Posts Tagged With: Madrid

Palacio Real

While the exterior of the Palacio Real was impressive, I enjoyed the interior more but photos inside were not permitted.  What amazed me was the amount of decorative detail in each room, I could have spent hours staring at the tapestries woven with  gold and silver threads, or the inlaid wood floors, the floor mosaics, and statuary; I could definitely do without the porcelain room, I mean I appreciate the artistry but, um, it seemed like a big bathroom.  I suppose lots of money allows one to do silly things with porcelain.

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Streets and Alleys

Upon returning from a trip I’m amazed by 1) how many pictures I took, and 2) the number of said pictures that are similar.  I mean really, just how many pictures of streets and alleys do I need?












The antennas caught my eye:


as did the satellite dish:


Avignon/Palace of the Popes




Montecatini Terme



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One thing that surprised me about Spain, at least the places we visited, was the amount of graffiti; there was a lot.  I’d venture to say there was even more than I’ve seen in Oakland or L.A.   I appreciate graffiti as an art form but the amount I saw in Spain was borderline too much.  On our walk to the old city center of Florence I came across something a little scary and Santaesque:So I stood next to it.

Wandering around Florence occasionally I’d see posters like this:

I know this isn’t ‘graffiti’ per se, but it is wall art and graffiti is often pained on walls…so…I guess this can be graffiti.  Anyway, I thought, “Hmm, these are a little odd.”

…And a tad disturbing.  Apparently they’re some part of a larger narrative:

Other graffiti I saw around Florence:

Never did find the beginning of this story; maybe it’s related to the other one above that looks like a group of soldiers.

Walking to the Palace of the Popes I found Scarface

Some sort of autograph wall

And President Obama.

Ok, this is obviously not graffiti, but it is street art; right?  Ok, I just thought I’d include it.

One last shot of some more conventional graffiti from Madrid:

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Huff n’ Puff

One of the many things I enjoyed about Spain was the plethora of public spaces.  After we checked in to our hotel I went for a short walk before dinner to get the lay of the land.  The street our hotel was on intersected with several others near one entrance to a large public park by the Bridge of Toledo that ran along a river.  According to our tour guide the park was only recently, within a year or so, completed.  (I feel like that last sentence is grammatically bad.  Meh, I move on.)  Our guide said the mayor of Madrid had decided to move a couple of the major roads underground and reclaim the river for the people of Madrid.  I’d say he had a good idea:

View from the Bridge of Toledo looking Southeast.

View from the Bridge of Toledo looking Northwest.

After my walk I had dinner, near Labors of Love, and had decided to run along this park the following morning.  Mind you we had just arrived in Madrid after a 15 hour or so journey from SFO.  I awoke early the next morning to get in my 3 miles, donned my running gear and headed out.  Everything started well, it was a lovely morning, the park was beautiful.  I passed playgrounds, cafes, playing fields for futbol or whatever and things like this:

Then, less than a mile in I was puffing and wheezing.  “WTF?” I thought.  “Damn, I must really be jet lagged.”  I pressed on pausing several times, something I never do at that distance.  Then it dawned on me to check the elevation.  Duh.  Turns out Madrid is like 2,000 ft above sea level and I’m used to running at 97 ft; I didn’t feel so bad about resting.

Before leaving I took a photo of the entrance to the park that I used near the Piramides tube station and saw that maybe I should have been more wary about running there


Because there were:

Categories: Geography, photography, Running, Spain, Travel | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Lost in Translation

One of the things I enjoy most about travelling is reading, or attempting to read signs.  I like trying to figure out what the signs are indicating, other times the signs just make me smile either because they are clever, or because reading the signs literally is hillarious.   For example, on the way to dinner on our first night in Madrid I saw this restaraunt:

The restaruant is called “Fatigas del Querer”.  When I saw the sign I knew enough Spanish to realize the first word meant fatigue and the last word had something to do with desire.  So when I got home I went on Google Translator, began typing and had a good laugh.  I laughed because as I typed and Google instantly translated I got this:

typed: fatigas, Google: fatigue; I was right!

typed: fatigas del, Google: fatigue of; right again!

typed: fatigas del quer, Google: fatigue of poker; HA!

typed: fatigas del querer, Google: labors of love; Holy cow, conjugation does matter.

