Tag Archives: Madrid

Madrid – Spain

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While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets.  This reason is perhaps why we so love to visit this magnificent city.  We always stay in the old section near the center so that we can walk to all the interesting places.  We find Madrid to be so clean, friendly and fun.

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Madrid  landmarks include the Royal Palace of Madrid; the Royal Theatre with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro park, founded in 1631; the 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain’s historical archives; a large number of National museums, and the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three art museums: Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.

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Many contend that the original name of the city was “Ursaria” (“land of bears” in Latin), because of the many bears that were to be found in the nearby forests, which, together with the strawberry tree have been the emblem of the city from the Middle Ages.  Whatever the derivation of her name, she remains a noble and beautiful city of the world.

When Toledo surrendered to Alfonso VI of León and Castile,

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 Madrid was conquered by Christians in 1085, and it was integrated into the kingdom of Castile as a property of the Crown.

This becomes important to us because King Alfonso has added Augustine’s family (PENALVER) to the Royal Court just before and given them the Cross of St. John, symbol of the Templars as their crest…

….which is also the Flag of the Country of Malta….where the Knights of Templar took possession of the island, a gift of the Emperor Charles V with the approval of Pope Clement VII.,

 including the Knight Penalver from Spain….

The Penalver Family has left their Castle in Penalver, Spain to join King Alfonso IV in re-establishing the Royal City of Madrid….

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Madrid has a beautiful street named after the Penalver’s first Count……

El Calle del Conde de Penalver…

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The perfect place to stop and enjoy a coffee….

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 Christians replaced Muslims in the occupation of the center of the city, while Muslims and Jews settled in the suburbs…

The Calle de Conde de Penalver begins with this iconic street corner…

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On this trip we began and ended our visit to eight countries in Madrid.  From the photos you will see the difference in the weather during those visits.  The initial visit was cold and overcast and the end visit was sunny and fair, as you can see from these photos of the Plaza Mayor…

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We always stay in the Hotel Ibis Prado, which allows us to exit the lobby and find ourselves in the middle of the old city.

The hotel has a Wine Theme, which works perfectly for our tastes!  We always stay on the top floor and have a private balcony, wonderful for enjoying a glass of wine in the evening…

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The colors and art of the hotel are so vibrant and reflect this wonderful city….

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One evening we were sitting on the balcony and suddenly the city erupted in firework, music and shouts from every direction!  We were astounded by the noise.

We had to go out into the streets to see what had transpired………they were PACKED with thousands of happy people…

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Oh……..Madrid had just won the world cup in Soccer ……….how we get it!!  Of course we joined in the fun!

I suppose our favorite part of visiting Madrid is the food……..TAPAS……..TAPAS………TAPAS……..

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One of a fast, fun, favorites is el Museo de Jamon, located near the Plaza Mayor…..there are many other locations; however, this one is always the best…

Here is the inside…………a world of culinary delights…….

We had to order EVERYTHING…..

Then of course there is Meson el Jamon de Gran Via…….with the best croquettes EVER….

………….oh and then there was this place…….I have forgotten the name!

…..but the Serrano Jamon and Seafood Delights were amazing…..

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Perhaps some crepes at Cerveceria Santa Ana…..

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At the heart of the old city lies the Plaza Mayor…..a center of continuous activity and to be entered through these marvelous arches….

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Once inside the world changes………

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the street performers delight and entertain…

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Here are some more shots of this most beautiful city…..

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…..one of our most FANTASTIC dining experience of our lives took place just outside the Plaza Mayor…

El Rincon de Madrid…an unassuming small place with a typical Tapas Bar….the difference…at the end of the bar is a stair case leading down into a vaulted chamber that dates to Knights Templar…

europe2 895The staircase open into this most marvelous dining area with four small tables….the owner shows us around…europe2 891

We have the place to ourselves………..

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The food is wonderful……….but the experience is over-the-top!!

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The Paella from his Grandmother’s recipe……..he said he is still trying to perfect it to what she prepared….a true passion and love for food…

We so love visiting this most wonderful city and look forward to returning again soon….

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The Alcazar of Segovia – Spain

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….and so it begins, our journey to The Alcazar of Segovia

She sits upon the hilltop guarding over the town, her steady gaze upon us.

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Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of the rivers Eresma and Clamores near the Guadarrama mountains, it is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship.

The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then.

