Friday, May 16, 2008

Jennifer's notes from yesterday

This is a link to the photos of the day

Walking Tour of Madrid • Thursday, May 15, 2008

Well, we woke up after 10 am, ate some tortilla patatas (potato
omelet) that Gonzalo made for us. We've also been eating a good share
of chorizo (spanish sausage). Also drank some Naranja (orange juice)
for breakfast. Entonces (then), corremos (we ran) to this nearby park,
Parque Santander. Gonzalo walked around the track while Tony and I
ran. This park had a 1 kilometer running/walking track around the edge
with a small golf range, jardin (garden), campo de futbol (soccer
field) en el centro (center). Tony and I took two laps around and then
ran down some streets to try to get to this other park, Parque del
Oeste. Well, I think my new bike position has killed my running. We
got 25 minutes into our run, and my quads were feeling like they were
going to rip out of my knee. We slowed down more and stretched, but it
didn't help. So after 30 minutes of running, we started to walk. We
walked back via Starbucks (yes, they are here, too). It is kind of
chilly here, so I got a hot drink (carmel macchiato… con leche
desnatada (skim milk). Everyone was looking at me in my running shorts
and tank top, so I asked the barista if people in Spain don't dress
like this to run? And she said that "most people in Spain do not run
for sport."

We met up with Gonzalo at his condo and took a bus down to the old
center of Madrid at the Plaza del Sol. We walked to the Plaza Mayor,
where I got assaulted by a woman insisting I needed a massage (I
probably did, but not sure I wanted to be strong-armed into paying for
one!). The plaza was filled with people and it looked liked there was
a band setting up for this evening. This Plaza reminded me of one in
Venice I'd been to (ok, can't remember the name at the moment, but it
was a famous one). There are pigeons all around, but not a sea of
pigeons as I remember in Venice.

We walked along Mayor Calle (main st) to Plaza de la Villa where there
was another statue and a nice garden. Down one of the narrow alleys,
we found the bike shop! Yea! But, boo, it was closed on this holiday.
We'll be back tomorrow. I can't wait!

Then we walked down to the Palacio (palace of the kings). The current
king does not live there because it isn't modest enough for him. Maybe
we'll tour the inside at some point. Along the palacio, there were
small marionette street shows that the kids were watching… one of the
Beatles. The kids were dressed up in period clothing. There was a park
where with a maze of hedges.

We then finally made it to this big park, Parque de la Montana, Parque
Tempelo Debod, Parque del Oesto… these all connected together. The
temple had Egyptian carvings from around Christ's time. I didn't pay
too much attention to the history, just enjoyed the carvings in the
stone. :) Within these parks, there was a fantastic rose garden. We
also had drinks at this restaurant in the park. I had a horchata (kind
of root) drink… it tasted like a cold, blended jicama drink. Very yummy.

Then we walked back to the house. I have to say something about cars
in Spain. People walk everywhere here. There are cars, but they are on
average smaller models in than in the U.S. We've even seen some
Toyotas that we can't get! (Ok, you know I'm mad now). There's also as
many Smart Cars as you would see Toyota Prius' in the States. They're
so little! I haven't, however, seen a single Prius. ??? Not sure why
that is. There's a Toyota dealer two blocks from Tony's Dad's. Maybe
I'll pop in and see if it's even buyable here...

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