and for the record,
I wrote some journal pages for the family
So, here is the running dialogue for most of the days in Madrid
We arrived on Thursday, February 23
just a note to stay in touch
Having some fun times here.
Life is pretty different
in the city,
people are up very late at night
dinner maybe at 8:00
good food: tapas and GREAT coffee last night
elegant Chinese food tonight ( Warren's treat )
The layout of our unit is narrow, but spacious.
One end is a small deck overlooking the street
next the living room beside a small bedroom
kitchen / large table and chairs beside a long hall
another small bedroom along same hall
larger bedroom / high ceiling / ladder to upper loft with mattresses / large bathroom
Long hall windows overlooking space between units / clothes lines
( we look through the window to the unit opposite ours, into their eating space.
Bedroom and bath - ours
it is about 1:00 in the morning here and 4:00 back in Seattle.
everyone else is in bed
Outside, down on the street, music, talking, dogs,
Maybe i will go down and check it out ☺
February 25 Saturday
So, since i was up partying until about 1:30 ☺
i slept in until 7:15
after breakfast Darrell and I walked around the neighborhood
The streets in the area are narrow, cobble stone and brick. The buildings are tall, so not much sunlight or warmth from the sun.
After a few blocks a little traffic. especially motorcycles.
A beautiful Cathedral. took pictures, but will have to wait until i get home. I don't think i can even instagram without roaming charge ( i should check )
Stopped for a mid morning snack. Fresh bread, tomatoes, olive oil.
coffee. I mean espresso. I forgot to say Cafe latte. so they serve espresso.
Then Warren's mother and aunt came over to help with wedding favors, etc.
little bags with blue and white candies
cones with confetti
small scrolls for guests to write / guest book / then tie with little blue ribbons
Lydia brought fresh sandwiches and chocolate croissants.
then ice cream
home for dinner (Darrell and Ron got "take home" chicken, fries, tossed salad and brie )
prayer and worship meeting. part spanish, part English.lots of music. guitar, violin, Lydia at the mic reminding me of Mimi.
walked back home
stop for gelato.
The streets. sidewalks are alive at 10:00 with waiting lines at restaurants. many outside places with warming lights.
Tomorrow we hope to go to a large park
Church in English is at 5:00
hope to take lots of pictures. this is such an old city. much of the architecture is unchanged, though interiors have been updated. Like the building we are in - very new inside, but outside very old.
must be midnight, lots of talking outside.
still pretty cold. tonight i wore both jackets.
but the sun was out today.
also, hope to find a carousel....if anyone googles and finds an address, expect a prize.
Sunday in Madrid.
It is almost 8:00 and in the community outside our window it is very quiet.
We have plans to go to the English service at 5:00
Everyone ( except Moi ) slept in today.
It was 10:15 before everyone was up and fed.
Then off to...El Rastro Market.
Never been to any like it.
Well, in London, there is a street that has a Saturday market and we just happened to be there for that one - but it was not even 1/2 as big as this one.
There must have been over 200 vendors. Probably 75 % were different. The rest were repeats. Clothes, watches, signs ( mostly in English ) jewelry, toys, electronics, music....
Also street musicians and mimes.
( not sure how to spell that ) At one point the crowd was so thick that we had to turn around and move a bit.
It took place from 10 - 2. We lasted about two hours, making 4 purchases and then slipped into a Cafe for some very good coffee.
The park - Retiro. Huge, beautiful day. Large lake with boaters. Many outside cafes with one inviting us to sit down. Grilled cheese, chips, coffee and Sangria. It is the national drink ( I think ) so we had to try it. Lots of citrus slices and ice and yum. Sidewalk vendors and entertainers
( puppeteers and singers, etc. )
I am loving the children. Though, there seem to be more dogs than kids. It is Sunday afternoon,
beautiful day in a park !
And people smoke on the street, but they do not drink coffee or eat while walking. ( seen twice today, obvious tourists )
I forget that Spain is Europe. The children are so stylish. Haven't seen any little girls in jeans. And people do seem to dress up more...also,though lots of black, there is much colorful hair and short skirts and...trying to take pictures.
Then to church. 5:00 English service. Very small, but very loud musicians. Singing, sermon, communion.
First , coffee, cold drinks and chips. They like chips.
We walked back home
and finished the puzzle
so almost everyone went to bed early.
Tina wants to figure out a way to go to Costco in Madrid
( It is a couple miles beyond the metro, so we are not sure how to manage that )
We want to hit Toledo and the Prado Museum.
Also, ride the Carousel.
Nine days to go
Darrell and I walked to Plaza Mayor to find NO Carousel !! Tourist info said No but, much, much more...
..mimes, police on horseback.food, shops, tour groups, and people selling tours.
