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Madrid From the Back Door

Spain 09 196Spain 09 192Spain 09 162Spain 09 010Spain 09-2My first visit to Madrid was much like entering a grand home through it’s magnificent entrance and foyer. The Grand Via was my address before flying on to Malaga by the southern coast. A guided tour of Muse Prado my first encounter with of the spelendid decorations of the casa de Madrid. The evening before a ride along the Grand Via revealed the sparling lights of fountains and buildings along the park. Surprises everywhere as I had not taken the time to read much about Madrid as most of my visit would be along the sea.

This visit my address Plaza Mayor. This experience was like visiting the Casa de Madrid through her back door. A large cobblestone and brick square hearalded by King Charles the Third the much beloved King of Spain on horseback in the center of the plaza. Surrounded by outdoor restaurants and merchants. Above residential apartment dwelling for five floors. This plaza began as housing for the lower class but now an apartment there can fetch ten million euros easily.Staying on the fifth floor we were able to watch from our balcony the street performers which, like Barcelona, seem to be everywhere.

During a walking tour of the original city I discovered the people of Madrid support three administrations. These include the district representatives and the district President, the President of Madrid and the King Of Spain who also lives in Madrid but not at the castle, though he could if he chose to. The tour guides both in the day time and the evening were very good and caused me for the first time to really realize the greatness of Spain. I have always had such a focus on America that it is easy to be disconnected to the greatness of the Kings of other countries and their leadership to there people. I have been encouraged to read more about the Kings of Spain. I was reminded also of the great writers of Spain while in the Plaza Santa Anna. Our guide spoke about the second manuscript written by Cervantes”Don Quiote” and the idea of material and spriritual issues having to be balanced at all times but the loss of the spiritual being a most unfortunate loss while material loss not being as devastating a loss. This was good to be reminded of, by a writer of long ago, in the face of the economic challenges our world is currently experiencing.

I enjoyed the history of the Palace very much and was encouraged to consider the old truth that ‘the father’s work is most often enjoyed by the son’ again a point of encouragement to press on dilligently when I returned home to the every day struggles of modern life. I discovered a bit too late that there were bike tours available as well, run by an australian that will be part of my next trips adventures.
Our last intimate evening in Madrid was in the dining room of the mansion at Casa de Madrid and that was at La Botin the oldest restaraunt in the world where Hemmingway and his friends worked and liked to hang out. The singers there impressed us with their fabulous singing and playing of instruments while our waiters made us feel right at home. We finished the evening with a ride back to the Grand Via and a casual stroll home to find the Flamico Dancer and the musical performers in the Plaza Mayor we sat under the stars together and enjoyed last remaining moments of our trip before our flight would leave in the morning. I am continually realizing this special city is very much like a grand home that should be visited often.

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Barcelona The Bountiful

Spain 09 056Spain 09 013Spain 09 011Spain 09 092Spain 09 018Spain 09 064Spain 09 147Spain 09 016Barcelona a bohemian city by the sea. Alluring, charming and somewhat understated. A city of people and for people. Five million inhabitants in the metro area all living above the first floor of any building where everyday merchants sell their wares and tares. Our apartment was extremely nice right in the middle of a very friendly location just off the thorough fare called Las Ramblas.
Las Rambla a favorite avenue to see and be seen. Bustling and alive with culinary options and creative unique street performers. “Creativity” the enchanting quality, became clear here.But the other side of the coin was our first evening’s reminder to have fun but beware. Purse thievery was very real as we heard the scream of a victim as she very quickly lost her. Hence one of the only common fashion stlyes I noted, the long strap purse worn across the torso. Large guazy scarves wrapped aroung the neck and shoes to match the colour of one’s shirt were next in line.

Just a short walk and you would be at the beach, marina and casino. Brown sand beaches that boast of topless sunbathers, extremely well done sand sculptures, more mucical street performers and marijuana openly rolled and smoked created an atmosphere where anything goes. It was fun to sit down along a large walkway surrounded by palms,pine and maples,amist a crowed that gather to hear a musical group singing while looking out at the moving and docked boats of the marina. Very relaxing.
The higher elevations and mountain ranges were benefactors of Parc Guell and Tibadabo’s Santa Maria Cathedral. Fabulous vistas were a great place for more picture taking even on a cloudy day. All of this gifts of artist and archetects from the past whose impact is still felt today. A side trip to the Museum of Science and Industry was a surprise and was quite good with many local families in attendance.
It was very easy to feel right at home in this beautiful and relaxing city of Barcelona. I am already working on the itenerary of my next visit here.
Hope it will be soon!

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Conversations in the Air

Spain 09 003Spain 09 290Spain 09 002This month’s trip to Barcelona and Madrid started with three Delta connections and one Spanish national flight with Vueling Air. I imagined it would prove to be a long beginning to a quick trip to Spain. Life however always manages to offer us an oasis or two along the way.

The first being a relaxing conversation that occured on the first flight to Atlanta with a happy stranger from Detroit. The topics we conversed about move quickly from reading and writing of books and then the current economic state of our shared Union. Since there was little time, we spoke only about these topics, family, or immediate issues of personal concern… but nothing of about work or business.

The Atlanta airport was another surprise due to the interesting display of art in the gate area where I waited for the Paris connection. Enjoyable mediums included the unexpected use of buttons that you could see in the first picture above and business cards that made the third.

The flight to Paris also sped by rapidly due to another unexpected encounter with an international business man who spoke with me about E commerse bids utilizing reverse round robins, that after a long nine months of due dilligence, dissipated in a fraction of a second in the face of a blank computer screen. Being from Tampa, Florida and having my hand in the ownership of real estate, I could related to the frustration and dissapointment of such a negative return on so much work. We encouraged each other with stories and ideas that helped create perspective.
I had only reached the half way mark landing in Paris, when I said good bye to this new found friend ,but already the idea that traveling has rich rewards was once again very true. Interesting… that the conversations in the sky can become friendly connections to fasinating people with interesting life stories. Some of life’s truest treasures.
Next Barcelona!

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