Monday, April 14, 2008

Home from Spain

Mon pm

We're home! The flights went well, although we had a close call with the connection in Boston. We had 2 hrs between flights, but there was a mob getting bags and going through customs, then re-checking the bags back thru. They just had us leave our bags and go, so I had a suspicion that the bags wouldn't get to the next flight on time, and they didn't. We had to hotfoot it to the shuttle bus and run to make our DFW connection but we did. Finally got to Austin at midnight and waited for bags that didn't come, but we were expecting that. Was first in line to fill out the lost bag form so we didn't have to wait too long at the airport.

Got to sleep late this morning and recover and our bags just arrived, so we're home free. Ebony is back from the kennel and she survived, so all is well. Sharon's doing her laundry and I'm going to go see if all my shows recorded - got lots to catch up on - LOST!!!!!

Oh, Melissa, I had about 25 Euros left at the airport, so we bought 2 huge bars of Toblerone and a bag of mini-toblerones!!!!!! Sorry!!!! mmmmmmm

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mmmm, Hot Chocolate


We didn´t do too much today - just went to the Puerta de Sol and Plaza Mayor areas and walked around and watched all the tourists. Lots of shops, plazas with outdoor cafes, and wandering entertainers. A brass band, various statue-type mimes (pretending to be a statue then move and scare people), acordian players and stuff. It was sunny but cool, so we sat and had a hot chocolate and pastry. The hot chocolate was NOT hot choc milk, it was more like hot Hershey´s syrup, just a little thinner than that - yum.

Then we walked around some more, met Elisha, walked around some more, stopped for a drink at a sidewalk cafe, then went inside another and had a late lunch. Then we walked back to the hotel. Now we´re resting and packing - leaving in the morning. Looks like our flights have not been canceled, at least so far, so hopefully the airports won´t be too crowded.

Instead of going out for dinner tonight, we went to TGI Friday's and each had a nice, large chocolate dessert. MMMM

Bye for now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

San Lorenzo de el Escorial

Fri PM

Today we took an hour bus ride to San Lorenzo de el Escorial to see the Royal Monastery. When it was built in 1563 (took 21 years) and for many years afterwards, it was the largest building in the world. Lots of churchy paintings, stone hallways, king´s palace stuff, huge and beautiful basilica, painted ceilings, and the Royal Pantheon - burial place of all the kings of spain and relatives. It was pretty neat. It was really cold and windy too - it´s up in the mountains and there´s a tiny, cute town next door.

Now I´m browsing AA website to see if our flights from Boston and DFW are going to be cancelled. Thurs both flights were cancelled, Friday´s flights I won´t know for a few hours. Maybe we´ll get to spend a couple of days in Boston. Both flights (Boston to DFW and DFW to Austin) are on the MD-80s which have been grounded.

No plans for tomorrow - maybe just hang out. Maybe the sun will come out again.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Thurs afternoon

Wed we took the metro to the bus station and got tickets on a bus to Segovia - another walled town about and hour away. It was really neat - they had an old Roman aqueduct, lots of little streets inside the walled part, a huge cathedral and an old castle. The castle tour was pretty neat.

Last night we met Elisha for dinner at a German beer hall type place - had apple cider and some real good roasted chicken and sausage.

Today we slept in late and then met up with Elisha - she took the day off. Went to another art museum, ate lunch, walked around a park, and then back to the hotel. I think we´re running out of things to do cause we don´t want to do any more art museums and it´s been pretty rainy. Tomorrow, we´re planning another bus trip out of town. Still haven´t found an Espana hoody and now I´m also looking for a polka hat!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Museum Day

Tues 10pm

OK, this first picture is for Melissa - we´re seeing lots of smart cars here but this one was particularly cute.

Last night we met Elisha and she took us to a favorite place for dinner with her friend Sara. It was another bar. I think the only place she knows to go eat at are bars that serve tapas, so that´s what we had. They were really good - the second picture is a shish-kabob thingy that comes hanging from a stand.