The castle is one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.

The Alcázar of Segovia, like many fortifications in Spain , started off as an Arab fort, which itself was built on a Roman fort but little of that structure remains.

The first reference to this particular Alcázar was in 1120, around 32 years after the city of Segovia returned to Christian hands in the days of  Alfonso VI of León and Castile

Throughout the Middle Ages The Alcazar remained one of the favorite residences of the monarchs of the Kingdom of Castile and a key fortress in the defense of the kingdom.

It was during this period a majority of the current building was constructed and the palace was extended on a large scale by the monarchs of the Trastámara dynasty.

Below is a picture of The Throne Room…..

In 1258, parts of the Alcázar had to be rebuilt by King Alfonso X of Castile after a cave-in and soon after the Hall of Kings was built to house Parliament.

The Hall of Kings is a most majestic place and carvings of all the Kings adorn the walls and these ancient Monarchs look down upon the visitors of today…

However, the single largest contributor to the continuing construction of the Alcázar is King John II who built the ‘New Tower’ (John II tower as it is known today).

In 1474, the Alcázar played a major role in the rise of Queen Isabella I of Castile.

On 12 December news of the King Henry IV‘s death in Madrid reached Segovia and Isabella immediately took refuge within the walls of this Alcázar where she received the support of Andres Cabrera and Segovia’s council.

She was crowned the next day as Queen of Castile and León.

There is a very large painting of the Coronation that is just breathtaking…

The interior of the Castle of Segovia is in perfect accordance with the magnificence of its exterior. Many apartments are decorated with delicate traceries and pendant ornaments, in the style of the Alhambra

The Templar Iglesia Vera Cruz (Church of the True Cross) is the most interesting of several splendid Romanesque churches in Segovia and is visible from the windows of The Alcazar

The Church was consecrated in 1208 and built by the Knights Templar to house a fragment of the True Cross

Inside, the round nave centers on an unusual two-story gallery, where the Knights are thought to have kept vigil over the sliver of wood, as it rested on the altar below….

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The Church is patterned on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where according to legend the True Cross was found by St. Helena in the 4th century.

Such enchantment and history surrounded by snow capped peaks……

Wandering about The Alcazar, one is swept into the history that took place within her walls….

The ancients gaze upon you as you pass from their frozen images in the stained glass…

A world of enchantment…..with the most amazing views…

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Temple of Debod – Madrid, Spain

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While visiting Madrid, we had the great pleasure of visiting the Temple of Debod

The Tempolo de Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple and was originally built just over 9 miles south of Aswan in southern Egypt very close to the first cataract of the Nile and to the great religious center dedicated to the goddess Isis, in Philae.

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In the early 2nd century BC, Adikhalamani (Tabriqo), the Kushite king of Meroë, started its construction by building a small single room chapel dedicated to the god Amun.

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It was built and decorated on a similar design to the later Meroitic chapel on which the Temple of Dakka is based.  Later, during the reigns of Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy VIII and Ptolemy XII of the Ptolemaic dynasty, it was extended on all four sides to form a small temple, which was dedicated to Isis of Philae. The Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius completed its decorations.

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From the quay there is a long processional way leading to the stone-built enclosure wall, through three stone pylon gateways and finally to the temple itself.

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In 1960, due to the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan and the consequent threat posed to several monuments and archeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical legacy.

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Spain sent a large team to assist in the relocation of the monuments and temples.

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As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian state donated the temple of Debod to Spain in 1968.

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The temple was rebuilt in the Parque del Oeste, near the Royal Palace of Madrid, and opened to the public in 1972.

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  It constitutes one of the few works of ancient Egyptian architecture which can be seen outside Egypt and the only one of its kind in Spain.

This was a most amazing and touching experience….

….but as always with The Tin Man…..an appetite has been worked up!

To celebrate being able to visit such an ancient monument, we have decided to dine in the oldest restaurant in the world………….Restaurante Botin’s…

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Francisco de Goya worked at Botin’s  as a waiter while waiting to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts

The first floor has all the original cabinetry from when Botin’s opened in 1725

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The staircase leads to dining in the basement which once held all the ovens in which the suckling pigs were roasted…

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Now a marvelous dining area…..

