My European Travel Pt. 17, Madrid, Spain

Hola ! Como estas ?


Oh, that reminds me that in the Philippines where I came from, the common greeting is Comusta.  I can’t help but talk about the Philippines, too, when it comes to Spain.  Much of  the Philippines’ written history is closely intertwined with Spain, almost 400 years , that is,  and in fact, the country was named  after King Philip II. Oh, and while I’m at it,  do you know that the Philippines  was the only ” colony” the US ever had? American historians so far have refused to refer to it as  ” colonized ” , and they weren’t wrong because the US  that time did not use that term either. They were more comfortable using ” annexed”, and the “war” that  lasted 2 years  and left hundeds of thousands of Filipinos dead  was ironically called Pacification Campaign. ” Pacification” didn’t have anything to do with Pacific Ocean where Las Islas Filipinas are located.  Well, this is just a bit of historical trivia for the benefit of  us  American insulares.

Moving on…..

Madrid, Spain……..  I assume everyone knows about Madrid.  There’s really nothing  I can add that you cannot find on Google.  There’s just one  thing  for you to ponder….. have you ever wondered how the history of the world would have  turned out if  the King or Queen of Spain didn’t finance  the explorations  of Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus, and Ferdinand  Magellan ?

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain, la di da …. ”  Spain is second to Switzerland as far as land  elevation is concerned.  The plain in the song from the musical My fair Lady is incorrect. The rain in Spain falls mainly in the northern mountains. Most of the plain in Spain   are, in fact,  elevated , some of which are, surprisingly,  almost desert- like. They call it Black Desert … the land is not colored black, but the vegetation is sparse and looks dark, not green. I’m mentioning this boring topography because Spain’s  scenery  is in stark contrast to , let’s say Switzerland’s, which is mountaineous ,green, and idyllic. We travelled thru such scenery  in Spain for hours.



Outside of central Madrid is the area with modern buildings.


565.566.Actually, very little of medieval structures in Madrid survived.  That is quite surprising because Spain was an imperial power since  the 1400’s.  The reason  could be because the Moslems ruled most of Spain for 800 years, (  thus, no medieval structures ) until they were driven out by the Crusaders and small Christian communities in Spain that were spared of Muslim domination.  The Reconquista  ( Reconquest )  of Muslim strongholds in Andalucia, Granada , and Cordoba in 1492 marked the end of Muslim rule in Spain. As an aside, the world famous Flamenco dance is of Moorish origin.


A walking tour of Madrid


.Above is the area where Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived in harmony. It was  like a Jewish / Muslim Quarter .


Above is the pedestrian shopping area.


.The pictures below is the center of Madrid.  It;s called  Plaza de la Puerta del Sol.  Gateway of the Sun..  This is the place where Madrilenos congregate  on any occasion.  The statue of the man on the horse is Tio Pepe. Uncle Pepe.  Funny that I actually have a Tio Pepe. Tio Pepe  is Spain’s version of U. S. ‘s Uncle Sam, or maybe Uncle John? 598

Below picture is just across from the picture above.


.599.Above is a stone slab, in the center of  the   plaza, supposedly ” the point where all distances are measured.” This is the center of Spain. All roads radiate from this point. It’s Km. Zero


Europeans are so passionate about soccer.  We were actually in Spain during the Championship game between Spain and Italy.  Our driver, Torino, was Italian, and our tour manager, Ruben, was a Spaniard.  They had a heated argument on our way to Madrid, then did not speak to each other  the whole day. Torino abandoned us the next day, and Ruben franrically looked for another driver. Torino came back  the next day. How childish, those two. Oh, Spain won.



Below is the Plaza Mayor, courtesy of Wikipedia.


In case you haven’t noticed, the paintings in the building below are of naked people.





There;s a person in there… must be a little kid.

Below is Madrid’s City Hall.


.After  our tour of madrid, we had  dinner  near Plaza Mayor (  Optional dinner at $35 each ). Below is the place where we had dinner of tapa, etc. and bottomless Sangria. ( drink all you can ) Sangria is a wine punch , and is named after  blood, or sangre, due to its dark red color. The place is like a dungeon, dark, and cramped, but the ambiance is nice.





..There’s the tapa and some cheese on the table. Tapa means to cover, but tapa as food means appetizers or snacks.  In other words, the cheese is also a tapa.  At first, Mom and I  got a little confused.  You see, tapa in the Philippines is a common dish for breakfast , but it is solely  thinly sliced beef, and eaten with fried rice and fried egg. The beef is marinated in vinegar or lemon juice  and spices, then air dried.  Here in the US, we can buy already thinly sliced beef from groceries selling Philippine stuff, and the beef is called tapadera.  The tapa is  also an appetizer  in the Philippines.


