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Monday, January 7, 2008

One good thing that has come out of me being sick, I have been able to stay on top of my blog. I am hoping to be back at work tomorrow; that is the game plan. And although I don't feel 100%, it is time to get back to my routine. Today, I thought about all the things that didn't get done while I was on vacation these past 3 weeks and that got me thinking about places I have been to in the last 10+ years. One of those places was Spain; Madrid to be exact. I visited Madrid in March 1997. I went on my own and stayed in Madrid for a week. I fell in love with the city and vowed to return in a year. Well, that didn't happen! But I am itching to go back as early as this summer. There are 2 regions in Spain I would love to see: the Basque area, particularly, the village where my grandmother's family is from, in Bilbao, and of course, one of my BIG loves: Andalusia, the part of the country that includes Sevilla and Granada. Since none of my Madrid photos survived the fire we had at our old house in Eagle Rock, I decided to search for photos online of some of my favorite places in Madrid. Here are a few of those sites:

This is a very famous site, the fountain of Cibeles, or in Spanish, la fuente de cibeles. The fountain is located on one of the busiest streets in Madrid, "Calle Alcala". It was extremely difficult for me to get across the street. In fact, I got half-way across the street and realized there was still another half of the street to go. I almost died getting across that street, but it was worth the risk. Breath-taking!

Speaking of Calle Alcala, here it is in all its glory!

This is the "hub" of the city: Puerto del Sol. I spent a lot of my time in this area. Puerto del Sol is a quad, a gathering place for tourists from all parts of the world, as well as for Madrilenos. One day, a week day, I was strolling through Puerto del Sol. I was taking pictures and saw a teenaged bride and groom, dressed in traditional bridal clothing, dancing through the quad. There was a small group of family members following behind the couple and a few musicians. I followed them, in the hopes of taking some pictures of them. I kept thinking this opportunity would make a great photo! A photo of a life-time! I didn't get too far because I got stopped by an older, American woman from the Mid-west, who spoke absolutely terrible Spanish! She had her dictionary in her hand and asked me something so off-the-wall in Spanish, that even I couldn't understand what the hell she was saying. I remember telling her I spoke English and that I was also American. Omigod, she went absolutely ape shit hearing those words. When I was first stopped by this woman, I thought she had a real emergency. I later found out she and her husband were looking for Puerto del Sol and did not realize that they were already at their destination. I told her she was standing in Puerto del Sol, then I took off to look for the bride and groom. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found. I ran into that American couple one more time during my week in Madrid; they were at the Prado the day I visited the museum. They sure remembered me. They came up to me in the restaurant at the museum, to say "hi". They had another couple, also Americans, with them. The other woman in the party asked me if I knew where the "no smoking" section of the restaurant was. I told her, "This isn't the U.S. There is no such thing as 'no smoking' areas in Europe." WOW.

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