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still serving that wonderful sucking pig………roasted to perfection…

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….especially when served with roasted new potatoes and Amstel Beer…

Zaragoza – Spain

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The noble beginnings of Zaragoza begin when  Augustus founded there a city called Caesaraugusta to settle army veterans from the Cantabrian wars

The foundation date of Caesaraugusta has not been set with total precision,

though it is known to lie between 25 BC and 12 BC

The city did not suffer any decline during the last centuries of the Roman empire and was captured peacefully by the Goths in the 5th century

In 714 the Berbers and Arabs took control of the city, renaming it Saraqusta (سرقسطة).

 It later became part of the Emirate of Cordoba

It grew to become the biggest Muslim controlled city of Northern Spain and as the main city of the Emirate’s Upper March, Zaragoza was a hotbed of political intrigue

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In 777 Charlemagne was invited by Husayn, the Wali (governor) of Zaragoza, to take the submission of the city

But when Charlemagne marched an army to the city gates he found Husayn to have had a change of heart and was forced to give up after a month-long siege of the city, facing Basque attacks on his rear guard on his withdrawal.

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From 1018 to 1118 Zaragoza was one of the taifa kingdoms, independent Muslim states which emerged in the eleventh century following the destruction of the Cordoban Caliphate.

Zaragoza is linked by legend to the beginnings of Christianity in Spain. According to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared miraculously to Saint James the Great in the first century, standing on a pillar.

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The Church contains innumerable beautiful works of art….

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This legend is commemorated by a famous Catholic basilica called Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar)

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The city walls, churches, basilicas, palaces, stately houses and squares of the old quarter reflect the different civilizations that settled the city.

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Romans, Moors, Jews and Christians left their cultural legacy behind, waiting to be admired to this day. There are certain monuments and places that are simply not to be missed.

You can start the day in Plaza del Pilar Square, alongside the Ebro River. Here you will find three of the city’s emblematic buildings: The Pilar Basilica, church and universal symbol of Zaragoza; La Lonja Palace, the region of Aragon‘s most important 16th century civil building, venue for many exhibitions throughout the year; San Salvador Cathedral (the “Seo”),  Aragon’s most valuable and significant monument, where you will find medieval artistic styles reflected, along with Renaissance and Baroque elements. Be sure to look at the exterior wall of the Parroquieta Chapel, on one side of the Seo – it is the pinnacle of Zaragoza Mudejar architecture.

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Then, head for the Caesaraugusta Theatre Museum, just a few minutes walk away. See what the Roman city’s most popular monument was like.

Marvelous restoration, protected by in ingenious dome…

…one can only imagine the marvelous theatrical performances played out on the stage……if you are very quite you can almost hear the echoes…

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There are many witnesses to Zaragoza’s imperial past to be seen – the city walls, the Forum, the River Port and the Public Baths, with their respective museums.

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Wonderful, near the Roman Wall is a Public Market…

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What a fantastic find……..the Market is brimming with goodies……

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Then off to lunch at Los Cabezudos Restaurant for al fresco dining….to include Caracoles del Mar

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Puente de Piedra ( Stone Bridge) – Bridge across the river Ebro

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Puente de Piedra is also called the Bridge of Lions because four lions (symbols of the city) are placed on the pillars at both sides of the bridge.

After touring, the best way to end a stay in Zaragoza is to visit its Plaza del Pilar in the evening as the spires of the city’s two cathedrals make dramatic shadows across the pavement.

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In this place where the Romans once walked and where countless pilgrims have journeyed, the warm spirit of Zaragoza shines most brightly.  As it has for many centuries, this city continues to invite visitors to enjoy its charms.

But now it is time for dinner…….a cool evening……beautiful fountains….

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We found the perfect place to dine….Casa Teo

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Marvelous to be traveling Europe during Asparagus Season…..

Then off to the hotel with incredible views of the city….

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Zaragoza has an incredible Train Station, where we plan the next stop in our adventure……

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The Aqueduct of Segovia – Spain

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Segovia is a Spanish city of about 55,000 people in the Castile-Leon province of Spain, about an hour north of Madrid.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old city of Segovia is spectacularly situated atop a long, narrow promontory.

It contains a wealth of monuments, including a cathedral, a magnificent ancient Roman aqueduct, and the beautiful fairy-tale spires of the Alcázar, or castle-palace, that towers over the countryside below.

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Scattered about the city are a half a dozen Romanesque churches of great interest, and a church that was once a synagogue.