I was proud to figure out that this shop had something to do with renting bicycles; the graphic helped 🙂

This one is great because you don’t need to speak a language to know what the place offers:

The incorrect grammar and claim of street cred on this one got me, oh, and the dog bowls, very thoughtful as there were lots of people con perros in Spain:

On the way to the Churh of the Holy Family we passed this:

which made me crave carne asada tacos from Taqueria San Jose by my house.  Then I thought, “Wait, what? A taqueria in Spain?”

In Avignon I appreciated the directness of the signage

Not exactly sure what the cow is advertising; does the place cater to, or serve cow?  Maybe I should clarify. Does it cater to cows as patrons or serve them as food?

These next two I found clever:

Must be a town with lots of mathemeticians.

Wholly unoccupied.

Interpreting the sign for this place in English rather than Spanish could steer people away from tasty treats.


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Doors of Madrid

I don’t know what it is about doors; but I like them.  These were taken in the oldest part of Madrid surrounding Plaza Mayor.

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Plaza Mayor – Madrid

One of my favorite places in Madrid that I wish we had had more time to hang out in is Plaza Mayor.  Surrouned by restaraunts, cafes, and street performers it captures what plazas in Spain are all about.


I enjoyed the entrances being a little askew.

According to our guide there is a new trend in Europe which involves putting padlocks on public features to mark significant events like a first date, proposal, whaterver.  Several of the light posts in Plaza Mayor had several locks.

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Day 2

Intro: finally able to access reliable WiFi; it’s been a challenge travelling with a tour group. Anyway….

I can’t believe how excited I am to be in Spain. Yesterday we went to the Prado and I made a B-line for “Las Meninas”. The last time I was in Spain over s decade ago I saw that painting fir the first time and was absolutely stunned so I was more than excited to see it again. So excited in fact I was on the verge of tears. Seeing it again was as awesome as I remember.
Exiting the Prado we were greeted by guitar music on the square. The combination of leaving the museum after seeing classic works of art and emerging into Spanish culture with the ambient music had an immediate serene effect, and again I was on the verge of tears; so grateful and appreciative to be here. The Spanish, and I’m sure other European cultures have such a better grasp of community and public space than I feel Americans do. For example our tour guide was sharing that the mayor of Madrid decided to reroute the highway through town underground so they could reclaim the banks of the rover through town. Now there is a 14km park with playgrounds, cafes, and of course plenty of trails and open space for the people to enjoy. A project of that size and scope I think would face stiff obstacles in the U.S. Granted we have a lot of well established public spaces but the creation of new spaces seems lacking. But I digress.
We also managed to squeeze in the Reina Sofia, saw some Dali and Picasso, had some free time in Sol, and Plaza Mayor, then finished the day with a Flamenco show. Not to denigrate the dance, but I has always wondered why so many cultures seem to have stomping dances. Flamenco, traditional Irish dancing, clogging, tap; I just don’t get it though an am fascinated that seemingly different cultures have traditions of stomping rhythmically to music.
Almost forgot, we also visited the Palicio Real. When I visit places of this vintage I am reminded if how young my country is. Not only that but I am also struck by the attention to detail. I I think about the time it took to construct these palaces, castles and cathedrals and wonder if structures of this type could be constructed today. The answer I think is no because of cost, but I also wonder if the answer would be no because we have a short attention span.

Here are a few photos for you to enjoy:

Plaza Mayor


All roads in Spain begin here:


Apparently this is a new trend in Europe (at least a new to me trend):


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Day 1

Arrived yesterday after a total of a out 13 hours plane time, 10 from SF to Fankfurt, the. About 3 from there to Madrid. Needles to say the trip was exhausting, I was only able to sleep for about two hours total.

Though I was beat by the time we got to the hotel I had to go for a walk. On said walk I discovered this:


I had no idea.

The whole group took a short walking tour then went to dinner. Madrid is absolutely beautiful. The WiFi situation is a bit spotty so my posts may not be as frequent. But I’ll have lots of great photos to share. Today is the palace tour, the Prado Museum, the Museo de Reina Sofia, and a flamenco show after dinner. Gonna be a good day!

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