This is out of the normal realm of the travel blog, but I sort of feel I must comment on the current economic situation of Spain. As anyone who pays … 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
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.
Kris: “How do you say ‘piss’?” Tom: “You could say ‘hacer un pis’ but the polite way is ‘orinar’.” Kris: “Wait. How do you say ‘pray’?” Tom: “That’s ‘orar’.” Kris: … Read more
Madrileños, unlike most denizens of big cities, are genuinely friendly and eager to talk about their city, Spain, and almost anything else you want to discuss. Our first night here, we had a discussion about journalism and its position as a profession in Spanish society over beers and a plate of olives at an outdoor cafe in the Plaza Mayor with a young man named José Angel. José Angel’s girlfriend is a journalist and he’s a carpenter, so he allowed as there was some friction with her parents over his “station” in life. I assured him that their positions would probably be reversed if he came to the United States and he’d be welcome to visit us anytime the in-laws got to be too much.