Ten years ago I set dainty foot on Spain for the first time. I instantly knew I was home, after all it is the land of my ancestry. Spain is a vast beautiful country with very different regions in all directions and the Spaniards are a proud, strong willed, stubborn bunch with a rich fascinating history; full of traditions and a fierce joy for life. Despite some violent, turbulent and sad episodes throughout that history they live life to the fullest, grab the bull by the horns if you will, (pun intended) as if every second is the last. So this year when we were deciding on our vacation we looked at each other and said, "its time to go back to Spain!" On our last visit we started with Madrid with a day trip to gorgeous Toledo and ended in Barcelona where my paternal grandfather came from. In between we took a high speed train to Sevilla in the beautiful province of Andalusia (where you can learn lots about it here) and while there visited Cordoba, Ronda and the white villages (in an excruciating two hour drive through winding mountains) and Granada, where the incredible Alhambra palace stands and the light is magic and the place where my maternal grandfather was from who said "no one should ever die without seeing Granada." Glad I listened. So this trip we decided to go north and west, meaning Basque country, Asturias, Galicia...but first...Madrid, if only for two short days.
Madrid is the capital of Spain, its stately, its grand, its beautiful.
from the plane....yay, we're here!!!!!!
Hotel Preciados, stairs.
pulpo at El Corte Ingles (my favorite store)
10:00 PM? time for dinner
tapas at La Trucha
tortilla espanola and boquerones or pescaito frito, yummy!
Crossing the Plaza de Santa Ana on our way to....
for a tablao flamenco! OK, truth is flamenco is really an Andalusia thing, and they do it well I might add, so this is a tourist place but it's really good and it was going to be our only chance to see it on this trip.
the bar and restaurant section of casa patas
the back room
waiting for the show
traditional way to end the night, chocolate and churros at Chocolateria San Gines!
El Palacio Real
Plaza de Oriente on a typical Sunday afternoon
the cutest egg and ham sandwich I've ever seen, quite delicious too, at Cafe de Oriente.
the most magnificent magnolia at the botanical gardens, where I won't bore anyone with about 100 other pictures
1/4 cochinillo asado at Asador Aranga. Our last night, thank goodness or they'd have to roll me out of here.