1. bought a tour to Toledo for Tuesday ( Hm T and T )
2. bought lunch
checked out souvenir shops for a couple things...nothing so far
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE FROM SPAIN?
Sure would love to hear from you.
Next to the plaza was a "market" San Migel ...maybe 10 vendors - like Crossroads food court, but more elegant, and much closer together. All of you would love it. (photos )
Tina and Ron made the trip to Costco. It was on the top of her list, and not easy. We have no car. There is no direct bus, metro, train to Costco. It is close to the airport and out of town. So, Ron planned the trip for Tina. It was exhausting, but she loved making the visit.
Dinner at home ( where did all these left overs come from? )
Walked to our new favorite Gelato place for dessert., about 8:00
the city is so alive.
A Antique/thrift shop - found a new puzzle. one euro
the end to another great day !
A terrific Tuesday in Toledo
A very sunny day - still cold and a little windy ( very windy from time to time )
The ride out of Madrid took about an hour. Many stops to pick up more passengers, but a great time to take pictures.
Madrid. I can't get enough !
Toledo is an old city. Very old. Tour bus first stop - picture from a high point ( My sister would love it ☺. NOT ! )
The city is known for swords and knives
the most highly regarded cathedral in Spain. It took 250 years to build. I took some photos outside, none allowed inside ( i tried to take some inside, but they did not turn out ). Also it is huge. and the tour through the whole church cost $10 and we were too late. and Darrell did not want to do it. I am so in awe ...there is so much detail, beauty. I will try to google it.
Also, El Greco, an artist, from Toledo. also a restaurant with the same name, very nice. Darrell and i had lunch and chocolate cake.We sat next to a family on their spring break. Teachers. The daughter did her best to speak in English - it is taught in all the schools - takes some bravery, and she did great.
Cobble stone streets. Very little traffic. Some streets are blocked with posts and when you drive up to them, you put $ in a meter and the posts sink into the ground.
We had about 2 1/2 hours for lunch and walking through the city before our bus took us back to Madrid. We arrived back 8:30 p.m. ( left at 11:15 a.m. )
more to come...
Wednesday March 2
The changing of the guard
just horsing around.
The "event" started at 1130 a.m.with marching band and then soldiers on horseback and then more horses. Many more soldiers marching, etc entered the gated area in front of the palace.
Then the pooper scoopers came through the outer area, and did their work.
..about now, Tina saw an empty horse, then an aid car and then one less soldier. (we did not see this but we believe it )
Then the band and marching and a wagon with a canon - and a wagon with cannon balls - they put a cannon ball into the cannon. For display only.
More marching etc.
and then they are all marching and riding off
It is 1:00 and we are hungry. We walk to the oldest restaurant in the world. Botin. There is a little sign from the Guinness book of world records, so it is the truth.
Very elegant, yet cozy and very good service. ( photos of food and the bathroom ) and much, much more )
Roasted Pig and Roasted lamb their specialties.
Cream Cake - several layers with meringue "frosting"
By now we are so full and now it is time to walk home and rest.
We have a bite to each and then leave for
English/Spanish gathering ...
This is an hour and a half with people Lydia and her friends have become acquainted with and while helping them with their English, they develop a friendship and will be open to the gospel
On the way home we just happen to pass by our favorite gelato place " Patagonia"
That is the end of a good day
it is now tomorrow 1:15 to be exact.
Up a little late today ( I think I had coffee last night and not decaf )
Everyone is up and anticipating the arrival of Stephen
His flight was late out of Newark ( like ours )
but he made the connecting flight ( not like us)
So he was off the plane, carrying his only suitcase, and in a taxi and here 10:01
Our lunch plans include 6 of us ( Stephen prefers to sleep )
Kelcie and Andrew knew of a great Mexican restaurant.Yes, Mexican in Spain.
Very fun decorations. Very good food. Even a fun salad for Moi, without cilantro.
On the walk home we found several more fun things, including a Spanish mug for me ( or gift for someone when we get home ) But it will be nice to have one mug that is not blue or white like the nice set of apartment dishes.
Lots of sun today. The streets are busy and great photo opportunities.
just can't get enough of Madrid !
The wedding festivities begin...
8:00 p.m. That is the hour for dinner around here, if you are Spanish.
Rehearsal dinner at a Chinese Restaurant . Yes, Chinese in Spain
And there is no rehearsal, just the dinner.
Lots of good and typical Chinese fare.
There are about 20 of us.
When we have finished eating, Warren and Lydia stand to thank all of us and to give cards to those who have been and will be part of the wedding preparation and ceremony.
Then Ron and Tina stand and give gifts from Washington to all the Spanish / Peruvian relatives and friends.
Then Warren's mother had gifts for all the Imhoff's and us !!
