Friday, February 10, 2012

First Day of the EuroBall IV Adventure

The Madrid Bear pawing a Berry Bush

My EuroBall IV adventure started early Thursday morning with a smooth flight to New York, a 90 minute layover and then another flight to Madrid. I left LAX at 9:20 a.m. Thursday and touched down in Madrid at 8:30 a.m. Friday . . . a very long day indeed.

I flew on American Airlines as opposed to my usual trans-Atlantic flights on British Air. The plus, in my opinion, was wider seats. The negative was not having access to BA's incredible personal entertainment system. AA just had one movie on at a time for all to watch and only a few limited music options.

Oh well, I came prepared . . .

Reading is FUNdamental

Napolean, Paris, terrorists, vast treasures and a 200 year old Corsican based vendetta . . . what can I say, Cotton Malone came to the rescue yet again!!! I was able to entertain myself nicely with this solid read during our airtime.

Madrid Airport Art

Spain is proud of their Art History and I love a near empty airport that gets you through Customs and out the door in no time!

My VERY centrally located hotel

After very wisely opting to pay the 35 Euros for the taxi ride from the airport with all of my luggage, as opposed to riding the much cheaper Metro that would have required two subway changes and lots of stairs, I arrived at the Hostal Las Fuentes no worse for the wear.

By the way, the temperature, according to a drug store we passed was 32ºF = 0ºC.


Clean and inexpensive, it boasts the world's smallest elevator beating out the former record holder, the Hotel Elizabeth in London. My two suitcases and me standing sideways was all that could barely fit. Closing the door was not easy.

I made it.

The staff was very helpful and that is always a plus.


All checked in at the hotel, it was time to see Madrid but first a stop at this wonderful spot for some of their famous . . .

Churros and Hot Chocolate

The hot chocolate has the consistency of Mississippi mud but it is oh so good for you as are the churros that you dip into the rich chocolate.

And so healthy too.

Descalzas Royal Monastery

In previous visits to Madrid, I was able to view most of the big ticket sights such as the Prado Museum, the Royal Palace and the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. This time I decided to check out some of Madrids "minor" wonders like this art filled monastery for cloistered nuns.

Juana of Austria

The monastery was founded in the 16th Century by King Phillip II's sister Juana. It is still active with 19 Franciscan based Poor Clare nuns living on site. This former royal palace is full of rich tapestries, ornately decorated chapels and priceless paintings.

It was an interesting one hour tour led by a unique Spanish lady.

From here it was time to ride the Metro for my #1 goal of these four days in Madrid . . .

The Home of Real Madrid

On Sunday at 9:30 p.m. in this very stadium, Real Madrid, atop La Liga in the standings, will host fourth place Levante.

It will be cold.


Mission Accomplished

I'm in the end zone for the game for only 35 Euros.

Now it was time to reboard the Metro and head on to see more art at the . . .

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

As with the Descalzas Royal Monastery, no picture taking was allowed. In the spirit of sacrifice, I complied with this rule and offered up this sacrifice in the hopes that David Lassen will find a gym in his new hometown of Riverside, CA as entertaining as his old gym in the Valley.

This museum features major works by minor artists and minor works by major artists. If you want to see major works by major artists, go across the street to the Prado Museum. Rodin, Monet, Picasso, Renoir and Van Gaugh were just some of the artists on display here.

An interesting side note, according to my Mother, my Aunt Katica and sister Marilyn, the wife of the man who founded this museum 20 years ago was a patient at one time of my Father who was a medical doctor. Nice story but my favorite patient that my Dad treated is still "Little" Ralphie Valaderos the long time leader of the Los Angeles Thunderbirds roller derby teams of the 1950s-60s.

Now, there was a patient.

By the way, after just two art stops, I may already be done with museums for the next five months.

Probably not.

Now this is my type of museum!

Ham anyone?

Not only does the Museo del Jamon serve a nice bocadillo, it has incredible fresh squeezed OJ!

Hey, little Kevin made me an Abuelo

Laurie and I had eaten here before

Gambas a La Plancha

Rather than eat one large meal, I opted to do a little grazing from place to place.

A Tapas Crawl if you will.

Madrid's Great Architecture

It is everywhere you look, just enjoy the next few photos.

Random Building

The Metropolis Hotel on the left

Central Communications Building

King Charles III

Even the Street Signs are Art

As are the Street Lights

Rich colors all around you

I felt safer walking the streets

GREAT desserts . . .

On the Puerta del Sol.

. . . see

I've tasted their wares often in the past. In a major upset, I passed.

It was too crowded.

I'll be back.

About 300 meters from my hotel

Plaza Mayor is great for
people watching and . . .

. . . a Bullfighting Café

It is the Torre del Oro Bar Andalú.

More tapas and a caña


No Irish Bar for me in Madrid.

By 8:00 p.m. local time, I was exhausted due mostly to sleep deprivation.

I wanted to stay up later to help get my biological clock back in sync but I crashed.

Saturday it is on by train to El Escorial and then to the walled city of Avila.

All in all, it was an exciting first day.

1 comment:

Michael said...

A good beginning...