Spain
Palacio de Santa Cruz

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  • Day54

    Madrid

    June 13 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 37 °C

    Breakfast came with my hotel room so I had a lazy morning. I then walked up to the Cortes area to have a look around.

    After lunch I went to the Thyssen-Bornemisza gallery as suggested by Sandra. It was much bigger than I expected and had a huge range of artists. The highlight was an immersive musical video installation by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson which was amazing.

    It was 40 degrees today and very draining. It was a relief to get back to my air conditioned room.

    I heard from my camino friend Lesley from Durham today. She was also suffering an injury and we spent many days with each other filling in time eating, drinking, commiserating and chatting and then later bumping into each other. After a few more days of rest, she began walking again with Ann and Den and today walked into Finistere! An amazing achievement!

    Sleep’n Atocha
    12 kms
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    Paul D'Angelo

    Had to share a bathroom at the hotel?😆

     
  • Day53

    Santiago to Madrid

    June 12 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

    I caught an early taxi to the airport for my 9.20am flight to Madrid. We walked alongside the airport on the last leg of the Camino but it seemed much further in the taxi.

    I then caught the airport bus to Atocha Station and my hotel is just a short walk away. It’s another great room with big windows and a balcony overlooking the plaza.

    It’s very hot. I had a walk around the neighbourhood and another gigantic pizza for lunch (and the rest for dinner).

    After a brief siesta I went for a walk through some of Retiro Park and then through the Botanical Gardens. I joined the queue for the free entry into the Prado (every day for the last two hours of opening) but they reached the quota when I was almost at the front of the line. I will try again tomorrow. I have found that entry to most places is greatly reduced for the over 65s so it is fairly economical to go to most museums and galleries.

    Although it is Sunday a lot of shops were open and Madrid is very busy. It is an entirely different pace to my time in Spain so far and I am looking forward to seeing more tomorrow.

    Sleep’n Atocha
    10 kms
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    Lisa Welsman

    Love your posts Diane 😍 enjoy your time in Madrid . Xx

    Narelle Campbell

    Oh that is hot! If you like a beautiful small art gallery visit the stunning Museo Sorolla. Enjoy your last days.

     
  • Day51

    “Boring” Travel day

    May 11 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    It’s a “boring” travel day today - tho I still even relish these days. Seeing the different airports, navigating the mass transits, taking the buses, walking up out of the subways into the old squares and seeing them for the first time, even watching the flight attendants do their jobs in all different languages. I can’t understand them - but I know what they’re saying!! I am fascinated by the most mundane and even the routine on this journey.

    We left Bordeaux and flew to Madrid, Spain! Not the end of France for us — We’ll be back to the southern coast the first of July.

    We got in to Madrid in the late afternoon so we made it to our hostel, got our bearings, had a quick bite at a restaurant that is considered the “fast food” of Madrid — had beer, cokes, a small burger, small chicken sandwich AND a flat bread — all for under $10! Crazy. Haven’t seen “cheaper” food (without seriously hunting for it) since Costa Rica. We also went to Los Artesanos 1902, a chocolateria, and had Madrid’s signature churros dipped in hot chocolate - more like a thick chocolate soup! It was delicious! Can’t wait to see what Madrid has to show us in the morning

    This trip feels SO crazy - going to places I only have seen on TV or in the movies. I never imagined I would make it to all of these places. It’s actually really fun seeing the world this way - comparing/contrasting the different cultures as we go from one to the next. I still can’t even absorb what I’m doing tho — as I book the next legs of our journey to places like Switzerland and Budapest! 🤯
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    Don Norman

    Uncle Don and I enjoyed our time in Madrid especially the town square’s sitting and watch the people walking about in the evening, grandparents, parents pushing or holding hands of their children. Wonderful memories.

    5/11/22Reply
    Christie Mitchell

    It seems like a GREAT place to people watch! Too tired tonight, but can’t wait to just sit around and absorb the surroundings tomorrow

    5/11/22Reply
    Lisa Pelletier

    I love your new perspective on the world! Travel is wonderful for the soul.

    5/11/22Reply
    Christie Mitchell

    It’s definitely been a life changing experience. And I’m only 7 weeks into it today. It REALLY is good for the soul. ❤️

    5/11/22Reply
    Julie Burdette

    I love that you love the mundane. That was my biggest complaint about Deb when we were in Rome. She was constantly on her phone. I didn't get it. We were in Rome!!! I wanted to soak every last thing in.

    5/12/22Reply
    Christie Mitchell

    EXACTLY! I’m here to experience everything I can. Seeing it all. Also, jordan doesn’t pay for a sim in each country, so has no access to her phone unless we’re near wifi. I have a very limited data plan, but reserve it for gps needs and such. It’s nice to not be “connected” so not even tempted to sit on our phones — until back in our hostel each night.

    5/12/22Reply
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  • Day52

    Madrid’s beautiful parks & gardens

    May 12 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 73 °F

    We spent the day wandering thru some of the most beautiful botanical gardens and parks today in Madrid. First went to the Jardin Botanical and then to El Retiro Park - both just gorgeous. Both had sections devoted to huge rose gardens and I can’t even describe the smells as we walked through. Very relaxing day, which was really needed after our push thru Paris and Bordeaux.

