Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Madrid, Part 2

I'm back!  Lee and I spent the long weekend hiking all over southern Germany.  Missy would be proud, there were lots of stairs and even some mountains involved.  And I feel like I gained ten pounds and I don't even *like* German food...except desserts.  I get along with German desserts.

Regardless, here I am with the last of the Spain pictures.  It only took 6 weeks!

So Lee and I spent a good part of the day walking all over Madrid as you saw in the last post, and then we met back up with Missy and Bennet at the hotel around 4 or 5 in the afternoon.  I went back up to the room to rest (remember, I had some kind of vicious bug throughout this whole trip) and the other three went out to this big park near our hotel.  The name escapes me, it's something to do with retirees?

It's a giant park in the middle of Madrid.  Ok, I don't know if we were in the geographic center of the city, but still, giant park in the city.  Which reminds me, I've never been to New York.  Lee and I had a conversation while we were in Germany about the things we haven't seen yet in the States, and NYC was at the top of both our lists.

Look, a duck!  I just liked this one with the reflection and the ripples in the water.


And there's Lee hamming it up solo since I wasn't there to pose with him.

More ducks, just because this is an awesome picture with the reflection.  Way to go, Lee!

And here's a couple of non-ducks because they're cute too.

There's this thing called the Crystal Palace in the middle of the park (I think that's what it was called anyway) and it's kind of this modern art thing inside with these weird colored circles.

There were circles on the floor too and you weren't supposed to step on them.  Modern art is weird.

But that part of the building is pretty.

This statue and pond aren't far from the Crystal Palace.  Our last day in Madrid, our flight left pretty late in the afternoon so Lee and I came back here and just sat around enjoying the scenery for a few hours and had lunch next to the pond.

I had to include this shot too because it looks like a postcard picture to me.

I'm thinking Bennet grabbed the camera for this one, and a few others, but I liked this one best and I don't feel the need to post a super closeup picture of Lee's nose.

They came back to the hotel to get me and we went out for dinner at this place where Bennet and Missy had had lunch.  It's like a 9-story shopping mall and the 9th floor is a bunch of restaurants.  After searching for several minutes, Missy and I managed to snag us a table next to the window so we got to watch the sun go down over the city.

It only took 5 tries to get this pic :)

There was an American food section in the grocery area, so I had to check it out.  Apparently, Europe believes Americans subsist on PopTarts and Quaker oatmeal, both of which were ridiculously expensive.  Oh, and they had canned pumpkin too.

And that's all she wrote for Spain!  So, since it took me so long to get through those pics, I've got quite the photo backlog--hundreds of pics from both the Netherlands and Germany.  So should I continue to go in chronological order and post Amsterdam tulip pics next, or skip forward to German castles?

Toodles for now!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Madrid, Part 1

Let's just keep the Spain train of pictures going, shall we?  Our first full day in Madrid, Bennet and Missy were off with their official tour group most of the day for a trip to Toledo (Holy Toledo, Batman!  I couldn't resist) so Lee and I wandered around on our own for a bit.  Did you know there's an Egyptian temple in the middle of Madrid?

This is the Temple of Debod.  In the 1960s, lots of ancient Egyptian temples and monuments along the Nile were in danger of flooding from the Aswan Dam, so an international group of archaeologists worked to remove the buildings from their original sites and save them from destruction.  The countries who helped out the most were gifted with temples, so there's this one in Spain and that's also why there's an Egyptian temple in New York.

Note to self:  don't wear a shirt that is almost the same color as your jacket.  It's bugging me in the pics :p

It's free to go in the temple, though they have some guard dudes who mostly make sure that there aren't too many people in there at one time, 'cause it's pretty small inside.  Lots of hieroglyphs, though they're a bit hard to see in the pics.

You could press buttons to illuminate the hieroglyphs on the walls but I don't think it necessarily helped with taking the pictures.

On one of the upper floors, they've got a scale model of what the whole temple complex looked like on its original site.  The inner part of the temple was the oldest, from the second century BC, and further bits and pieces and decorations were added for another four centuries so it was completed under Roman emperors.

Another model (sorry this picture is pretty terrible) of the Nile and where the temples originally stood along its banks.

So we left the Temple of Debod and kept on truckin' around Madrid.  I have no idea where we were or what this statue is, but thank Lee for a nice picture.

