Thursday, February 16, 2017

Out and About in Madrid

Before we step out and about in Madrid-here's a recap of the soccer quarter finals championship game from last night between Real Madrid and Napoli teams. The following photos and comments are supplied by Wes, a member of our group who achieved celebrity status by attending the game.   He is much to be admired going to the game by himself and mingling with some other 95, 000 soccer fans. 
Security was very tight with the following measures in place: Security guards on horseback and guards with dogs, a mesh net erected between the stands and field so fans couldn't throw things down onto the field, no alcohol sold inside the stadium, bottles brought in could not have caps on to deter using them as missiles to throw, food could only be purchased outside the stadium but could be carried in and fans were separated by teams. It all seemed to work and happily there were no riots with a good time had by all. The final score Real Madrid winning 3-1.
  
So if you care to dress like the locals for your sightseeing trip around the city here are some of my observations:
Need skinny jeans, boots, a dark jacket and don't forger your scarf. It was a chilly 46 degrees so even having gloves was a good idea. 
The morning was spent visiting El Escorial, an imposing 16th century architectural masterpiece. It was completed in 1584 as a residence for the King of Spain and a monastery for the Hieronymite monks.  Well the King of Spain Phillip the II is long gone but the monastery is still active with the Benedictine Order residing.  The palace was not heated so quite cold in the places where toured but certainly stunning with tapestries, frescoes and paintings. The most interesting thing about this palace is that all the Spanish kings from the last 500 years are buried there in a crypt, a chamber room.
Moving on to The Valley of the Fallen where Francisco Franco is buried. An imposing statue is erected on the hill and a church that he designated to be built in his honor. The country is quite divided with personal opinions regarding recognition of Franco's achievements and his reign as a dictator.  
Photo observations while out on an early evening walking tour of downtown Madrid. 
It took me 3 days but I finally found my first clock. 
Lots to see on the plaza with human forms taking on new shapes to entertain the crowds.
Who would ever guess this gorgeous floral display was flowering kale. 
Great architectural features everywhere. 
Perhaps there may be some who may have wondered how Bella is getting along without Mr.C and Mrs. S . This recent photo says it all. I am told she has decided whatever Mulligan gets she wants too. 
Healthy Friday with some Mediterranean Eats and a visit to the town of Toledo with a stop to UNESCO World Heritage Site. 



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