    Figuring out food in these different countries has almost become comical. We go to pretty authentic places, so most menus aren’t in English. Usually, we can kind of figure out what we’re ordering with google translate and such. But in Madrid especially, it’s been tough. Today’s lunch we had ZERO idea what we were actually going to be given, or even what was in it - ended up being really good, but makes for interesting times.
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    Kathryn Kelley

    The picture of happiness

    5/13/22Reply
     
  • Day53

    Madrid … day 2

    May 13 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    So today was a tough day. I snapped. Broke down crying trying to order my breakfast. After so many days in foreign cities/countries, it all got too much for me today. EVERYTHING I do here is so much harder than in “normal” life … ie, ordering food, figuring out where food is, WHAT food is, locating anywhere we want to go, navigating public transport (vs just getting in my car), finding a bathroom, using the shower (handles are all different and backwards). You name it, it takes twice as much effort to accomplish it. Don’t get me wrong - this is a trip of a lifetime, it’s absolutely magical … but some days it’s really hard, too.

    Madrid hasn’t been my favorite city - at least not yet. It’s not quite as “magical” to me as France - but that was a hard act to follow. Jordan came down with the stomach flu today so put a damper on activities - pretty sure it’s not food poisoning since we share almost everything we order, and I’m still feeling great.

    Before Jordan came down sick we did end up getting to the Cathedral de Almudina (the biggest church in Madrid) which was gorgeous as always, and we made it to the Royal Palace. They only allowed pics in one area so couldn’t capture how beautiful it was inside — but damn, trust me, it was amazing.
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    Lisa Pelletier

    Hang in there!

    5/13/22Reply
    Julie Burdette

    You're bound to have days like this. 50 days is a long time to be on the road and in foreign countries. Don't beat yourself up. Magic is around the corner!!

    5/13/22Reply
    Christie Mitchell

    I assume.

    5/14/22Reply
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  • Day2

    Madrid

    March 22 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

    رسیدم به مادرید و با مترو رفتم تا هاستلی که تو مرکز شهر رزرو کرده بودم. بعد ازینکه وسایلم رو گذاشتم تو هاستل زدم بیرون تا گشتی تو شهر بزنم و سوپرمارکت برم.
    روز بعد تو مادرید باید چند تا مغازه میرفتم. نمیتونستم عصای کوهنوردی رو تو هواپیما با خودم بیارم بنابراین اون رو از مادرید خریدم. گشتی تو شهر زدم. شهر خیلی قدیمی به نظر نمیاد. ولی شلوغ و زنده بود. مغازه‌ها و رستوران‌ها و کافه‌ها بازن و مردم در جنب و جوش. مثل همه پایتخت‌های دیگه.
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  • Day14

    Cinco Fotografías- Day 2 Madrid

    April 27 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    We thought that today would be a great day to get a little sense of the city by wandering without a specific agenda.

    I want to start with the notion that we are really appreciative of having the opportunity to stay in Chuecas, a gay neighborhood in Madrid. Back home, we have been startled by the events in Florida that strive to make queer people invisible. When I first came out, I wanted to move to an urban area and live in a gay ghetto. It's not that I wanted to be segregated, but I wanted to be in space where I didn't always have to self-censor to just make others comfortable. I want to be clear that I'm so very grateful for straight allies, but when we wander in the streets of Chueca, I was reminded how exhausting it can be to be in space where you're on alert about whether you will be harmed for just being who you are. I don't want to get lost on this tangent; I just want to express my gratitude at how Spain has strived to create safe space despite a tradition deeply routed in Catholocism. More on that later...

    After a lovely light breakfast and cafe con leche, we headed to the Royal Palace of Madrid. It's massive and we enjoyed walking adjacent to the grounds and witnessing the changing of the guard. There is a beautiful Cathedral adjacent to the palace, but we wondered instead to the Crypta de la Almudena. This was the burial grounds of the wealthy and powerful people of Madrid. When I pondered the donations that a family must have contributed to be buried in this magnificent space, I also thought of "los pobres " and their very different experience. Nevertheless, I was moved by the stunning artwork, stained glass, mosaics and gold where the wealthy have left their loved ones to rest over the last hundred plus years.

    As we walked back home, I noticed several Progress Pride flags. The evoked a bit of home town Pride as the designer is a non-binary artist who lives in Portland.

    After resting in the afternoon, we went to a Flamenco performance that was recommended by a former colleague in Washington. We loved the brilliant costumes, singing, the amazing guitarists, and the dancers. I have to admit that my knees ached vicariously watching the energetic footwork.

    It was a really lovely first day. The Portland rainy season is chasing us a bit; however that has not dampened our joy in exploring this amazing city.
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    Kelli Houston

    Pride flags are amazing. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit

    5/4/22Reply
     
  • Day13

    Cinco Fotografías-Madrid Day 1

    April 26 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    After a leisurely final morning in Barcelona, we boarded the AVE (fast train) to Madrid. It really is remarkable to experience such a smooth train ride while traveling at 300 km/hour.

