Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Putting the "rad" in Prado - Madrid, Spain

We had another breakfast of champions this morning....we ate some yummy sweet pastries at a crowded bakery in the heart of Puerta del Sol.  Wendy and I had been eyeing it every time we had walked by the last of couple of days.  We were sucked in by the aroma and beautiful store windows.  As far as Wendy and I are concerned, this place didn't disappoint.  

After breakfast we headed to the oldest market in Madrid. We were thoroughly disappointed in the merchandise being sold there.  If you want to buy clothes or items from India, this is the place to go.  If not, stay away.  The best thing we came away with were these little noise makers you put in your mouth.  They make the most annoying sound in the world but Kevin and I were so intrigued we had to buy some.  It wouldn't be a trip if I didn't buy some toy to play with.  Oh, and on our way to this market we passed the stamp collectors market.  Basically, the Plaza de Mayor was full of cute little old men selling stamps to each other.  Adorable!

We spent the early afternoon at the Palacio Real.  We had a quirky little tour guide that we fell in love with.  She was super concerned with people taking pictures inside the Palace (definitely a no no).  Every room we walked into she would scold someone for having their camera out.  In one room she asked the security guard what this person was holding.  It turned out the person was holding an iPad.  She hadn't seen one before and was concerned the device had a camera.  The security guard told our guide something to the effect that it was an iPad and that all Chinese people had one and it didn't have a camera so it was ok.  Phew!  Glad we got that cleared up.  

The last stop of the day was the Prado Museum.  We picked up a map highlighting the most famous works of art on display and immediately set to work.  I think we were able to see everything we wanted to see in about an hour or so.  We saw famous pieces by El Greco, Goya, Bosch, and Velazquez.  Everything was incredible!     

All in all we had a great trip to Madrid.  The weather was perfect, the company was amazing, and the sights were incredible!  

Monday, February 28, 2011

Real Madrid - Madrid, Spain

As soon as Kevin joined us on Saturday morning, we headed out for a traditional Spanish breakfast.....Churros con chocolate.  Yep, we ate fried Churros with thick hot chocolate for breakfast.  Personally, I think this is too rich for breakfast and should be eaten for dessert....but to each their own!

We spent the early afternoon touring the Real Madrid stadium. We quickly learned that Spaniards are very proud of their country and particularly fond of their soccer team.  After we saw the Real Madrid trophy room we couldn't really argue with their claim that Real Madrid was the best soccer team of the 20th century.  It was pretty clear that they dominated the world.  We toured the stadium, trophy room, guest locker room, area where the players on the sideline sit, and the press conference room (we encouraged Kevin to take some good action shots since the rest of the tourists were taking the most boring pictures ever).  Next time we'll have to plan our visit around a home game.  It would be amazing to see that place in action.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent at the Parque del Retiro (Madrid's equivalent to Central Park).  We wandered the grounds, people watched, and were mesmerized as we watched a man fly a red kite a couple miles into the sky.  

We ended the day touring the Reina Sofia, a famous modern art museum in Madrid.  We were a little frustrated they didn't have a map highlighting the famous pieces of art but we made our way through the museum and admired works by Picasso, Dali, and Miro.  The highlight of the museum was seeing Picasso's Guernica.