Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
I almost chickened out, I have never gone into Madrid all by myself. I've always gone into the city with one of my friends or family. It's not that I was afraid to go by myself, I just prefer to go with other people. I'm a talker, and if you walk around the city talking to yourself...without a blue tooth device...people think you're nuts. Plus, when I'm with someone else who knows their way around, I don't pay any attention to where places are in relation to one another. I'm just along for the ride, enjoying what I'm doing, but caring not at all about how we got there. I had my final visit to the orthopedic surgeon at 3pm, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to venture into the city alone and see something new. So with my metro map in my bag, and some sites in mind, I made my way into Madrid.
I got off at the Opera stop, which is so named because it's right next to the Opera House. From there I walked down to the Royal Palace, and was hoping to have some coffee at an outside table at Cafe Orient and do a little people watching, but it was a little too early. They were only serving inside, so I decided to wait until later.
Over by the Palace, the street performers were getting ready for the daily throng of tourists.
This group of tourists must be from Russia, or at least somewhere considerably colder than Madrid in October. It wasn't freezing, but a tank top, skirt and sandals???
Especially when the Spanish student in the city for a field trip are dressed as they are below...
Leaving my coffee break for later in the day, I set out on foot for the Temple of Debod. It's an old Egyptian temple in the heart of the city. I've always wanted to go see it, but it isn't that close to anything else we normally do when we go into the city, so this was my chance.
I love the architecture in Madrid. It truly is a grand old city. And anywhere that has palm tree lined streets is all right with me.
You can't see the temple from street level because it's up on top of the hill. So up the stairs I go. I don't know what the significance is of the sculpture on the wall.
When I get to the top of the stairs, I see a group of people being led through an exercise routine. They are being led by trainers (see the young guy in the red and white track suit) who are employees of the Communidad de Madrid. You will see these groups in parks all over the city. I saw one over by the Palace on my way back. I love it! What a great idea. I don't know for certain, but it looks like anyone can join...but I am a foreigner here and could be totally wrong! Hahaha...So after snapping a few pics, I was off to the temple.
The Temple of Debod was originally built in the 2nd Century BC in southern Egypt and dedicated to the Goddess Isis. In the 1960's, this temple and three others were threatened by the building of a dam. UNESCO put out an international call to try to save this rich history.
From the guidebook, Frommer's Egypt, it is written that "In an act of gratitude for their support during the UNESCO-led Save the Monuments of Nubia campaign the Egyptian government gifted four small temples to other countries' goverments. Temple of Debod now tops the [Parque del Oeste] in Madrid, Spain, while the Temple of Taffeh is now on disply in Rijks Museum in Leiden, Holland. the Temple of Lessya is exhibited in the Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, and, finally, the Temple of Dandour is now a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art." It was rebuilt and open to the public in 1972.
I love this shot because it shows you how this ancient Egyptian temple has been rebuilt right in the middle of the city! I'm so glad I finally got to see it in person.
Once I toured the inside of the temple, I came back out and watched these old men talking and playing fetch with their dogs. So cute!
This is the view from the back side of the temple.
More pics from my walk back to the Palace...
It's very hard to take good pictures of yourself in front of what you are seeing...
More people exercising...I know it looks like the guy in a track suit, but it is not, I assure you!
Here are some people taking a break on what looks to be the base of a statue, but...no statue is there, so i don't know what the purpose of it is, unless it is a modern park bench...
Finally time for breakfast...I have been wanting to go to Cinco Jotas, the restaurant owned by Osborne, whose winery we visit in Malpica de Tajo. Below is their menu for tapas, but I was here for breakfast...
A little people watching while I wait for my delicious breakfast of pan y tomate, cafe con leche and orange juice. I will definitely miss the orange juice in Spain. It is the BEST juice i've ever tasted in my life!
More street performers getting ready for the day. These are over near the Plaza Mayor.
After breakfast I walked down to the Caxia Forum, a museum in Madrid with rotating exhibits of all kinds from classic to modern. One of it's best known features is the living wall on the outside of the Caixa.
On this particular day, there were two temporary exhibits, one was of the work of French painter, Eugene Delacroix...
...And the other of the artifacts from Teotihuacan, City of the Gods and Aztec culture in Mexico. they don't allow photographs in the museum which is nice, sometimes, because then you just get to enjoy the art...
After a walk through the museum, it was time to head over in the direction of my doctor's office, and get some lunch at one of my favorite little pasteleria, Mallorca. A glass of cava and bufala mozzarella, tomato and basil croissant hit the spot! And I was even able to snag a window seat...After that, I was off to my doctor's appointment, then back on the metro and home in time for the kids to get off the bus...It was a great day in Madrid! Hasta luego...
Friday, January 13, 2012
1) British families who move to Spain with school-age or pre-school children should register at their town hall, who will advise about schools.
2) Spanish families place high priority on giving their children a good education; consequently places at private schools are filled well in advance, and there are waiting lists.
3) Upon successfully completion of four years of secondary education they are awarded their ESO (certificate of secondary education, Educación Secundaria Obligatoria). This may take more than four years since failure to make satisfactory progress can mean repeating the year.
4) Some fiestas are location-specific, based on a local legend or a real historical event. A good example of this is San Sebastian, in the Basque country, which holds a festival each January to celebrate their liberation from French rule by Lord Wellington in 1812.
5) Many aspects of the Spanish lifestyle are extremely easy to get used to: the sunshine, the wine and the sangria, the paella, the tortilla and the tapas, and the uplifting rhythms of the bossa nova and the flamenco as the sun goes down and nightlife begins.
6) Spectacular fireworks are a popular feature at fiestas, and probably the most spectacular of all are the ones that light up the skies at the Summer Solstice, when bonfires are lit to celebrate the longest day. This tradition is especially strong in the south of Spain.
7) The Spanish healthcare system works well, and it is often even possible to find English speaking medical staff. However, before moving to Spain you need to be sure that the costs of future medical treatment will be covered.
8) Spanish healthcare is not free, but individuals who are covered by the State system pay only a small contribution towards the cost, depending on their personal circumstances.
9) For those looking to embrace a traditional Spanish lifestyle, inland Spain has plenty of attractive villages where life is not seasonal, property prices are lower, and you will be able to join in local community life.
10) A common pattern is for people to move from the UK initially to their Spanish holiday home, and to relocate to a different part of Spain a few years later after exploring the country in greater depth. There is probably a richer variation in regional cultures in Spain than in any other European country. Each region has its own history and its own traditions, and regions such as Galicia, the Basque country and Catalunya still retain their own languages alongside Spanish.
Bio: Our guestblogger, Armishaws, are one of the leading removals firms in the UK. They regularly move to Europe, including Spain.