Chapter Twenty: Final Day In Madrid & Adios España

Chapter Twenty:  Final Day In Madrid & Adios España Days Twenty & Twenty One – A Peaceful Retreat, Colorful Area, Nothing Blooming Here, The Monastery Shut-Out, How The Other Half Lives, Missed It By That Much, The Invisible Man, A Fruitful GinTonic, Are You Going To San Francesco, A Last Stroll Through Madrid, Ginger (But No MaryAnn), What About Flamenco, The Unexpected Return Of Nurse Ratched, Down The Stretch They Come and Maitaitom’s Spain Epilogue Our last day in Spain and our last day downing excess calories at the Brown Bear. It was ok, however, since we calculated at the end of this day…our 20th…in Spain, we had walked in excess of 200 miles.  Oh, our aching feet! After indulging … Read more…

Chapter Nineteen: Hot Times In Madrid & The Old Pickpocket Trick

Chapter Nineteen:  Hot Times In Madrid & The Old Pickpocket Trick Next: Day Nineteen – Corpus Christi Strikes Again, Temple Of Doom, An Artist’s Tomb, Eating In Florida, No Great Story Started With Someone Eating A Salad, My Jenny Craig Lunch, Plaza Del Elevator List, Rumble At The Sport’s Store, Plaza Magnifico, Too Hot For A Cocktail, Channeling Our Inner Bruce Lee, Blatter Infection, A Politician Makes The Elevator List and Dinner At The Mercado After a rather late start for us (the trip was winding down…so no need to be the evil task master now), the Brown Bear beckoned… …and once again full of pastries, we hit the streets of Madrid. Our goal was to walk about a half … Read more…

Chapter Eighteen: Madrid Art Museum Day

Chapter Eighteen: Madrid Art Museum Day Day Eighteen – Bear With Me, The Meat Loaf Art Museum Tour (Or Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad), Best Art Museum…Ever, My Favorite Crazy Artist, Going To The Dogs, Rogier That, I Proclaim You King Of Spain, Lost In Translation, I Hope I Don’t Go Blind Looking At This, War What Is It Good For, Glorious Gallery, Picture Imperfect, What Reservations, College Reunion and What’s All The Fuss About? It was a picture perfect day, but our day would be spent mainly indoors as we would tour Madrid’s “Big Three” art museums…Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.  With that much art on our plate in one day, we needed … Read more…

Chapter Seventeen: Marvelous Madrid & The World’s Oldest Restaurant

Chapter Seventeen:  Marvelous Madrid & The World’s Oldest Restaurant Day Seventeen – On Track Early, Baby That’s A Big Head, I Could Live Here, Hip To Be Square, Pleasing Plaza, My First Sangria, Regal Royal, Turning Japanese, There Are Never Enough Cathedrals, The Barber Of…Madrid and Dining Like It’s 1725. I woke everyone early for our short 1/2 hour train ride to Madrid.  Due to our early arrival, we relaxed in the patio of the historic Estacion del Ferrocarril with our croissants and coffee.                          Arriving in Madrid, Spain Select had a taxi waiting for us (near the Baby Sculpture…With Giant Head… by Antonio Lopez at Puerta de Atocha Railway Station. The sculpture represents the head of one of his … Read more…

Chapter Sixteen: Holy Toledo!

Chapter Sixteen: Holy Toledo! Day Sixteen – The Corpus Christi Effect, Sensational Sacristy, Marzipan Central, Another San Salvador Trip, Are These Guys Going To Kill Us, An Interesting Synagogue, Hey We’ll Open this Place For you Guys, Sol Searching, A Surprisingly Great Museum, A Bridge Too Far, Where’s The Damn Escalator, Choo Choo Through Toledo, Remarkable View, How Come All Our Walks Are Uphill, The Last Table and Don’t I Get To Eat, Too Not wanting to wait in a long line, we arrived at the Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo (considered one of the greatest Gothic structures in all of Europe) a little before its 10 a.m. start time, only to find a rather long line. It moved … Read more…

