Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
First a friend treated me to lunch at Swagat up near the Diego de Leon metro stop. It's hidden away at Alonso Heredia #22 but once you've found it you're sure to venture back. Their midday lunch menu is 11euros - I chose vegetable samosas and chicken tandoori. The samosas were outstanding and the tandoori well above average. Although the portions were a touch on the small side the menu did, of course, include a drink and dessert. And they've put a lot of effort into the decor and charm of the place which just added to the experience.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
I'm attaching this video taken from the AVE to try and show how it felt to ride along at almost 200mph, though I'm not sure it really captured the speed. Nacho tried to add some drama in there at the end. :) It was a really cool trip, extremely comfortable and a new experience. There's a debate going on about whether it's worth the money or not. Our roundtrip tickets Madrid-Taragonna cost 125 euros each. I think it's worth it, especially since our final destination was Reus and not Barcelona, meaning we saved our hosts 2 2-hour roundtrips.
Sunday we went into Taragonna for some sight-seeing and the aperitivo. Turns out Taragonna was once the capital of the Roman province of Hispania and the city (and the region) are filled with ruins. On the road from Reus to Altafulla we came across this funeraly tower from the 1st century.
Taragonna also has it's own more modern customs, such as that of building the human towers during the fesitvals of San Magi. On their Ramblas (which I found out refers to a wide boulevard ending at the ocean) you find this statue commemorating that tradition. By the way, I think the festivals were this past weekend and the human towers went up without incidence.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Today is the Assumption and, good "Catholic" country that it is, that means a fiesta in Spain. Here in Madrid it's also the Virgen of the Paloma - patron saint(ess) of the City and of the bomberos (firemen). From what I understand sometime in the late 1700s a very pious Madrileña saved a picture of the Virgen from a group of rowdy neighorhood boys and then built a chapel in her honor. After the queen's sick son was reportedly cured by a pass beneath the picture, the Virgen became cause for celebration. It's still common practice for mother's to carry their children beneath her picture and she's honored today as the "most revered of Virgens." Translation: in addition to a mid-week work break, Madrileños get a big party in the streets down in the La Latina neighborhood.
We headed down there for lunch today and it of course turned into a full afternoon of drinks in the street. This evening the party will be even bigger - the steets are decorated with banners, flags, and flowers and all of the bars have set up outside bars to serve the party-goers. Right now we can watch the parade - a group of fireman will carry a picture of the Virgen through the streets for all to see.
Today is also the big summer lottery drawing - 20,000,000 euros to the winner and various smaller prizes to those who match parts of the winning number. This drawing is basically the second biggest of the year - after the Christmas Lottery. Fingers crossed!!
P.S. I still plan to blog on last weekend's trip to Tarragona and Reus. But mid-week fiestas get in the way... :)
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
One of my friends got into town yesterday, and she came bearing gifts. I had casually mentioned our favorite bagel flavors to her one day and she managed to bring them to us!! Along with a bunch of other stuff. Parmesan goldfish, ranch dressing, frito twists, luna bars, jelly beans, Reese's cups. So yummy! This friend lived with me here in Madrid for two years about 4 or 5 years ago so she knew all too well exactly what I would be missing the most...