|UFF... HER FEET HURT, TOO.|
We spent most of each day exploring the amazing city, which constantly changes its face as you pass from one neighborhood to the next — from grand and impressive to intimate and charming. Public sculpture everywhere. Truly a fascinating, historic, and beautiful place.
Guadalupe and I walked everywhere (although we were late to meet a friend for lunch one day, so hopped on Metro, Madrid's subway system). I arrived Thursday around 3:00 and we logged 8.5 km (5.3 miles) in the next 2.5 hours (she's got a pedometer on her iPhone).
Guadalupe is a partner in a new business with four other professional women who have all been good friends for years. They plan to host people in their homes (in and outside the city) for a week of immersion in conversational Spanish (for all levels), which will include an insider's view of Madrid. I got to meet (and fall in love with) them all. I'll tell you more about that in a later post.
In the meantime, I'll just sit here with my feet up and share some photos. The weather was ideal for walking, but not ideal for picture-taking. (So I only got about 230 pictures.) Don't worry, though, I've narrowed it down. The first photo below is of the Royal Palace. It was built from 1738-1755, long after Madrid was wrested from Moorish rule by Alfonso VI, King of Castile, 27th great grandfather of our very own San Geraldo. I told them who I was but we still had to pay to enter ... and we weren't permitted to take any pictures once inside! (Click any photo to experience the grandeur.)
|THE ROYAL PALACE. |
NOW USED ONLY FOR STATE CEREMONIES.
|MADRID CATHEDRAL (OPPOSITE THE ROYAL PALACE).|
CONSTRUCTION BEGAN IN 1879 BUT STOPPED DURING THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR.
|CONSTRUCTION WAS FINALLY COMPLETED IN THE 1950s.|
|MONUMENT TO JUAN VALERA Y ALCALÁ-GALIANO — AUTHOR, DIPLOMAT, POLITICIAN.|
(SCULPTOR: HIS NEPHEW LORENZO COULLAUT VALERA)
|CIBELES PALACE (ORIGINALLY THE MADRID POST OFFICE, OPENED 1919).|
|SPANISH INDEPENDENCE WAR HERO LIEUTENANT RUIZ.|
SCULPTOR: MARIANO BENLLIURE.
It was a really special weekend and I wouldn't have missed it for anything, but it sure was nice to see San Geraldo waiting for me when I got off the train yesterday. It seemed like we had been apart forever. Dudo and Moose were clearly happy to see me, as well — although at first it was only because it was "treat time." Right now, however, they're both in the den with me. Moose is sound asleep nearby and Dudo has climbed on and off my lap about two dozen times carrying every one of his toys along with him. Ah, he just settled in for a nap.