Sunday, October 25, 2015

Madrid ~ Walk it Out

We're finally finishing our last blog post about Spain! Not really sure why it took so long, I guess life is just busier now. Rachel and I had such a good time on this trip, truly the experience of a lifetime, and it just opened my eyes again to the wondrous diversity and excellence that humanity has to offer.

After the Royal Palace we made a bee-line for the statue of Don Quijote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza. I read the book as part of a college Spanish literature course, but Rachel actually played the part of Sancho in her middle school play! She was pretty excited for this stop.

This is probably the most "American" meal we had on the entire trip (last day in Spain), a gigantic burger at an Red Robin-esque restaurant called Cafeteria VIPS. We were really hungry after walking around all morning, so we ordered a flat bread pizza appetizer. Turns out the pizza would probably have been a decent meal all by itself...and then this monster showed up. I couldn't just leave it there.

After lunch we continued east through town toward Parque de El Retiro, the Central Park of Madrid. It is surrounded by numerous museums, and before we actually made it to the park we visited two. The Reina Sofia Art Center didn't allow pictures, but we got to see some famous paintings by Goya and act like we were sophisticated for a bit.

Then we returned to our roots by spending twice as long in the free national naval museum! This was one oft he places my Lonely Planet guidebook for Spain recommended as "good for kids" :) 

Out front this dude was dressed in character to advertise/welcome people to the museum. He was chatting with a street cop, and I couldn't resist the chance to get a picture with him. The cop thought we were a little weird but the Admiral was diggin' it.

 This wasn't even the biggest model they had on display, but it was my favorite.
The museum had about 30 rooms full of different-sized models like this one, military clothing and weaponry, seafaring equipment of all kinds and lots of paintings with captions reciting the history of the Spanish Navy. They even had recovered debris from famous shipwrecks or naval battles.

 Pining for the ocean.

 The romantic row-boat reservoir in the middle of Parque de El Retiro. We people watched for a while, ate some delicious snacks and rested our tired feet. Could've easily spent a lazy afternoon in this park, but instead we pushed on toward a last little bit of nostalgia: El Corte Inglés

El Corte Inglés is a famous store in several European countries, and it's one place I remember shopping when I was a kid living in Spain in the mid-90's. We bought our roller blades from there :)

We went there looking for a "trompo" (wooden top) for the boys, but even in this seven floor behemoth of a store I could not find one. I'd been on the lookout all week long in any street market, shop or store we passed, and this was my last chance. The place was like Walmart, JC Penny's and Toys R Us rolled in to one, but the best thing we got were these two pictures and some paella ingredients. Oh well.

One simple thing I loved about our trip was the chance to travel in different ways than we normally do in Fort Worth. Walking, riding the metro and taxis were all great for experiencing the culture and people.

Do we look tired? It was a long, full, fun trip together! This metro ride took us back to Plaza del Sol the attic loft for our last night in Spain. We talked with Gigi and Bibiana and their daughter Mia about our day and started feeling excited to see our kids again. Mia was six years old, and after talking to her about the books we'd bought for A, B and C we were pretty much ready to go. 

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