    The near scenery was a bit of a blur (see photo) as we whisked by vineyards and arid lands that reminded us of Southern Wyoming. The notion of arriving in less time than Amtrak takes from Portland to Seattle when the distance is doubled reminds us that the U.S. really lags in rail transportation.

    We noticed that the train and the metro experience was considerably more crowded and intense. I was really put off by a man who pushed me as we were getting off the train. I did notice that it triggered a jolt of testosterone, and I was searching my Spanish vocabulary for every curse I could think of to express. After a few deep breaths, my better self prevailed. I do know the words though. Similarly, the metro was very crowded, and I was worried that I would floor an elderly woman with my backback as I tried not to bump her as the crowd surged in at every stop. I did feel calmer and amused watching and listening to a young boy sing to his father in the midst of the chaos. In retrospect It certainly makes sense about our initial transit experience here. Madrid is about 6 million people- three times the population of Barcelona.

    We made our way to our rented apartment which is in a lovely spot overlooking the Pedro Zerolo Plaza. Shortly after we arrived and settled in, there was a brief thunderstorm, and we wandered a few blocks to a nearby paella restaurant. It is remarkable how inexpensive and tasty the wine is. We had a really great mixed paella.
    After dinner we wandered the neighborhood and sampled the gelato.Gelato.. Jim C had coffee/hazelnut mix and I enjoyed lime/pistachio.

    We are staying in the Chueca neighborhood which is known to be the gay neighborhood. At the end of the evening we dropped by a local bar and we met the owner. He was very welcoming and he recommended some restaurants in the neighborhood. When we heard his accent, we asked if he was from Ireland. Sure enough, he hails from Dublin. When he heard that we were spending our last month in Ireland, he also gave us several tips for our upcoming travels there.

    We are excited about checking out Madrid, and we're grateful for an easy travel day.
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    Sharon Smith

    It’s amazing how large and yet so small this global experience is ❣️

    4/27/22Reply
     
  • Day54

    Last day in Madrid

    May 14 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

    Miles: 7.32 Steps: 17081
    Flights stairs: 15

    Not too sad to be saying goodbye to Madrid - it wasn’t my favorite city. They DO public parks VERY well, I will say. Beautiful green spaces everywhere. But other than that, it wasn’t really for me. Luckily, Jordan woke up to find her stomach bug was all gone. Whatever it was only lasted about 12 hrs.

    We went to Mercado San Miguel for an early lunch of Tapas. Really yummy. Then off to an art museum to specifically see an exhibition of American landscape paintings - the museum wanted to bring American artists work here to show Europeans their talent. It was pretty cool.

    I’m not quite sure what’s up with Europe having Egyptian artifacts, but we visited the Temple of Debod - an actual Egyptian temple it was being destroyed in floods in 1968, and Egypt asked anyone in the world to help save this temple, and Spain came to the rescue. They dismantled, shipped and rebuilt it here. Crazy.

    The plaza mayor is the central gathering place in old town Madrid - we headed there for dinner and a final farewell.
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    Julie Burdette

    We saw meat like that hanging everywhere in Italy too.

    5/14/22Reply
    Julie Burdette

    It must be done!!! Just like the toe shot on the beach.

    5/14/22Reply
    Julie Burdette

    That's a beautiful shot. So pretty all lit up.

    5/14/22Reply
     
  • Day228

    Madrid

    February 24 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    While Ronan and Regal settle into their new surroundings of the boatyard, Ruby, Colm and I take the train to Madrid.
    We arrive into the city centre station after dark and do our best to soak up the big city atmosphere while we walk the 20 minutes to our accommodation carrying our bags.
    Our apartment is in the centre of the old town and we start off the next morning, luggage free, on walking route suggested in ‘The Rough guide to Spain’. It brings us to different churches and plazas and we find the convent it mentions that sells biscuits. The biscuits are dry and a bit of a rip off at 10 euros but the experience is worth it. The nuns in the Convento de los Carboneras are an enclosed order and so we do the whole transaction through a rotating wooden shelf and never catch a glimpse of them. This mystery instills in us a momentary religious fervor and we spend the next 20 minutes in Religious shop. The shopkeeper is surprised at our interest in the Priests vestments, church statutes and mass paraphernalia and very kindly shows us the contents of several tiny portable mass kits.
    We continue ramble through Madrid and arrive at the enormous Palacio Real. Once inside we decide to go straight to the Armoury which is incredible - the Armour they have on display is more elaborate than anything we have seen or read about in fact or fiction. It is hard to imagine people moving in the suits not to mind doing battle in them.
    We continue into the main palace and are blown away by one amazing room after another - So many chandeliers, ceramics, gold, silk covered walls, tapestries, carpets, woodwork and plasterwork. Some of the rooms took years to complete. Photography is prohibited which turns out to be a blessing as I would have taken hundreds of pictures.
    We have a lovely Chinese meal and go to a Chinese jewellery making shop before returning to the apartment- we have more touristy things to do later this evening so we watch a few episodes of Brooklyn 99 and have a few chalky convent biscuits to renew our sightseeing strength.
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Palacio de Santa Cruz

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