.Look, 2 pitchers of Sangria on our table.



.Happy hour ! Good job, Sangria, good job.






Wasted ? Nope, it’s a dungeon, so there are iron clamps (?) on the walls. Ahahaha.

By the way,  I’d like to apologize for my flippant  and rather insensitive statement re assault weapons, on my previous post.   ” I need an assault weapon that can fire off 100 rounds of ammunition without reloading, freakin’ zombies.” , was what I wrote .I am for gun control, especially assault weapons.  Assault weapons are used in battlefield, war, and zombie invasion,  otherwise, they should be locked up in the armory.  If you’re an American, you know what I mean.

This is all for now.  Toledo , Spain is next.

Que tengas un buen dia. Have a good day. PEACE !


102 responses to this post.

  1. Toledo? Where’s Barcelona?


  2. FANTASTIC photos, Ren! Everything looks so beautiful. Glad you are having such a good time and sharing it with us! BTW: Couldn’t agree more about the assault weapons and the Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse. Very reasonable. Can’t wait for your photos from Toledo!! 🙂


  3. I love your Eu


  4. Sooo….wasted on the chains? Kidding! 😛

    I do wonder about that kilometer zero, so no matter which way you go its a beginning huh? Love the culture and buildings! 🙂


  5. oops. It posted my reply before I wanted it too. I was going to say I love this journey, and I love the photographs. The last one of you having fun is just brilliant





  7. Still making the most of your trip, I see. I’m disappointed that we didn’t see any pictures of the supposedly nekkid pictures in the museum. And yes, sangria can work wonders.

    I have a hard time taking “Tio Pepe” seriously. Sorry, Spain!

    You know that many of the spaghetti westerns were filmed in Spain.


    • The Prado Museum? It’s a pity it wasn;t in our tour. I so wanted to see Velasquez, et al ( can’t recall the names at the moment)

      Tio Pepe, LOL ! Do you know that’s a nickname for Jose ?( both with only 2 syllables)

      Oh, I didn’t know that. I thought they were filmed in Italy coz of the spaghetti reference. Thanks for the info.


      • Most of the creators I think were Italian (hence the name), but many of the movies were shot in Spain, perhaps some of the areas you traveled through.


        • * trying to remember * yes, the scenery did look like the WWWest. I wonder, why Spain and Italy? Oh, wait, the producers and directors were Italians…. the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, starring Clint Eastwood. The theme song is quite famous, isn’t it?


  8. Posted by Virginia Duran on February 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I enjoyed this very much! I lived in Madrid for a long time and was nice to see your prerspective :). if you ever come back check my Madrid map here


    • Just saw the map…. I don’t know if we ever went there. Hopefully I can go back and check out my great grandpa’s place in Segovia… Sta. Maria la Nueva. That’s where he came from….

      Cheers, Virginia !


  9. Posted by iamkaicee on February 2, 2013 at 3:19 am

    What a clean city! I loved your photos girl 🙂 and I noticed, you lost some weight in these photos! looking good 🙂


  10. Posted by Lapiskamay on February 2, 2013 at 8:32 am

    nICE opening paragraphs! I didn’t even know about the “Pacification”. thanks for the trivia.
    nice pix, again!


    • Thanks, lapiskamay ! I’ve always been interested in Philippine history, as much as American history , of course. What interested me most was the fact that the US History books at school barely talked about American colonization of the Philippines. My university prof though talked about it extensively.


      • Posted by Lapiskamay on February 3, 2013 at 12:52 am

        History is written by the victor. Now I remember another professor of mine who’s also well verse in history. i think they both given us a different perspective in history. 🙂


        • You know, our HS history books have mentioned the US incursion into Philippine territory in one sentence. It’s like one blink in US history that doesn’t deserve an explanation… and the irony is , it’s a life-changing event in Philippine history. Our university professor has a better sense of history than the writers of the book. Fail.


          • Interesting you raise the U.S. incursion here absolutely it was a hugely significant event and in fact; potentially could have gone dramatically wrong for the U.S. without the assistance of the Catholic Church.


            • You know what they say over there? 400 years in the convent, 50 years in Hollywood.

              There’s a book by Stanley Karnow, ” IN OUR IMAGE: America’s Empire in the Philippines. The author received a Pulitzer Prize in History for this book.

  11. I love Spanish tapas! I can eat a bunch of those and make that my whole meal for the entire day. Great photos as always, and you looked like you had fun in Madrid. 🙂


    • Simpleek, did you go to the same restaurant? Oh, Meson isn’t a restaurant… it’s a pub, I think


      • No. I actually didn’t have any optional dinners offered in the tour we went to. When I was in Spain, my mom and I kind of wandered off during our free time from the bus tour and found some good places.


