Arches in the Alcázar de Sevilla. The Alcázar was the original Moorish palace of Sevilla, which was remodeled over the centuries by various Christian kings. Hence the mixture of the … Read more
At the Feria de Abril in Sevilla, Spain, new bullfighter Ramón López, in his first fight in a major ring, did a great job and was rewarded by the crowd … Read more
Three Andalusian girls before the bullfights at the Feria de Abril. Sevilla, Spain, April 2012. The Feria de Abril, or April Fair, in Sevilla is one of the great festivals … Read more
Every poker table is a little different. I’ve played in Chile, Ecuador, Australia, and now in Spain. I’m used to playing in Las Vegas, where the tables sometimes get a … Read more
On the Lunes de Pascua. Easter Monday, many people of Valencia, Spain, dress in traditional finery and parade through the city streets to the cathedral. These three were waiting their … Read more
Here are five things I love about Madrid. I find myself going back to the same places over and over again, not because I’m lazy, but because they’re just that … Read more
It may be a bit of an oversimplification, but you could probably say that Istanbul exists because of the Bosphorus. It was the first thing I wanted to see when we got there. We dropped our bags at the Empress Zoe hotel, and headed right out. We were only a few blocks away, and so our first impressions of Istanbul were those of the strong current flowing from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, the ships lined up waiting for their pilots to take them through the strait, and the lines of fishermen with their lines in dark water.
When Kris and I lived in Madrid thirty-two years ago we worked at a language school that was about eight blocks from our apartment. One of the routes we often took to work took us past a nondescript building with two large oak doors and a small sign beside one of them which identified it as a convent. (Here’s the Google map.)
The same sign offered tours during limited hours, but in all the time we lived here, and in our many subsequent visits to Madrid, we never got around to seeing what was inside the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales. We remedied that this time.
Madrid, first of all, is a great walking city. If you are staying anywhere near the Puerta del Sol. you’ll perhaps first notice that Madrid got smart several years ago and banned all car traffic in the Puerta itself as well as all streets leading out of it for a distance of several blocks. Usually the only vehicle you’ll ever have to contend with is the occasional taxi that has received dispensation to come into the center to drop passengers at the hotels.
Spaniards love to walk. They do it all the time, but particularly in the early evenings and Sundays when they habitually dar un paseo with their girlfriends, or their extended families, or whomever. They don’t necessarily have any destination in mind, except perhaps a restaurant or bar. They just like to walk.