Posts Tagged ‘Madrid’

My European Travel Pt. 17, Madrid, Spain

Hola ! Como estas ?

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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.

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Outside of central Madrid is the area with modern buildings.

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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.

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A walking tour of Madrid

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

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Above is the pedestrian shopping area.

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.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.

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.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

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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.

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Below is the Plaza Mayor, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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

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

Below is Madrid’s City Hall.

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.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.

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..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.

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.Look, 2 pitchers of Sangria on our table.

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

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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 !

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