June 22, 2012
We spend our last full day in Spain exploring in Madrid, the capital. It’s a large, modern, bustling city. We are frankly running out of steam and can’t do it the justice it deserves, so decide just to have a quiet sort of walkabout day. We head for the Royal Palace and the Cathedral, and then head over to the Temple of Debod, walking through parks to enjoy the green space. The Temple of Debod is an authentic Egyptian temple that was a gift to Spain for its help cataloging and moving antiquities which would be flooded by the Aswan dam. It was brought over and reconstructed in the Parque de Oeste, and overlooks much of Madrid. As we were enjoying the Park, we noticed a cable car and decided to check it out. The cable car heads across the Manzanares River and up to Casa de Campo, one of Europe’s largest parks. There are beautiful views of the Royal Palace & the Cathedral. The Park is huge and appeared to be criss-crossed with a huge network of mountain bike trails. The hillsides are covered with Spanish fir trees: they’re almost limbless until you get to the top and then POOF! A big puff ball of tree! We caught the cable car just as it was closing for siesta, and had to wait for an hour at Casa de Campo for it to reopen. That hour of rest turned out to be just what we needed! We walked about, lay in the grass with our shoes off, watched birds, and then had tinto de verano at the cafe. I’m still not used to the meal schedule, but I think I might be getting the hang of this siesta thing! We headed over to the Plaza Mayor and had a late lunch/early dinner. Before we hopped back on the Metro to the hotel, we found a little market and got a few snacks to tide us over until breakfast. There was so much to see here, but our lazy outdoorsie day was just what we needed.
FINAL THOUGHTS on a great trip!
We really had a great time, and can’t thank Sterling and Teresa enough. We wouldn’t have seen half as much without you!
- The people in both countries were friendly and welcoming.
- Although language wasn’t a huge barrier, both of us wish that we spoke Spanish, and I’d like to learn before we take another trip to a non-English-speaking country. The experience is just much richer if you can communicate well.
- Although we don’t think of ourselves as “big city” people, we really love visiting them. The energy, the bustle, and ease of transportation are great. (Note to the city council of Barcelona: put in some more escalators! Your hills are torture!)
- Just as the UK broadened our appreciation of beer, this trip broadened our appreciation of olives & olive oil. Who knew they could have such varied tastes! Now where can we buy them over here???
- Goats are fearless! Or is that crazy?
Loved the landscape of Andalucia – spikes of rock topped with white villages.
High-speed train travel is fun!
Regrets not sticking a toe in the Mediterranean.
Loved the periwinkles and blues of Chefchaouen.
Loved the huge, unique doors in both countries.
Wanted to bring home a Spanish fir tree.
Regrets not getting a hoopoe picture!
Also regrets not sticking a toe in the Mediterranean.
And to our readers: if you’ve stuck with us this far, boy do you need to get out more! Take a vacation and then tell us all about it!