Monday, October 31, 2016

The Half Way Point, Paella and Lots of American Football


Sunday, 30 October, 2016:

The first order of the day was to find out how my beloved Washington Huskies (#4, 7-0) did yesterday on the road against the Utah Utes (#16, 7-1).

 Huskies (8-0) 34 - Utes (7-2) 27

Still four tough regular season games and hopefully a PAC-12 Championship Game to boot before we can seriously be considered for the playoff system.

Hump Day

When I accepted my current position with the Osos, I was asked to teach fundamentals to the players and coach the coaches of the Osos and their feeder programs, the Royal Oaks Knights, the Alcobendas Osos and, of course, the mighty Guadalajara Stings during the pre-season for the clubs.

The contract called for me to be in Madrid for 64 days.

Today was day 32.

Only 32 more days on the Iberian Peninsula, I need enjoy this last month to the fullest!

 Shopping at the local LIDL

Good groceries at good prices, I felt like a real bargain hunter.

The early afternoon called for me to drive up to Alcalá de Henares to the home of Guadalajara Stings President Hector Manzano and his wife Noelia and one year old daughter Arish.

A street near Hector's home

My grandparents on my Mother's side of the family were from the province of Asturias.

We had two things to accomplish today.

First . . .

 . . . share an EXCELLENT Paella

We were joined by Stings' Head Coach Orlando Webb and the Stings' QB Tim Hilz for this incredible meal.

Afterwards we all watched todays NFL game from London between the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals which ended in a 27-27 overtime tie.

At one point Tim made the comment about how nice it has been to be welcomed into the Manzano's home on Sundays for meals, football and a heavy dose of camaraderie.

I couldn't agree with Tim more! Families like the Manzanos are such a part of the rich fabric that can be the very best of the EuroBall experience.

Good people.

After the London game was over, I headed back to La Casa Grande to watch the NFL's Red Zone mania channel of the days first set of games from America.

We were joined by Osos' President
Enrique Martín Alonso's family

That's Enrique in the red shirt, his sons Jorge and Jaime are nearest me as I take this photo and his wife Yvonne is on the right. 

Osos Head Coach Jesús Sanchez is in the white shirt.

Another great family that supports us during our stay in Madrid.

The COUNTDOWN continues, as there are only . . .

. . . more days until Laurie
leaves Camarillo for Madrid

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Good Day in Guadalajara


Saturday, 29 October, 2016:

We were all up bright and early because we had a Guadalajara Stings, or "Es-Stings" as they say here, practice to attend under the leadership of our new Stings' Head Coach Orlando Webb from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Before we left, I opted to walk into town to exchange library books. I got to the library about 15 minutes before it opened, what to do?

My favorite Arganda del Rey
dining spot, La Tertulia, is
literally right next door to the
Pablo Neruda Public Library

An order of churros and a cafe con leche hit the spot. 

While enjoying my desayuno, I perused the national sports paper.

 Today Real Madrid plays at
Alavés in a La Liga match up

The last time that Real Madrid lost at Alavés was in 1931, 85 years ago.

Although I'm not a RM fan, I have to grudgingly admit that they are pretty good.

The Line Score from the 1931
2-0 win by Alavés

The Current La Liga standings
RM in first, 6 wins-0 losses-3 ties
Alavés in 13th, 2 wins-3 losses-4 ties

Today's Final Score: Real Madrid 4 - Alavés 1

The streak goes on.

The library was finally open so the search for a new book to read began . . .

The Western World's First
Great Novel

It's only 940 pages long and I still have a month to finish it.

 Old school check out

They do use a computer system, but I love the reminder on the inside cover of the book with the hand stamp.

Time to start the 45 minute drive to Guadalajara and a new practice facility.

It had a Jai Alai Fronton!

It also had a pristine artificial
surface for our work out

Coach Webb setting the tone
for the day

 Colorful Stings Huddle

I was holding the
Nose Guard bag

3-2-1 STINGS!

It was yet another good session with the Stings.

Afterwards, several of the players opted to meet with the coaches for lunch.

Where to go?

 Downtown of course!

We met at a restaurant on
this plaza

 Little Juli was in the house!

Too hot, we moved into the . . .

. . . shade

The first of many trips for this
waitress during our 3+ hour lunch

I decided to take a short break from the meal to check out something that we saw on the drive to the restaurant.

It was only two blocks away and looked interesting.

Yes, that was it

 One of Spain's Great Cardinals
Don Pedro González de Mendoza

 The ornate, 15th century
Palacio del Infantado

Cool Window

The side on the Palacio

The Palacio sits on a plaza
dedicated to
The Fallen of the Civil War

The Palacio suffered heavy damage during a Civil War bombardment in 1936. 

I guess this is now my
favorite café in Guadalajara

Guadalajara's City Hall

 They played a really good
version of "Mamma Mia"

Over and over and over and . . .

Dia de los Muertos is next week

A great lunch with good friends
on a nice Spanish plaza

Once back in Arganda del Rey, I had to check something out that I had noticed near La Casa Grande for the first time yesterday.

Now this much I did know, near Arganda del Rey, from February 6-27, 1937, a major battle of the Spanish Civil War happened that is known as the Battle of Jarama. The Jarama River runs near Arganda del Rey.

What I had noticed was a rather large monument dedicated to the men who fought in this battle.

The Monument

A poem about the Battle of Jarama
written by Pablo Neruda in 1937

Estimates vary but casualties were anywhere between 16,000 and 45,00 souls in just 21 days of fighting.

 Ernest Hemingway even
gave eye-witness reports
on the Battle of Jarama

 Excellent signs giving details
about the fighting as I climbed
the hill overlooking the Battle site

 Hey, at least my shadow is
skinny in the afternoon Sun

 More Battle info

 A child's drawing of what he saw
during the Battle

Helping to get a feel for the Battle

 And still more Battle info

 Trench Warfare

 And here are the trenches

Observer helping . . .

. . . this machine gunner

 Where the Battle took place
79 years ago

Ladders into the trench

Our apartment complex
lies behind this infantryman

This continues to be a great coaching/living experience on a daily basis.

I'm extremely happy here.

COUNTDOWN . . .

. . . more days until Laurie
leaves for Spain!