Couldn't figure out which one I liked best :)

And here is the Royal Palace of Madrid.

This is actually the side of it, which faces a large plaza where we saw a dude making giant bubbles, to the delight of several children.

I took about a dozen pictures of the group trying to make sure I got a good one.

Looks like fun, but I wouldn't want to get bubble soap all over me.  Guess I really am a grown-up.  (Sort of.)

And there's the front of the palace.  We did a tour of it but of course you're not allowed to take pictures inside.  It was okay, parts of it were pretty impressive, but after a while it kind of feels like they're beating you over the head with gold leaf and statues, ya know?

Lee's picture of a cool lamppost in the courtyard.

After we left the palace, we saw this aggressively purple building, so I got Lee to take a picture of it for me.

We ended up eating a snack at this place.  It's a pretty big building and it's full of little stalls, mostly food, with about everything under the sun--several sushi places (ick), lots of tapas, frozen yogurt, candies, cakes, and on and on.  It was really crowded too, but the food was good.

And here is Madrid's Plaza Mayor.  And out front of the buildings are a couple characters I'm sure were not authorized by Nickelodeon or Disney--Sponge Bob and an Americana Mickey Mouse.  Seems like there were some other weird ones too but I don't remember what exactly now.  This was like six weeks ago, I've slept since then.

And there's a closeup of the one building.  Kind of interesting...but I don't think I'd like to have my house decorated like that.

Well, Lee and I have to go get ready for a fancy-dancy dinner at Parliament.  (Yeah, we're going to Parliament!)  So I'd better go try to make myself presentable.  Adios, amigos!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Segovia, Part 6

Ok wow, Amber and Vicki took me by surprise and both ran in ninja-fast with comments on my last post, so here I am already back again with the last of the Segovia pictures.  These were all taken on our last morning in Segovia; we packed up the suitcases and then set out on foot to check out the city walls, which somehow we'd missed in our previous ramblings about town.

It's a tree branch shot for Miss Vicki!

And there are the walls.  There was a plaque somewhere talking about the walls and the different gates in them but I didn't take a picture of it, which is odd because usually I do photograph the signage.

Some form of moss/lichen/unidentified plant matter on the walls that Lee thought was cool.

We found a gate!  Watch out though, it is still a street...we were trying to take pics and had to move out of the way for cars several times.

Here's a butt shot for Mom!  And you can kinda tell how my jacket is good for spotting me from a distance.

See, you can just barely see that teensy dot of teal waaaaaayyyy back there near the gate!  That's me :)

And my honey pie, who of course eschews bright colors because he likes to dress in ninja stealth mode.

Missy!  I thought all the different textures behind her were pretty cool.

Don'tcha hate it when your hair goes flat on one side?  I think Shania Twain sang about that in a song once.  No wait, she just said all her hair went flat; I must be special to have it only do that one one side and not the other.

Umm, I don't know.

Explanation for this photograph:  After our Charlie's Angels/kung fu photo that I shared last time, Bennet complained he couldn't get his martial arts on since Missy and I blocked him in and he claimed he could do a 360 flying roundhouse kick.  So then of course we had to see THAT and then he had to take a bunch of aspirin.

Walked by the back side of the cathedral on the way to pick up our bags at the hotel and I just thought this was a cool pic of the crenelations.

And there's a pic of our hotel, which I would recommend to anyone else staying in Segovia.  The rooms were hot as blue blazes but since it was pretty cold outside, we were able to mitigate the heat with open windows.  The accommodations were really nice other than the heat, and the water pressure in the shower was pretty phenomenal (we hate it when we have a hotel room with really low water pressure, it's a pet peeve).

After this, we cabbed it to the train station and sat there for probably at least an hour playing UNO and I drove everyone else crazy in one game where I called UNO like six times in a row.  They'd try to block me or make me draw cards and I'd still get down to UNO, but it took me that six rounds to actually go out of cards.  I did the math on our Spain UNO tournament and it turns out Missy and I tied as the winners.  Yay girls!

Ya know what, I've used lots of big words today.  I was out with the Karens the other day and they were kind of laughing about the words I use...I think it was after I said something about being conversant with Star Trek lore.  What can I say, I'm a word nerd.