Sunday, July 30, 2017

Madrid, Spain.....Our First Few Days.....

Madrid is the biggest city in Spain yet it's far less touristy then Barcelona or some of the others. But it certainly was on our list of must-see's while house sitting through Spain, so we surely were thrilled when we confirmed a house sit in the city center. Our rent car is safely parked and we are touring this huge metropolis by foot and subway.

Swiffer The Cat Hiding In A Grocery Bag

Our temporary home is just a few minutes walk to the famous Buen Retiro Park right down the street. This huge park covers some 350 acres and comes complete with gardens, palaces, a lake with boats to rent, fountains, restaurants and so much more. Our walking paths to just about everywhere has taken us through the park which has given us a chance to enjoy some shade on these hot summer Madrid days, and enjoy the sights.

Buen Retiro Parc, Madrid
The Crystal Palace In Retiro Park

Gardens Of Park

Cool Looking Trees

Huge Monument Overlooking The Lake

Mounted Police Officers

Nearby the park is the well known Prado Museum of Art plus plenty of other historic buildings that line the city streets. Since we are both budget conscious and not really art enthusiasts, we choose to wait for the nightly free times to visit the Prado. Although the queue (line) was rather long, we took it as an opportunity to chat in Spanish with some ladies from Argentina waiting in front of us. Within about 45-minutes of standing in mostly shady areas we made our way into the air conditioned museum to have a look around.

Prado Museum....No Photos Allowed Is Most Of The Museum

Yesterday we went to Cardamomo, A Tablao in Mardrid which means Small Flamenco Bar. A very intimate setting with the dancers ten feet away from our second row table. Was not allowed to use flash so pardon the poor picture quality.

Today we hopped on the subway to visit the most famous site here, the Royal Palace Of Madrid.  While this massive estate used to be the home of the Royal Family of Spain, today it is merely a tourist attraction open to the public. With a staggering 2,800 rooms in the palace, fortunately for us not ALL of them are open to the public.

Palacio Real de Madrid (The Royal Palace)

We have traveled much during the past few years and seen many palaces, estates, and castles but this place really is amazing! While there were NO photos allowed inside the palace I did manage to find some online and borrow them to display here.

Formal Dining Room
I Counted About 50 Chairs Around The Table Plus More Around
The Side Of The Room

The Throne Room

Another Room

A Waiting Room

The Porcelain Room
The Walls Are Covered With Porcelain And The Sole Purpose Of This Room

The Palace Chapel

A Bedroom

Ceiling Of The Royal Chapel

After visiting the Palace we stopped at the nearby Almudena Cathedral to have a look around before heading back into the hot streets to find Plaza Mayor. Like most plaza's throughout Europe it was packed with tables of people cooling off with a glass of sangria, or other cocktail as they watched the people go by. We passed on the tapas and wine and stopped for some frozen yogurt with fruit to rest up before our journey back to the apartment.

The Cathedral

We enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon strolling around the beautiful city of Madrid. It's so full of culture, historic buildings, locals and tourists taking in the summer sunshine. Plenty more to explore of this Spanish metropolis.....along the gringo trail.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

We Found The Holy Grail In Valencia, Spain.....

Visit any city and you are sure to find a cathedral complete with tales passed down through time and Valencia Cathedral is no exception. Originally built in 1238 over  the site of an existing cathedral later turned into a mosque, its architectural style is mostly Gothic. But since construction of the cathedral continued for many years various other styles of architecture were added.

The Holy Grail

While the main section is absolutely gorgeous with its domed ceilings, stained glass windows and ornate styles there is much more to explore. Along each side sits elaborately decorated smaller chapels, common to many churches throughout the world yet this one has something special. Locked away in a glass case is what has been proven to be the original chalice handled by Jesus when he first broke bread with his disciples.

Inside The Cathedral

The Holy Grail that was made famous by action-adventure, big budget Hollywood films REALLY does exist and is housed in a side chapel at Valencia cathedral. While we always enjoy seeing churches as we travel we had NO idea that we would be seeing something so unique. Although much smaller than we had expected especially since it was locked in a case and roped off from the public by many feet, but still something worth seeing.

Another stop on yesterdays outing was La Lonja, the former building that housed the Silk Exchange. This Gothic style civil building was the only one of its day that held merchant transactions that made the city so prosperous in the 15th century. Construction of the building began back in 1483, before the United States was even discovered by Columbus. Inside the ornate structure there once was a trading floor, prison, chapel and more.

The Silk Exchange

Valencia is a lovely city, rich in culture and history that features beautiful Mediterranean beaches, a large seaport, great shopping, an old town, many museums and the Holy Grail.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time here and will surely return. Tomorrow we are off to see the cardiologist for Clyde's one month checkup of his new pacemaker. He is doing fine and we are looking forward to hitting the road on Saturday for more adventures in Spain......along the gringo trail.

Life In Portugal....At A Snails Pace....

Yesterday was just another day in Portugal when my dear husband Clyde said he was going to run to the pharmacy for a few things. Time passed...