Chapter Fifteen: Traversing Toledo

Chapter Fifteen: Traversing Toledo Day Fifteen – Scrambling For Breakfast, Military Exercise, Jimmy Stewart Wouldn’t Like This Climb, Peter The Cruel’s Treasurer’s House, Hanging With El Greco And Friends, From El Greco To El Transito, Monster G&T, Another Isabella & Ferdinand Production, The Pooping Monkey, No GPS Required, New Meets Old (And I Don’t Mean Us), I Want More Marzipan and A Beautiful Rooftop Setting It was just like home (except for the fact that Kim and Mary don‘t live with us) when on this Sunday morning Mary made us a good scrambled egg breakfast to start our day.                                              As kitties scampered along the neighboring rooftops, we hastily ate our eggs and sausage. We would need that sustenance to … Read more…

Chapter Fourteen: Traveling To Toledo

Chapter Fourteen: Traveling To Toledo Day Fourteen – Where Is Everybody, Coffee And Gin, Drinking Problem?, The Madrid Turn Around, We Are Not In Ohio, Room With A View, Pick Your Dish, Burger Joint, We’ve Got The Meats, Cathedral Shut Out, Short Changed, The Doménikos Theotokópoulos Experience, The Revenge Of The Sneeze and Oh Deer Balls Digression: Later in our trip (while sipping some vino in Madrid), we all reflected on our list of Spanish cities we had visited, and we were unanimous in our observation that our “least” favorite (not “bad,” but “least” favorite) of the major towns we stayed was Córdoba (yes, I know many will disagree with this assessment…it’s only our opinion).  That’s not to say we … Read more…

Chapter Thirteen: The Marvelous Mezquita

Chapter Thirteen: The Marvelous Mezquita Day Thirteen – The Train In Spain Is Really Not A Pain, Pillars Of Strength, Who Put This Cathedral In My Mosque, A Stable Environment, Flower Power, Pepe Power, My Biggest Fan, Hospital For The Water Fearers, A Quick Stop At San Miguel, The Golden Arches, You’ll Fry On The Roof, A Familiar Wine, Bridge Work and Should We Hit The Flamenco Tonight The kids were up early on this Friday morning thanks to one semi-OCD person….that would be moi. When it comes to trains and planes, I’m pretty much a freak when it comes to getting to the train station or airport early (most would say “too early”), and thankfully my traveling partners indulge … Read more…

Chapter Twelve: A Hot Time In Steamy Sevilla

Chapter Twelve:   A Hot Time In Steamy Sevilla Day Twelve: Don’t Pan Pan, Pilatos Not Pilates, Do You Know The Way To San Jose, One More Church, Bellas Fellas, Losing My Head, We Finally Get To Try This Restaurant, I Will Not Be Doing The Macarena, Archeological Dining And Where’s Tom Cruise And Madonna For some reason everyone was up fairly early (perhaps one of us was making extra noise to help roust the crew). By 9:15 we had found Pan y Più (Calle Cabeza del Rey Don Pedro, 15), a delicious bakery near our apartment.                                               Fortified by savory and sweet pastries and bread that didn’t cost a lot of dough… …we headed to our first stop of … Read more…

Chapter Eleven: The Alcázar & Walk Till We Drop

Chapter Eleven: The Alcázar & Walk Till We Drop Day Eleven – The Oldest European Residence Still In Use, Awed At Every Turn, Let’s Take A Bath, Give That Man A Hand, Retirement Home For Priests, That Sounds Like In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida To Me, Torre But No Joe, The Other Side, Molto Bene, Meet Me In The Plaza, Hey Buddy Don’t Throw That Chair At Me, Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Pepper “Two” And The Giant Mushroom Grabbing some quick pastries, we headed on what we knew would be a very hot day to one of the more incredible places I have ever visited, the Alcázar. We passed by the Cathedral and arrived early. Technically, the Alcázar is the oldest European … Read more…