Caroli and Mike in Spain 2016 travel blog

Templo Debod

Parque de Oeste

View of cathedral from Parque de Oeste

Plaza de Espana

Me & Sancho Panza on donkey, Plaza de Espana

Dulciena, Don Quixote's sweetheart

Edificio Metropolis (1910) on Gran Via

Caixa Forum

Stairway inside Caixa Forum

Bandera de Espana


17 junio, viernes

This morning, Mike worked at the computer, planning our trip to Lisbon. One easy decision was to fly instead of take the train. The train ride is 9 hrs 30 mins at night. The train makes many stops. The flight is only 1 hr 20 mins. and cheaper than the train.

In our quest to leave no street in Madrid unwalked, Mike and I decided to trek to a site called Templo Debod, located in a park across town. The jaunts we take to interesting sites are often more fun than the destinations! Our routes are often circuitous, and we enjoy the shops, cafes and interesting architecture that we would not otherwise have seen. Occasionally, when we’ve traveled way the heck off our planned route and our feet are sore after walking 5 miles from home, Mike (my hero) somehow gets us back in 3 miles!

Back to the temple: It is 2,200+ years old and was moved from Egypt to Spain in the late 1960s. It was apparently in danger of being swamped by rising waters during the building of the Aswan Dam. It is one of the few works of ancient Egyptian architecture that can be seen outside Egypt. The temple is in a 240-acre park, Parque del Oeste (Western Park), and is another gorgeous oasis in this beautiful city. There are great views of the cathedral and palace in the distance.

Nearby, we visited the Plaza de Espana, surrounded by buildings that were once considered skyscrapers. There are huge monuments of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza on horseback and donkey respectively. Cervantes is seated behind them, overlooking his literary creations. On Cervantes’ right is a sculpture of Dulcinea del Toboso, Don Quixote’s sweetheart. Cervantes, in the character of Don Quixote, writes “... her hairs are gold, her forehead Elysian fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her fairness snow…”. [Volume 1/Chapter XIII]. The only similarity I could see between this description of Dulcinea and her statue is the marble bosom.

We ambled along the Gran Via, Madrid’s famous shopping avenue. Besides fancy stores, it also has many hotels and movie theaters. But what makes this street so special is the architectural design of many of the large buildings. We had to watch where we stepped as we looked up to see the structures.

You would think we’d arrive home and take off our walking shoes for good, but we went back out later in the evening, ostensibly to visit our little Plaza Olavides, but really to get some frozen yogurt. We earned it, after an 8+ mile day.

18 junio, sabado

This morning, we booked our hotel room in Lisbon. There were so many to chose from! It took some time.

Today, I took Mike on a “mystery walk”. He cast his fate to the wind and went along for this adventure-on-foot. The Caixa (ka-eesa) Forum is across the street from The Prado Museum. It was an old power station, renovated in 2001-2007. Brick on the lower part and oxidized (sounds better than rusted) cast-iron on the upper part, we couldn’t decide if it was attractive or ugly. It is certainly different. The Caixa Forum is a cultural center with exhibit halls. We decided not to visit the exhibits this time, but had a look around. We really liked the unusual stainless steel stairway!

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is in the same neighborhood, and we were delighted to see that there was a Wyeth exhibit going on until June 19. We enjoyed seeing work by both Wyeth painters, father, Andrew, and son, Jamie. Years ago, I would sometimes see Jamie Wyeth (from afar) on Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine, where the Wyeth family spent summers. Anyhow, there was plenty of other art to see at “the Thyssen”, (as the locals call it, Teesun). We stayed until almost 7 p.m. (closing time) and missed seeing one floor, but as we say here in Madrid, “Volveremos!”, (We will be back!).

On the walk home, we realized that we had put another 8+ miles on our shoe treads. Mike had a blister on his toe and I had a very sore left leg and foot. We slept like two old people with sore feet!

19 junio, domingo

Since there is no Unitarian Universalist congregation here (we checked), we decided to take the metro over to Almudena Cathedral for the 10:30 a.m. Mass. We had hoped to hear some good music, since the organ looks spectacular. It was disappointing. I enjoyed hearing the liturgy in Spanish, but there wasn’t an ounce of joy or warmth in the service or among the congregants. We wondered if perhaps the people were mostly tourists and not part of the cathedral community. Anyway, a man sang a few parts of the Mass, but couldn’t be seen (I looked everywhere), and I hope he keeps his day job. The service ended in about 30 minutes which, in this case, was good. Mike and I attended a Mass in Strasbourg that had wonderful organ and choir music.

We took the metro home and hung around all day, letting Mike’s blister heal. We enjoyed our weekly Skype visit with Carla and kids and heard that it is 118 in Phoenix today....yikes! Later, we walked over to Thousand Cups to see our favorite waiter and have a light supper. That place never disappoints. On the way home, we did a little recreational grocery shopping!

Te deseo lo mejor.

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