Monday, January 4, 2010

Trying to Catch Up

It's been a fantastic whirlwind in Europe since we touched down on the 30th of December. I've barely had time to catch up with my blogging with the amount of things we've been trying to cram in. Couple that with an unfamiliar PC (I'm a Mac girl), getting to know my way around resizing and publishing my pictures with an unfamiliar program and not very much time with wifi so far. I did actually do some journaling but I think it stopped on New Year's day and now I'm getting behind.

We spent our first night in a quaint hotel in the old part of downtown Madrid in the Hotel Santander. It was like a 14 foot cube with high ceilings and old style wallpaper with dusty roses and a silky satin texture and with parquet floors. Regal salmon colored draperies and shuttered windows separated us from the street noise. Fortunately were were off of an alleyway which would prove to be a good thing when the New Year's activities ensued.

The highlight of the first day was finding the "Museo de Jamon" - The Ham Museum which had hams of many types with the most expensive Iberian ham which I believe are fed solely on acorns and sell for about $35 a pound. You can tell by the black hooves that they are the real deal. The beer and sandwiches are inexpensive by European standards. A person can experience sticker shock on the dollar to Euro conversion.
I learned that Spain seems to be all about the ham and ham sandwiches.

We wanted to have more of a sit down and relaxed dinner and found "Lacon" which offered a meat platter with pork, sausage, steak, and lamb with fires and the nicest little green roasted peppers.

On the last day of the year we ventured out to see the Prado Museum, the most famous museum in Madrid. We had rested up well and browsed a few shops before heading over to the museum. It seems to be the story of my life that every big city that I try to see the main attraction I find it closed. In Amsterdam it was the Riijks Museum, Bangkok, the Kings Palace and now we arrive at the Prado Museum 20 minutes before closing. And New Years day they were also closed. Maybe when we return to Madrid I'll get a chance. We were able to find a smaller exhibition called "Tears of Eros" at the nearby Thyssen Museum that had works of Warhol, Dali, Munch, Picasso, Cezanne, Mapplethorpe Avedon and Rubens and Henri Rousseau.

New Year's Eve in Madrid at Sol Plaza is a wild event. There must have been 20 to 50,000 people milling about the center. People were selling bottles of champagne on the street which I came to learn was for spraying on people, not to drink. It was freezing temperatures out and it was only the crowd that kept me warm. I couldn't believe the amount of debris left behind after the celebration but crews had it totally cleaned up by morning. Many people were wearing crazy wigs and groups of men were clustered singing drinking songs. During the countdown it's customary to eat grapes so there were plenty of grape sellers along our walk to the center.

Next installment- The trip to Alcala and Barcelona then France- Avignon, Vienne, and Lyon


  1. hope everyday is more fun than the last!!

  2. We stopped at a little village near Avignon named Saze for lunch a couple of days ago. The name of the restaurant was "La Dolce Vita" I think it's maybe good luck.


You might have something you want to say about this!