Saturday, February 18, 2017

On the Road

Traveling Through Spain
So far after 6 days on the road I am surprised that...
How few people speak English making communication difficult.
Every town seems to have a Burger King, Mc Donalds and many Starbucks. 
The daytime hours seem relatively quiet in most places but by 8:00 PM each town seems to be ready to party with cafes, restaurants and sidewalks brimming with people.  Many restaurants closed for a large portion of afternoon and don't open up until early evening.  
A chilly 50 degrees does not deter Spaniards from al fresco dining.
A few more words about Madrid
I was intrigued by this marker in the Madrid Plaza. It's the central point to which distances are measured to other cities from Madrid. 
According to Guinness Book of World Records Sobrino de Botin Restaurant located in Madrid was founded in 1725, and is one of the oldest restaurants continuously operating in the world.
Toledo
A medieval town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and capital of Spain until the 16th century. It's a picturesque town set on a hill overlooking the Tagus River. Toledo proudly preserves its 2,000 year history in more than 100 buildings and monuments. At its peak, between the 11th and 13th century, it was known as the "City of Three Cultures" for the harmonious co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish Communities. 
It was a charming partially walled city with narrow cobblestone streets  and a stunning cathedral.  The Toledo Cathedral is ranked among the greatest Gothic structures in Europe. Inside, the cathedral contains important masterpieces, including a spectacular baroque high altar, two paintings by El Greco  and 750 stained glass windows. 

Granada is a city in southern Spain’s Andalusia region, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It's known for grand examples of medieval architecture dating to the Moorish occupation, especially the Alhambra. The city has over 70, 000 students as there are many academic institutions, Since the sky was quite hazy this is the clearest photo I could get. 

The La Alhambra is Granada's most popular tourist destination. When the Moors crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in AD 711 they claimed this hillside city. Construction of the Alhambra began in the 13th  century and continued over centuries. It is a complex of palaces and courtyards in a deliberate effort to create paradise on Earth. From my perspective they did accomplish that goal. There are patios with stunning views, gardens, cupolas, fountains, pools, and the Royal Palace that are jaw dropping. 
I stood in the room where Queen Isabella signed the royal agreement giving Christopher Columbus ships and money to discover and acquire new lands. 
Amazing craftsmanship-a demonstration of inlaid wood and metal.
Ending the afternoon with a Spanish culinary tradition tapas. I thought they were going to be small sampler plates but each one was like a meal in itself
 Fried Eggplant Drizzled with a Honey Roasted Syrup
  Paella
Potatoes with Spanish Chorizo Sausage 
A bit of flamingo music added to the ambiance of the eating experience.
Next stop: Cordoba
  

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