The Roman aqueduct of Segovia, probably built c. A.D. 50, is remarkably well preserved. This impressive construction, with its two tiers of arches, forms part of the setting of the magnificent historic city of Segovia.

The Aqueduct of Segovia is  one of the most significant and best-preserved ancient monuments left on the Iberian Peninsula. It is  the foremost symbol of Segovia, as evidenced by its presence on the city’s coat of arms.

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 At the end of the 20th century, a German archaeologist managed to decipher the text on the dedication plaque of the aqueduct by studying the anchors that held the now missing bronze letters in place. Using this method, he was able to determine that in actuality it was the Roman Emperor Domitian who ordered its construction.

 The aqueduct transports waters from Fuente Fría River, situated in the nearby mountains,  from the city in a region known as La Acebeda.

The first reconstruction of the aqueduct took place during the reign of the King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile.   A total of 36 arches were rebuilt, with great care taken not to change any of the original work or style.

The aqueduct is the city’s most important architectural landmark. It had been kept functioning throughout the centuries and is preserved in excellent condition.   It even provided water to Segovia until recently!   Because of  decay of stone blocks, water leakage from the upper viaduct, and pollution that caused the granite  masonry to deteriorate and crack, the site was listed in the 2006 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund.   Contrary to popular belief, vibrations caused by traffic that used to pass under the arches did not affect the aqueduct due to its great mass.

Spain brought together the Ministry of Culture, the regional government of Castilla y León, and other local institutions to collaborate in implementing the project, and provided assistance through the global financial services company American Express.  The Aqueduct is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We walked the entire length of the Aqueduct, while gazing up in wonderment.  You can actually walk along the top………of course chicken Tin Man said no to that idea!

It was quite amazing to see this impressive architectural achievement.  The excitement and physical activity worked up an appetite, so off in search of culinary delights, we went.

We found an ancient place, Meson El Cordero

and what a delight it was….

The Bean Soup was our very favorite….it is a traditional dish from the area….

….followed by the Roast Suckling Pig…

…and a marvelous assortment of sweets…

Thank you for joining me in this walk under the Aqueduct of Segovia…

…we have been traveling about Europe for the past six weeks and I plan to share many more stories with you soon….

Munich, Germany

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We are on the train to Munich!  This is probably our last train trip on this voyage.  We are  still so amazed at how comfortable and efficient the transportation system is here in Europe.  We are mesmerized by the beauty as we travel through the mountains — may with snow!  This has been one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  The homes all have the typical German architecture and the forest is dense tall pine trees.  So lush and green as compared to our parched Texas.  We pass through village after village of quaint gingerbread houses surrounding a grand church whose steeple towers over the village, all nestled in the mountains of pine trees with clouds tucked in the crevices and clear pristine rivers running by.

We arrive in the city of Munich with the weather clearing and the sun shining!  Our Hotel Ibis is located near the old section of Munich and all that lies between us is the botanical garden — not a bad walk!  We just finished dining on schnitzle and spatzel with mushrooms and gravy.  We sit and review our plans regarding the sites to visit while we are here.  Our room at the hotel was rather small, so we met with the manager Karina Nolle, who moved us to the top floor of the hotel in a lovely room overlooking the entire city……what a wonder person she is!

We had a grand breakfast at the hotel of some of the most wonderful smoked salmon I have ever tasted with horseradish and sour cream with chives and onion —— ooohhhh my!  Of course I visited my new friend — the European coffee machine — several times for wonderful rich cappuccino.  We then ventured out to the subway and off to Marionplatz, home of the famous glockenspiel.  The glockenspiel is basically a life-sized coo-coo clock in the tower of the town hall built in the 1500s.  The figures that spin and dance re-enact some royal wedding and they are all life-sized and carved of wood.  It is a marvel to behold.  unfortunately it is Sunday and all the shops are closed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have dinner at a wonderful German Restaurant, Rechthaler-Hof.

We sit near a beautiful harvest crown make of wheat.

Our first course is beef broth with a large liver dumpling– oh delights this is so very good!

The main course is a pig leg baked to crispy perfection, served with fresh sauerkraut and a huge potato dumpling. I am reminded of Botin’s Restaurant in Madrid and the Cochino al Horno.

The meal was so marvelous. The skin of the pork was crispy and the dumpling was so very, very good. We had to skip the beer and desert, the meal was so rich and filling.

