Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hola from Spain

As I write this I am in Madrid, Spain, getting ready to head to Toledo. I haven´t found a way yet to upload the pictures I am taking, but as soon as I do I will post them. The first two days here it rained. We forged ahead anyway, taking in all the sights though getting drenched in the process. Yesterday it cleared up and we had a nice time seeing the Reina Sophia art museum (modern art, including the mind bending works of Dali and Picasso.) We also saw Picasso´s famous painting, "Guernica," the painting he did as a tribute to those killed in the Basque town of Guernica by the Germans during the Spanish civil war. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the Royal Botanic Gardens. This garden has been in existence since 1755! The butterfly bushes were over 6 feet tall and in full bloom and there were several display gardens featuring herbs and vegetables.

I am traveling with my youngest daughter, her friend, my friend and her 15 year old. Anyone who knows me, know I am notoriously cheap when it comes to accomodations so we are staying at hostels and pensiones. The hostel here in Madrid is the Mad Hostel, and is pretty nice. The beds are running $14 per night and it does include a continental breakfast. We are in a 6 bed room (there are five of us) and figured what were the odds of a single person showing up. But what do you know, we shared our room each night first with a young man from Texas and then with a young man from Mexico. Not their lucky day. This morning we leave for Toledo and then for points south, including a day trip to Morocco, which the kids are definetely excited about.

It always helps when traveling in a group to travel with people who have similar tastes, food schedules, etc. I am a big breakfast eater. It can be difficult if someone in the group isn´t, since then the whole meal schedule gets thrown off. I always tell my kids, "Eat when you are hungry or when you get the chance!" Not that it ever works, because there is always one who gets up late and misses the free breakfast, then makes you stop at 10am because they are starving. I also enjoy stopping at the local market and selecting fruit, cheese, salami, bread etc. for lunch on the run. It is usually less expensive than eating in a restaurant and it is fun to shop with the locals.

Well, that is all for now. Hope the weather is nice in Crystal Lake and John, don´t forget to water my plants!

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