We arrived in Madrid in mid-afternoon and booked into the only open campsite near the city. Although it was later in the day, it was only a short walk and metro ride to the center of the city. We arrived at the Plaza del Callao station after dark and ascended into a crowd. There were lots of people and bright lights. As our eyes adjusted, we saw a crowd barrier cordoning off a movie theatre that opened on to the square. Curious, we responded to that intrinsic human instinct to see what all the fuss is about, and made our way forward through the crowd. We were able to get within a few feet of the barrier with only a couple of people in front of us. Only then did we piece together what was happening.
We had arrived in the midst of a movie premiere, part of the Madrid Premiere week. The crowd was gathering in anticipation of the stars walking the red carpet, which was right in front of us, just on the other side of the barrier. Television crews were forming up on the other side of the carpet.
To keep the crowd entertained and the energy up, a large screen high on the front of the theatre showed clips from the movie. Music played on loudspeakers. Costumed characters from the movie walked the red carpet. Two flamenco dancers performed periodically. It was lively, but we really had no idea what to expect. As we waited we were able to sidle closer, within arm’s reach of the barrier, but still not at the front.
The film was in Spanish so we figured the actors were probably not ones that we knew. Beautiful and interesting people in fine clothes started to arrive to the great interest of the media and excitement of the crowd, which began jostling about and pushing forward for a closer look. I didn’t feel comfortable mounting the person ahead of me, so I tightened my core and held my ground, holding back the people behind me. After a while, my calves began to burn as they resisted the leverage caused by the steady pressure from behind. By the time the main stars arrived, I was almost cramping. Who knew that star gazing would be such a workout!
It turns out we were wrong about not knowing the actors. Walking down the aisle, flirting with the flamenco dancer, came Antonio Banderas. He was taking his time, talking to the crowd and signing autographs.
Following closely behind Antonio was another star that I almost overlooked in the excitement. Salma Hayek waltzed down the carpet gracefully. Though not as flamboyant and crowd pleasing as Antonio, she looked beautiful.
Salma was harder to get a good picture of because she is vertically challenged!]
If you haven’t guessed it by now, the movie being premiered was El Gato con Botas 3D. This literally translates from Spanish as ‘The Cat with Boots’, but is known in English as Puss in Boots.
This unexpected little adventure was complete in less than 2 hours. As soon as the stars entered the theatre, the crowd dispersed and we moved on to enjoy an evening promenade through the town squares followed by tapas and wine for dinner. When traveling, one never knows when something interesting is going to happen. It’s great to be open to the opportunities that present themselves and to enjoy what life brings my way.