We walked back to the Hotel Ibis, the temperature is below 40 degrees and there is a slight rain and strong wind. We discussed what an adaptation we will have to make when we return home to Texas.

It is time to visit a traditional Beer Garden and enjoy one of the true gifts of German society. We pick the Augustiner-Keller, which was established in 1812.

It is a very large beer garden nestled under dense trees. When we left we found out how dense the trees were…..it had been and continued to rain! We remained dry the entire time we ate our meal under those trees! I would estimate a half an acre of food and beer. We enjoy a plate of assorted Bavarian sausages with the most delicious sauerkraut and potatoes. We drink the beer that is brewed on site and served out of ancient wooden barrels — another amazing treat.

We have such fun spending a day in the ourdoor market and marveling in the sounds, smells, sights and tastes of this wonderful city.

When we awake to leave for the United States, we find a beautiful moon over Munich and almost decide to stay………..

Paris, France

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We took the early (ONLY) bus out of Penalver, Spain, to Guadalajara and purchased tickets to Madrid  Once in Madrid we spent 3 hours in lines only to find out that we must take a train to another station, Chamartin, in order to purchase our Eurorail passes.  We take the train and spend another hour waiting in lines and finally purchase our passes and our tickets on an overnight sleeper car from Madrid to Paris………….the city of lights.

We are in a sleeper car that will hold four persons, upon arrival we find there will be only one other occupant.  His name is Trakhed, a very nice man from Morocco.  He speaks French and a little Spanish, we leave the station at seven in the evening.  We have been lugging suitcases, standing in line and fretting since eight in the morning!  We go off to the dining car and enjoy a light dinner and some wine.  At nine in the evening the attendant lowers the beds and I promptly climb into the top bunk and our Moroccan friend leaves the quarters.  I fall asleep immediately and sleep rather well throughout the rest of our 14 hour journey across the Great Pyrenees Mountains.  Before the sun sets we enjoy the sites of the Spanish Country side filled with castle after castle.

 We arrive in Paris at 9:30 A.M. and find the weather to be cold and rainy. We stumble upon a most wonderful cab driver who takes us to hotel after hotel as we find no rooms at any inns! He then suggests a chain of hotels called the Ibis, off we go. The hotel is walking distance to Notre Dame and has a very large room with a comfortable bed and full bath — a bath we desperately need after now 27 hours without one! We wander the streets of Paris, just enjoying being here again…………..and being clean!

Saturday, we awake to the city coming to life. The streets are being set up with the Farmer’s Markets throughout this beautiful city. The stands full of fresh meats, herbs, cheeses, flowers, vegetables and even socks and underwear! We so enjoy strolling about and tasting all the delights.

Off we trot to Notre Dame and marvel, once again, in her magnificent art and architecture. We sit in her shadow and enjoy a coffee and parisesane hot dog.


We purchase metro tickets and off we go into the belly of Paris — our first stop the Eiffel Tower, where we stop and help young lovers by taking pictures of them in front of the tower. A young Russian couple returns the favor and takes a photo of August and myself…..how fun!

We rest at the Museum of Modern Art and dine on the patio. Soon back to the metro to continue our exploration.

Our day ended at the Arche de Triumph on the Champs de Elysees

We visited many of our favorite places in Paris and so enjoyed dining at the outdoor cafe with the gracious and fun French wait staff. It seems that whenever we are in Paris that we have returned to Oz.

Sunday May First………..May Day!
The streets are full of flower vendors celebrating this day! We feast upon local meats and cheeses accompanied by croissants — of course and then venture off to the North of Paris for the next leg of our journey…..Belgium! Oh, my mouth waters for the rich beer and a plate of local mussels – and one must not forget the chocolate!!!

The train station is a true representation of all the cultures of the world. People from Africa, in the most beautiful clothes, Germans, Russians, Indians, Pakistani. I found a delightful woman in the tobacco shop who assisted me in purchasing stamps for our post cards and located a postal drop for me.

I am amazed that in the midst of all this chaos and activity when someone stops to be so kind and patient. Our train comes in 45 minutes and we are anxious to be on our way. On the train now in our first class seats, so comfortable and ready to see the sights on this next leg of our voyage. I so marvel at the efficiency of the transportation system here in Europe. Should we have this in the U.S., I believe many more would engage in exploration of our beautiful country. We change trains in Brussels and move on to Gent — watching the charming countryside as we move along.

