Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Madrid for my 61st Birthday

After landing at the airport in Valladolid we drove to Madrid. Garmin took us on yet another one of her madcap drives through some gorgeous Spanish countryside.

We saw castles like this one in the middle of nowhere.

We met a gorgeous Spanish waitress at breakfast in small village, thank you Garmin.

I know the flash in the mirror is not good but what he hell!

In Madrid we first stumbled upon this man playing music on water filled glasses.

Madrid loves it's ham!

Joe and the Bear

The bear pawing at or eating the berry bush is the symbol of Madrid.

La Guarda Civil guarding the Governor's Office

Supposedly, the reason the back of his hat is flat is so that he can lean against a wall comfortably while smoking.

Kilometer Zero

This old, beat up marker on the sidewalk in front of the Governor's Office marks the very center of Madrid.

The Salon La Mallorquina

A GREAT bakery specializing in sweet, cream filled Napolitana pastries like the ones my two traveling colleagues are enjoying.

The 17th Century Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Originally this was a jail for rich prisoners who could afford the cushy cells.

Suddenly a waiter was walking down the
street sporting two very large hams. 

Madrid's Plaza Mayor

This square was built in 1619. It has been the scene of bullfights, fires, royal pageantry and events of the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

The Statue is of Philip III who ordered the square's construction.

Torre del Oro Bar Andalu

They serve a nice sangria here and have all sorts of bullfighting memorabilia. If you are a member of PETA you probably want to go somewhere else to slake your thirst.

Historical Reliefs

Serving as seatbacks on Plaza Mayor's lampposts, these reliefs show main events in the Plaza's history. This one highlights a torture during the Inquisition.

The Love Couple in front of n Plaza Mayor.

The Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences

Beautiful Plazas are everywhere both big and small.

Once again, Madrid's Symbol

I love a good string guitar!

Madrid's Cathedral of Almudena

The view of Cathedral from the front entrance.

The Royal Crest hanging in the Royal Palace.

The Royal Palace even has very cool Lamps.

The Royal Palace is ranked third best
in Europe after France's Versailles
and Vienna's Schonbrunn

The Royal Palace's impressive entryway

As in Ferdinand and Isabella

A random church in rural Spain on our drive from Madrid to Logrono where our hotel for Monday night was located.

We ate a very nice meal in this village.

A Quick Look at the Life on Madrid's Plaza Mayor

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