and made a quick U-turn in the middle of the road and quickly found a parking space.
We went inside the gates to the park and it is beautiful. The park is huge and we spent the next 45 minutes trying to find the Palacio Cristal. I quickly learned to love the Spanish but if there's one thing I learned it's that they give horrible directions. I literally asked 5 different people how to get to the Palacio Cristal and I received 5 completely different answers.....I became tired due to the time changes (at this point I'd been up for almost 30 hours), and Ryan had already been in Europe for a week so he was much more energetic. He offered to go and try and find the place. I sat down at a little cafe and ordered a Coca Cola Light (no diet drinks over there) and waited for Ryan.
Well, he never came back. After waiting 30 minutes I decided to go and find him. I walked around and stopped at this beautiful fountain. I started taking some quick shots and was only 5 feet from my case when a man on a bike rode up to me and said in broken English, "Do you own that case? You should watch it better before it flies away....this is Spain, if you're not holding it, it goes bye bye." I thanked him for his help, grabbed my case and went to find Ryan.
After walking around for another 30 minutes out of sheer luck I run into Ryan. He had found the bride (Panambria) and was trying to find me. I went over and met the bride and started the shoot. Ryan left to go have fun with his friends from Spain while I started an unforgettable shoot. The thing you have to love about Europe and Spain is no exception is the liberal manner in which they express themselves. There was a small neighborhood band playing in the park and when they saw Panambria they started playing, "Here comes the Bride."
We had planned on having the sunset for our shoot but because of the delay in getting started we had to improvise with a night shoot. Out came the video lights and we got going. We started shooting in the park and moved over to a beautiful Roman/Greek looking structure. There's no way I can post all the shots now but I have completed one so you can see what it looked like. The greatest thing was all the guys whistling, cat calling, and screaming for Panambria. There were about 40 of them playing soccer inside the structure and they couldn't get enough of her. Please see below....
We finished up there, did some shots down by the water which were great and ended in the royal gardens which were stunning. The shot below is the last ones we were taking when I heard the gates being locked.....I couldn't believe it....it was midnight already! I became so consumed in the shoot that I had shaken off my exhaustion and completed a 4-hour shoot that was amazing. I raced down and asked officer to wait which he did. While I was down there Panambria changed into her clothes and came down. When the officer asked me in Spanish, "Que estan haciendo aqui?" (What are you doing here?) I replied, "Sorry, no speak Spanish," which wasn't entirely true but it did get me out of any possible permit issue.
We hopped in the car, I dropped her off and then I went to park. I passed the hookers, went into a Burger King (it was now 1am). I can't believe how late Spaniards stay up. There were so many people on the street and in the stores you would have thought it was 1pm, not 1am. I went back to the room and fell asleep next to my brother in our cozy adjacent twin beds. The day started off horribly, but ended wonderfully....that night I truly fell in love with Spain...more to come later....