Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas trip 2011

Hello all,

So finally I am back on blogger. I've been too busy to sit down and write about my travels. I also haven't had much inspiration to write much of anything. Now that I have some quiet time, I can tell you all the details about my Christmas vacation.

My very first stop was Madrid. I caught a ride on Friday December 23rd with a student to Madrid, and I stayed in a hostel. I am not a big fan of hostels, because I am not accustomed to sharing a room with so many people. It was cheap so I tolerated it.

I mostly relaxed over the Christmas weekend. I ate some good tapas, saw a movie at the cinema, and went on a wonderful free walking tour.

I was very content with my peaceful and sunny Christmas. The real fun was to come later...

Christmas 2011 in Puerta del Sol. I promise that I was not looking at the camera.Puerta del Sol. The center of Madrid. The Center of spain. The buildings are constructed in a way to imitate the shape of the sun. The side streets represent the rays of the sun. So beautiful on Christmas. It really was the "Gate of the Sun" as the center was so bright.
When statues are constructed this way with two legs of the horse off the ground , it means that the person on the horse died in battle. Galileo helped the Spaniards figure out that this statue would stay in this position with the use of solid bronze at the rear of the horse. This statue (King Philip IV) is in front of the Royal Palace (Palacio Real). Of course, the royal family does not live there. It is used as a museum and a place for official functions. The flag is up when the king is there.
This monument commemorates the victims of the assasination attempt of King Alfonso XIII of and his new wife in 1906.

The window from which Mateu Morral threw the bomb at the wedding procession of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Princess Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena of Battenburg. He would have avoided punishment had he not gone around town celebrating in the most expensive restaurants. Villains. So predictable.
Certificate that proves that this restaurant is the oldest in the world: Casa Botín
A poet who was killed during the times of Franco for being against his views and exposing homosexuality in his writings.
This statue (King Philip III) is in Plaza Mayor. There once was a horrible smell in the plaza due to the accumulation of bird carrions inside the belly of the horse. The birds flew up through the horse's mouth and could not escape so they starved to death. The mouth has been sealed to prevent a repeat of this event.

Christmas rastro in Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor on Christmas

Once was the number one spot for suicide in Madrid. Now the plastic makes it harder to jump from the bridge.
The cathedral. The gated portions shows aspects of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: the cathedral, the remains of the muslim walls, and the star of david.

The street named after Miguel de Cervantes, the second most important person in Spain. In my next post you will see the most important person in Spain.

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