Guadalajara, Spain

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We took the train from Madrid to Guadalajara — WOW less than five euros round trip!  The taxi from the airport in Madrid to the hotel was 50 euros!  The train was quite charming, a young man played the guitar and sang very happy songs.

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Guadalajara Train Station

We see “La Estacion del Gourmet” across the street so, of course, we run directly there…….for some wine
……..it was a long trip!

August just learned that tomorrow is Easter (BFD) and there will be no buses at all! Also, the cabs are not allowed to take us to the train station. Perhaps we shall sleep here in the street tonite. We found a bus back to the train station and went to visit our friend Antonio who was having a coffee with his friend, Valentin, who upon hearing of our trials and tribulations, is now going to drive us to Penalver!!!! Here we now sit in his very fine car on our way to our destination with his mute uncle, who is rapidly telling wonderful stories with his hands. Evidently there is a tradition in Penalver to find the fattest politico and weigh them and upon doing so present them with their weight in honey! ….charming…perhaps!

……..the owner, Antonio Francisco Gallego Moraza had the wait staff come right over to assist us….

Our night was spent in a hostel in a very, very, very, very, very…….okay you get the idea, smallllllllllllll bedroom with very, very, okay…okay…small beds – yes TWO, with August’s wet…from washing!….people please, stay with me….underwear hanging outside our window.

In all our frugal wisdom (stop laughing), we decided to take the city bus to the central terminal to investigate passage to Penalver (yes…..there is also a town by the name, August’s family was very important and influential in Spain) only to find the bus station CLOSED!!!!! Here we sit in the cold and rain awaiting a bus BACK to the train station to reclaim our luggage at the hotel of many winding stair cases, and find some means of transportation to Penalver. (I was thinking:”If you are so important — where is the royal carriage!!!) Perhaps we will find ourselves in the backof some hay wagon!…at least we would be warm! Still we wait for our bus — now for over an hour!

I went out in the middle of the night to have a Spanish cigarette. The room was on the second floor, up a tiny staircase — yes with our luggage in tow. Imagine it all people!
The next morning we returned to Antonio to seek assistance (no not for our headaches from the wine!)
We did have a most wonderful breakfast of of skirt steak, eggs, ham, mancheco cheese and all was bathed in the most wonderful, fragrant olive oil. Served with the most wonderful, rich coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice all served by our new friends. They presented us the most wonderful pots of local honey in handcrafted pots……OMG….to get this kind of attention back home….one would die!

What vistas we see along our way! Beautiful small villages, with ancient buildings surrounded by rolling hills covered with olive trees and hither and there….ruins of ancient castles! What history these hills hold. We are coming upon the turnoff for Penalver………….looks like our fortunes will hold…..we will see what shall be. Upon our arrival at our most sought after destination, the road has become a one lane rough country road. But, here we come upon the Village of Penalver!

How much can we suffer! There are no rooms available in Penalver! We went into the town square and were immediately surrounded by all the townsfolk — all who attempted to assist us. Calling the cousins and the bells of the village were sounded……….but to no avail. No rooms wer to be had. Off we went with Valentin to his car, cour faces long and sad. We scurried off to the village Tendialla…………will the madness never end…..

Madrid Day Two

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A marvelous flight from San Antonio to Madrid.  First Class with exceptional service and meals.  Ahhhhhso much champagne was consumed.  The seats converted into very comfortable beds.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Arrived at Madrid airport and quickly made our way thru customs – off in a taxi to the Hotel Coloso …….up the stairs………..down the stairs………up the stairs again, poor August, I can tell his knee is hurting.  Our room is quite large and comfortable.  Quickly we change clothes and take off into the streets.  The hotel is located in the old section of Madrid, so the most famous town square is close by.We find our destination – Botin’s, the oldest restaurant in the world!!!  But alas, it is closed.   Oh, only for another 30 minutes.  We wait outside and upon being admitted are seated int the oldest dining room……….alonne!!  Our waiter is so proper and kind and we order the cochinio al orno – a crisp baked suckling pig — oh and he is most tasty and delightful!  We both begin to all asleep during the meal and decide to take off to the hotel.  Yes, then we learn that we prepaid for the day prior!!!!!!!!!  We forgot about the time change…OMG!  Fine, we pay AGAIN and to be we go to sleep for 12 hours!

August at Botin's