Tuesday, December 8, 2009


We went off to Madrid for the long weekend...this has been a four day weekend here....YippEEeeee!!!!

The only glitch was that the overnight sleeper train tickets, which we were all looking forward to, turned out to be seats, not beds.  Both ways.


Sitting up all night in a train is not rated very high in anyone's books, but let me tell you, it is still wildly overrated.  UGH.

Still, all else was fabulous....and I have tons to say and tons of pics.

We ate some fabulous meals, I bought myself a lovely necklace, we saw a LOT of people...can I just say that Madrillaños LOVE a crowd.  They eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas in an enormous press of people, all standing up, and stagger from event to event in a huge pack.  Even the restaurants have twice as many tables in them as I would put....

We were so amazed we even asked if it is normal or if this was a particularly festive time.  Nope.  Normal.


Now these were totally weird:

These, as you may have noticed, are bulls.  A symbol of Spain.  The broken tile work is from Gaudi.  A rigid Catalan nationalist who was arrested for refusing to speak Spanish upon occasion.  We found these kind of weird....though the pierced one was particularly charming.  Anything for a tourist.

I took this photo of a lovely door in Madrid after our recovery nap on the first day, and after we had eaten a truly amazing lunch.  The place was a small restaurant, filled with bull fighting memorabilia, and the food was out of this world.  Eggs scrambled with potatoes and topped with iberic ham...oh so good, plus croquettes, I can't quite get my head around these yet, and then a stunning steak!!!! I didn't think it was possible in Spain, but it is!  Then a flan that was the creamiest yummiest version of flan I have ever eaten, think of Cornish clotted cream mixed with flan.  OMG

Then I bought myself a beautiful necklace, and all was good with the world...and I was ready to notice this beautiful door.

What do you think, should we get one for the new house?  It may just be taller than the entire house though, which could prove difficult to manage.

A little drafty too when someone went out.

Barcelona is filled with lights too, but I haven't had a chance to take photos....

The center of Madrid was filled with these stalls, some selling jewelry and such, but most selling wigs and silly hats.  I am not the least bit sure what this has to do with Christmas, but it was pretty festive.  I have to say that the folks from Madrid are certainly willing to be kind of goofy and play it up!

These ladies were easily in their 60s and quite conservative looking, aside from the wigs.

To give you an idea of the crowd....this was a sea of people all going into and out of this plaça...I am not sure why.  Maybe just cause you're supposed to go out before dinner...

I kid you not, look. at. the. crowds!

Everywhere was like this!  Where did they all come from?????  There were no stores open....

This was cool, the Xmas tree you see two photos up?!?  This is from the center of it, you can walk through.  Very cool.

The Reina Sofia Museum allows photos.  I figured this was a good painting for us, I like blue, and the man likes beer!

OK, blogger is going all freaky on me and putting photos in weird places and I am way way way too sleep deprived to do anything about it....

That photo that looks like a cloud?

WAY cool installation piece.  It's made of thousand and thousands of strands of monofilament fishing line.  Anyone who has ever dealt with that stuff can join me in wondering how in the name of little green bullfrogs they ever move this piece without spending the next year untangling it.

It was quite magical I have to say.

One final public Xmas tree from Madrid...quite liked this one too.

More later.....

Promise me something though.  Please never ever ever sit up in a train all night if you don't have to, and NEVER buy tickets from renfe (the Spanish National Rail Service (???)) if you can help it, and then only in person.  The website S.U.C.K.S.


Helen said...

Fabulous pics. wonderful trees. So many people. Brilliant.

One of the best steaks I ever had was in Portugal. It still lives memorably in my mind

Beth said...

My sister & her husband just got back from Spain. Last stop – Madrid. She was amazed by the crowds – and surprised so few people spoke English. Hello!! You’re in Spain… But she loved the country.

I think that door would be perfect for the new house – if you were giants!

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

Absolutely stunning. Such rich culture.

mmichele said...

Oh Madrid. Thanks for the pics. Even though we did spend a large part of our time at the embassy, i loved it.

Lynda said...

Great photos! Madrid looks a little too crowded for me, but I am enchanted by the magic.

Sitting up all night on a train YUK!! no fun at all. Backpacking through India at 18 maybe.. but not anymore.

elpadawan said...

ouch, that sucks for the tickets. But it didn't stop you from enjoying the week-end and taking great pictures :)

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, your tale reminds me of train trips from TO to Mntrl when I was a student. These days I'd refuse to get on the train if I had to sit up all night!
Great that the rest was so enthralling. GM

J.G. said...

Wow, you had a fab-u-lous time! So much to see and do and buy and eat . . . but I could do without all those people. Glad you were up for it, though. (No pun intended, after the train tickets.)

Yuewen said...

seems like u had fun there, great blog!
i still can't pass the border ;/

oreneta said...

Helen, it was a fabulous time...and the steak was very good. The best ever? Not sure, but very very good, more so as I didn't think it possible in Spain.

Beth, I found their English level better than in BCN but....those doors are fabulous...cost more than the house did though...

Bodhi, it was a neat place.

Mmichele, I wondered how you'd feel...

Lynda, exactly. I'm too old for this crap and the kids are too young.

elP, nope...enjoyed it tons, most of it.

GM, we nearly didn't.

JG, we had to be up for it. Only tickets they gave us.

Yuewen, thanks for dropping by. sorry about the border.

kate said...

Oooh, sorry about the tickets. Yuck. As always, though, love the pictures. We might make a trip out there to see the lights, but not join the crowds. On New Year's Eve it's even worse-- sometimes you can't even get up out of the subway tunnel (or so I've heard...)

oreneta said...

Good lord...the horror. I thought of you while we were there.....it was a zoo, but so much fun.