        • I wondered about those who didn’t join. They were on their own, definitely, because we had the bus and the tour guide, and before we had dinner, the group had a walking tour of the city, included.


  12. Interesting “damsel in distress” closing pic!
    Great “travel post” – again!


  13. What a superb post !
    You are really great writer !
    Presented so skilfully and elegantly !


  14. Wonderful photos and loved the bit of history in the beginning 🙂 Digging this now 🙂


  15. “Europeans are so passionate about soccer.” Agree.
    I am big Galatasaray fan btw. 😀


  16. Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes on February 3, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I love visiting your site, Renx, it’s like flicking through a magazine.
    Those pictures, ALL, are just fantastic. Love your pic in the dungeon with all that scribble on the wall. And the dancing. Oh, joy – just joy. Lovely 🙂


    • Haha Noeleen, we were all happy * thanks Sangria * And thanks for the nice comments… though I don’t think I take great pictures. majority are not in focus, ha ha.


  17. Posted by jakesprinter on February 3, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful places there my friend 🙂


  18. Very lovely photos and a very interesting post… 🙂

    You wrote: “have you ever wondered how the history of the world would have turned out if the King or Queen of Spain didn’t finance the explorations of Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher Columbus, and Ferdinand Magellan ?” – yeah that’s right (I’ve wondered “if not” too) the spanish monarchy (and the portuguese too) contributed indirectly but with many resources to change the world – what started with the desire to find a faster route to India carried on a lot of other things happen… 🙂

    History is often not pretty to look at – in the rearview mirror bright lights – all the European colonial powers have skeletons in the closet – both small and large countries – the so-called New World (U.S.) has too, for example in relation to the Phillipines….


    • Oh, I forgot the Portuguese ! Didn’t Spain and Portugal divide the world between them ?

      yes they were looking for spices … and funny thing is, almost all the places and people they ” discovered were called ” Indians ! Filipinos, were at one time, called Los Indios. And how about the American Indians !

      yes, true about the US-Philippine relations. 50 years under American rule, ledrakenoir, from 1898 to July 4, 1945 when they gave the Philippines it’s “independence.”


  19. aaah Philippine/Spanish history… I miss studying it. I actually googled a few historical tidbits when I read your opening paragraph to refresh my memory hehe


  20. i think the buildings are so amazing… 🙂


  21. Posted by supernova on February 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Beautiful Post Ren, I enjoyed it very much 🙂 Great photo’s of a classical city. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself 🙂


    • Thank you, supernova. And i enjoy your blog, too. * I think I want to take pic of the fork and spoons we dug up in our backyard. They are silver and dated 1847.


  22. Happy ending… 🙂


  23. lovely pics..lots of fun!! i love ur style!!


  24. hello, Ren… nice pic series, as usual … hey, two ladies seemed to have a grand time – the one dancing and the other, younger, pretending to be a damsel in distress, haha. some trip down history’s lane, huh? 😉 hey, i hope you’re doing okay, kapatid… 🙂


  25. Looks like heaven on Earth! ! !


  26. Awesome pics as always!


  27. breathe taking photos thank you for sharing


  28. ahaha, gusto ko ang ladida part, parang batang makwento at makulit. hello, Ren… 🙂


  29. I’ll meet you next time, some place, I have a feeling…


  30. This is lovely 🙂


  31. Posted by ~REBECCA DAWN~ on February 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    they had naked people painted on buildings? wow!! imagine if that happened here…yikes!! it would be interesting to say the least! not boring at all!!! I loved the plaza Mayor! maybe I should show the picture to my building management. ahem ahem..big hint!!! this is what our buildings should look like!
    iron shackles…well now, im scratching my chin, that gives me ideas and not all of them good! im just kidding!
    wonderful pictures, Ren!!!


    • Oh, man ! Sorry for the late response, Rebecca !

      the building with naked pics are really amazing ! You’d think the folks then wou;d be a bit coy and old fashioned….. but they weren’t , right? I saw a lot of naked people there, ha ha ha.


  32. It is always nice to read of a tourist view of Spain … especially Madrid, etc. Enjoy your tour =)


  33. Nice to read an account of Spain from a tourist point of view — enjoy your trip!


  34. amazing.. just amazing… envy is still with me…


    • Ah, potsquared….. sorry for the late response ! And I know you’re not envious….. Just interested, ha ha. try your best to save up … who knows… you’ll be touring Europe too in the near future.


  35. Amazing pics dear..thanks a lot for sharing


  36. Happy to have found you – passed on you id to our 2 daughters 20 + 22 who are away at college. And we too spent 1 whole month last year in Madrid during the football, and YES – SPAIN WON!!!!!!! i I am sure both girls will follow your blog, too.


  37. I think I forgot to tell you, we are splashing in your mud puddle, again, and loving every minute of it. 🙂


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