In our pretty turquoise bag were three chocolate bars - Peruvian chocolate and a Peruvian magnet and a large tapestry / woven / blanket / wall hanging from Peru. Very colorful and
We walked toward home. Stopped at a Plaza while chatting and
there are many vendors with their goods spread out on large white mats - these mats close up and become a huge bag that they carry on their back on their way home, or as we saw tonight, in a hurry to get off the street as motor cycle police are circling. The vendors madly rush out of sight until the police are out of sight and then, they are back with their goods on display.
Wish I could have had my camera handy for that .
Back to our apartment ... and most all are exhausted and off to bed.
Final friday and final day for Lydia before she becomes Mrs. Flores
Ron, Tina, Darrell and I take the metro to Lydia's apartment.
Since she will miss 3 Sunday School classes, she wants to leave lesson plans and crafts for the person taking her place
So, the five of us work together cutting out and pasting and such
packing some boxes of her personal items
( still praying about a place for them to live when they get back from their honeymoon. )
Then Darrell and I metro back to our neighborhood
and the 3 Imhoffs meet up with Warren to view two possible places to live.
Once again we did some shopping at the megiddo
and again, we had some amazing tapas.
Police on horseback. Beautiful old apartments . It is sunny and many people are out on the streets and seating at outside cafe's.
Tina and I walk to one of the local bakeries and prepare for the girl gathering tomorrow. After the civil ceremony, we will all come back to our apartment and the girls will get make up, hair and dressed for the wedding at 7:00 p.m.
a rest and then pedicures for 4 of us.
Tina, Lydia, Kelcie and me.
Time for the first season, episode one of Downton Abbey.
one more guest has arrived. Brian, from Seattle, he is going to take pictures.
The local Tapa restaurant has an upstairs dining room - surprise - and very nice.
Some new tapas, flank steak, the national beverage and much more. Andrew and Kelcie treated.
Short walk to Patagonia ( Gelato for the fourth time )
By 9:00 Tina is in bed, three more are in their rooms, one is out meeting old friends and the puzzle is finished.
Now what? !
Saturday... The Wedding Day
A beautiful day
The sun is shining
It is the Wedding Day
Started with the Civil service at 11:30
many of Warren's relatives
The Imhoff family and us
The court room was large and we sat in the front row - very puffy blue theatre seats
We do not know what was said ( Spanish )
but we saw them holding hands and signing papers
and they kissed.
A little gathering outside the court and then
back to our place
Tina had provided a very nice selection of bread, cheese, meats,
heart shaped cookies and other little delights
About 1:00 the makeup artist Julia
( and she was a real Dior artist )
then the hairdresser Irina
( and along with skill with hair, she can talk )
Two other women , Daniela and Rebecca, came with heavy duty cameras and
took many, many photos of the 5 hours of preparation
About 4:00 Brian, the male photographer came and took shots too.
Though I was prepared to be the usual me, I got a little excited as Irina began her magic.
So, I sat down in one of the yellow chairs, and I am very glad I did ( photo)
Then Julia came over and before I could tell her, no thanks, she smiled and made some changes. Nothing too drastic ( as long as I was not seeing myself in mirrors all night, I was just noticing the other ladies and their "changes" )
Time to dress.
One bridesmaid had a zipper problem. It took three of us to sew her into her dress. Done.
The bride is now struggling to get into her dress. Done
just about 20 minutes after the cars have come to take us to the wedding.
( just a note. Very few people have cars. In our neighborhood, there is no parking, no garages and very little traffic..appears to be only taxis and public vehicles. So for us to get to the wedding we would walk to the metro, then to a train and then....
As it was, we just walked to the metro stop and there was Pedro waiting for us )
A large and elaborate restaurant.
About 100 guests
Groom's side, the men are dressed in their best black suits. The women are very, very festive.
We are in the second row, right behind Ron and Tina
The ceremony is a little different
I will have to think about it later
the mothers lit candles, the bride and groom united the candles
They recited their own vows which appeared up on the screen behind them - in English
The parents gathered around them and prayed for them
Bechy sang a solo...( she had been sick, but her voice held out )
Those of us on the aisle got to throw confetti on the bride and groom as they came down the aisle.
Then the reception.
Tables around the room set up with various small plates.
and the wedding cake with white frosting and real white roses.
They cut the cake with a sword.
Plus a round small cake with a crest in the center
Plus a larger "cookie" which they broke with a hammer.
We left with Ron and Tina about 11:30, kindness of Pedro.
Andrew and Kelcie came about 1:30 and the party was still going on.
Thankful for Sunday
A day of Rest
5:00 English service
not going to tell you, BUT, you girls would love it
(not sure about Damon, he must be sleeping, I have not heard a word from him
however, I have still had some moments of homesickness -- reading messages from home..but, keep them coming..love them
Our last Sunday
The day of the major big market - just like last week.