Today we took the metro down to the museum area. We tried to go to the Sophia art museum, but it is closed on Tues, so we walked down to the Prado and saw lots and lots of paintings and sculptures. Finally got arted out after a few hours. Then we walked around the city a long ways in the govt buildings and museums area and wound up at the Hard Rock cafe so of course, had to go in and eat lunch and buy tshirts. Then took about an hour to walk back to the hotel via a round-about route cause I had left the street map in the room, so we walked from metro station to metro station and figured out our route that way. The metro maps don´t really show any streets or street names, but we knew which metro station we wanted to end up at.

Stayed in a couple of hours and rested up, then decided to go to a movie. Went down to the Plaza Espana where there are a lot of theatres, some that show Original Version movies that are subtitled. Went to see Juno - really tiny theatre - good movie. They didn´t sell popcorn or anything tho, booo! Tomorrow, road trip to Segovia.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Toledo, Spain

Mon 6:30 PM spain time

Today we went to Toledo, an old medieval town about an hour from Madrid. Well, an hour if you went straight there. Unfortunately, the bus we took stopped at every hick town between here and there so it took us 2 1/2 hours with people getting on and off constantly. That´s OK tho, cause the town was really neat. It had very narrow cobblestone streets and lots of cute shops and pretty churches. We walked around quite a bit and then walked to the train station to take the bullet train back. We had to wait an hour for the train, but it only took 1/2 to get back. It was really fast and comfortable.

Now we´re back in the room and waiting for Elisha to come over and go out and eat with us. She´s taking us somewhere she´s been wanting to eat at. Last night we had fancy pizza and salad, it was really good. It´s hard to order without Elisha there tho cause lots of the words on the menu aren´t in my dictionary!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Market day

Today we had a good time browsing at the El Rastro open-air flea market. I had to ask Elisha the name of it several times and so I took a picture of a t-shirt with the name on it so I wouldn´t have to ask her anymore. They had blocks and blocks and plazas filled with all sorts of stuff: clothes, shoes, jewelry, lots of other junk, second-hand stuff - just about everything. Andrea, you would´ve thought you´d died and gone to heaven. I was glad you were NOT with us because I would have had to just leave you there. When we got there around 10:30 there were quite a few people there - when we left at noon we could barely squeeze our way out.After that we took the metro back to our hotel and rested for a little while, then walked to Elisha´s apartment. It was about a 15-20 min walk. I got her internet phone hooked up and copied all my movies & tv shows I brought to her computer because she´s tired of watching everything in Spanish. Unfortunately her computer wouldn´t play them. We went out for lunch at a local bar/restaurant and then went back to her apt so I could fix her computer. Which I, of course, was able to do.Sharon & I took the metro back and got off a stop too early to find a sunglasses store cause mine broke, so we wandered around a little and couldn´t find one then came home. I´ll look tomorrow. We´ll probably go out later for dinner. Planning to go to Toledo tomorrow on the train.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sat 8PMWell, we´re in for the night and getting ready for bed. We rested a while and then Elisha came over and we went on a walking tour and had tapas and some gellato. I took a few pictures and am posting them. We´re staying in the old part of Madrid and it´s really pretty - lots of plazas and little tiny streets with outdoor restaurants and roving accordian players. Tomorrow we´re going to some sort of outdoor market and maybe a museum or 2.

Great Hotel

Wow. What a difference from Australia. Not only does this room have free DSL and free wireless, but there´s a laptop that comes with the room. I´m impressed. Of course, now I´ll have to actually upload some pictures. Well, gotta take some first I guess (oh by the way, I HATE this keyboard - everything´s in the wrong place, and I can´t even find the colon character).

We´re in Spain!

Sat 10;11 am Madrid time -

This is a weird keyboard, so excuse my typos. We´re here - had a nice trip. We´re at the hotel but can´t check in for a couple of hours so we´re going to walk around downtown and take some pictures. Hello to everyone from sunny (but cool) Spain.