So we walked through it a bit.
had a bit of lunch
walked a bit more
Home for a rest
5:00 English church
a very good message
7:00 we met with Enrico for
First an introduction to Tapas
Long ago, when the workers came into town for afternoon rest,
they would buy a glass of wine and then plates of refreshment were given, free of charge. by order of the King.
So the workers could go back to work recharged and not "under the weather"
Now, there are a few places that offer the same. But most Cafe's and bars offer a free plate of olives.
So we are off to three restaurants
each one is a little different... photos in blog
I know my girls would have loved this adventure.
turns out I walked over 6 miles today.
The sun is shining
the weather is warming up a bit
About 11:00 we all set out for a market up north
There is a large market - food to take home - photos -
a few cafe's, a few merchants,
Then a walk into that neighborhood
lunch with Ron and Tina
photos...we ordered from a menu and staff who knew only Spanish.
Thankfully, they love french fries.
Found a fun shoe store.
Another episode of Downton
Darrell and I left about 4:30 to walk to the
Along the way we found a great looking restaurant with outdoor seating
and an English speaking staff. So we had a great dinner.
Dad had paella and I had grilled fish ( white, not sure what kind )
The Prado is free from 6 to 8 and hurried over about 6:00. There was a long, long line, but it only took about 20 minutes for all of us to enter.
This is an art Museum. We saw the two most famous pictures and walked through most of the exhibits. Just before closing time, 8:00, we had viewed enough.
Walked back home on a little different route. Did a little window shopping.
Just the boys were home.
Tina and Kelcie had gone to the Flamenco dance show
Pretty soon they texted, asking for an escort home and stop for dinner.
It had been at least 4 hours since we had eaten, so we joined Ron and went to the Plaza.
We had a nice outdoor final night gathering. ( minus Stephen and Andrew )
One of those silent vendors came by with roses...hoping for $$... two of us came home with one.
and good night Madrid, tomorrow night we will be sleeping in a hotel next to the airport
Sorry, I was wrong, we are still in Madrid for one more day
the difference is
at 11:00 we had to check out of our luxury apartment
take a cab ( two cabs for the 5 of us and our luggage )
check in to a hotel near the airport.
Our flight on Wednesday is at 7:45 in the morning,
international flights require two hour prior check in
so it makes sense to have a 10 minute ride to the airport
instead of what could be
an hour or hour and a half.
So we are the B & B Hotel
Pretty much the basic bed and bath ( no shampoos, hand cream, shower caps, etc )
But, a nice big bath tub. Also, a bidet.
There is a TV. Five stations and one in English. We have managed for two weeks with no TV, just a few episodes on Tina's Net Flex of Downton Abbey
There is a charge for breakfast ( but we leave at 5:15, so no worries )
There is a charge for the shuttle ( but you gotta do what you gotta do )
The location is sort of industrial. Well, motels surrounded by freeways.
across the street is another hotel.
Down the street is a large hotel/apartment complex. Huge, with swimming pool, store, restaurant and bar. The structure from the outside is all grey concrete - almost like a prison
( don't tell anyone )
Back to our front yard, a little "grass "area with tables and chairs. So Tina set up a little lunch for us. She had gathered some of the left overs from the apartment and the sun was shining and it was a fun picnic.
By now, it is 12:30 and plans for dinner at 6;00
So, we rest, then Darrell and I walk . across the street to the Crowne Plaza. Then down to the Prison, for an inside look at the lobby, swimming pool, restaurant, have a little refreshment
( They have tapas, so to speak..potato chips, and three kinds of candy - interested ?, well you know who snagged a few samples. )
Back to our spot in time for a rest and prep for dinner at 6:00
But, this is Spain and dinner at our hotel is not until 7:30. Across the street 7:00 and the prison 8:00.
So we sit in the lobby and chat with Ron and Tina.
Stephen has walked around, taken a bus into town, did some eating, and then came back.
So we have dinner at 7:30.
Ron and Stephen: pizza
Darrell: Tuna, but it did not look like tuna
Moi: Spaghetti Carbonara
Desserts: 3 chocolate cake: looked like chocolate pie with chocolate topping
Lemon Mousse; very lemony.
And now it is time for a cup of coco
The lobby dispenser has coffee, coffee with touch of milk, white coffee, espresso, and hot chocolate. The decaf button does not work.
Did I mention they have a bath tub?
A nice big bath tub....
Wednesday morning we are up early, cabs to the airport, and a few hours later...HOME
A great trip. We were very privileged to join our friends for two weeks of an unforgettable adventure !
Thank you Ron and Tina..