madrid

‘In-10-Cities’ of Spain, a Recap and a Video Salute

When we arrive in a new country we look forward to all the places and things we will see and experience.  We pack as much into a day as possible and no matter how hard we try our time in these countries goes by in the blink of an eye and its time to say goodbye.

It is when I sit down to create my recap videos that I stop to look at the thousands of photos I have taken.  It is during these times that I am always reminded of a fun outing that we took, a great food that we tasted, and some of the nice people that we met.  It is not easy to select the photos that speak to us the most about our time in a country or a city but I’m incredibly pleased with the results of this video.  For every city we visited I selected eight photos I think captured the essence of that city highlighting the treasures it had to offer.

In order of appearance the cities we visited over the last six months were;

Alicante

Barcelona

Benidorm

Cartagena

Cordoba

Granada

Madrid

Pilar de la Horadada

Seville

Torrevieja

I was incredibly pleased with the music selection I was able to find to accompany this video.  The song, Rumba Alemana, performed by El Perez, tells a story about Spain as well as any dialogue could; it is filled with a vibrancy, hope and fun; all of the attributes we found from the country, and its people.

We have already begun the process of saying goodbye to those who made our time here in Spain easier and more memorable.  From our local neighborhood grocer Marlene; to our favorite internet café owner Jesus; to our apartment owner Coral and to new friends Ruth and Mick who made our tours of Pilar de la Horadada, Seville and Cordoba so much more fun, we will miss you all.

   Florence Lince

http://about.me/florencelince

 

Madrid

Or, I Like What You’ve Done With the Place

We liked Madrid.  From the first drive through in our taxi to the first walk around from our hostel, we knew we were in a city with a great vibe and feel and it was someplace that we wanted to be.   I think our taxi driver was a little surprised to have two such people oohing and aahing in the back seat but he got into the act and told us about the buildings as we passed and what else there was to see and do in the city.

Neither of us had been to Madrid before and no matter how much research you do or how many guide books you read nothing beats being somewhere and experiencing the sights and sounds for yourself.

Madrid is the capital of Spain with a population of 3.3 million.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is the capital of Spain with a population of 3.3 million in its city center. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Royal Palace is not lived in by the Royal Spanish Family.  They live elsewhere in a larger place.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Royal Palace is not lived in by the Royal Spanish Family. They live elsewhere in a larger place. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is the third largest city in the EU after London and Berlin.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is the third largest city in the EU after London and Berlin. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is a very walker friendly city.  It's a good thing too since they love their chocolate!  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is a very walker friendly city. It’s a good thing too since they love their chocolate! © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial center of Southern Europe.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial center of Southern Europe. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is the 10th most livable city in the world and is considered the among the 12 greenest European cities.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is the 10th most livable city in the world and is considered among the 12 greenest European cities. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Some of the business establishments are decorated in tiles.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Some of the business establishments are decorated in tiles. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

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Statue of Queen Isabella I of Castile. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is the fourth most visited city in Europe with over 7 million visitors a year.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid is the fourth most visited city in Europe with over 7 million visitors a year. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid has a modern infrastructure but it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid has a modern infrastructure but it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The King in Spain has no government power.  He is a leader in status only.   © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The King in Spain has no government power. He is a leader in status only. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The nerve center of the city is the Puerta del Sol, starting point for the numbering of all city streets and all the country's highways.  If you stand in the middle of the square you are also standing in the center of all of Spain.   © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The nerve center of the city is the Puerta del Sol, starting point for the numbering of all city streets and all the country’s highways. If you stand in the middle of the square you are also standing in the center of all of Spain. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Cibeles Palace: City Hall of Madrid, cultural center of capital and iconic monument of the city  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Cibeles Palace: City Hall of Madrid, cultural center of capital and iconic monument of the city. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Eating Tapas is a big deal here in Spain.   © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Eating Tapas is a big deal here in Spain. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid was founded in the 9th Century.  © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

Madrid was founded in the 9th Century. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

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Madrid is a major center for international business and commerce. It is one of Europe’s largest financial centers and the largest in Spain. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena is the episcopal seat of the Archdiocese of Madrid. It was built during the 19th and 20th centuries.  It was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on his fourth trip to Spain on 15 June 1993, thus being the only Spanish cathedral dedicated by a pope. © Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

The Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena is the episcopal seat of the Archdiocese of Madrid. It was built during the 19th and 20th centuries. It was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on his fourth trip to Spain on 15 June 1993, thus being the only Spanish cathedral dedicated by a pope.
© Photo by Florence Ricchiazzi Lince

We only spent four nights in Madrid and we already know it wasn’t enough.  We will return.

Florence Lince

http://www.about.me/florencelince

We No Longer Live in Oz

Or, The Yellow Brick Road is Not So Shiny Any More

I feel badly for my husband Mike.  When I met Mike he was living in the Pacific Northwest.  He was born and raised in Seattle and he lived with his front door unlocked when he slept.  It wasn’t something he did unconsciously he just never needed to lock his front door when he went out or when he was home.

Then I showed up and nearly had a coronary the first night I realized he was leaving the doors and windows unlocked.  I was born in New York and wouldn’t have dreamed of doing this ever.  I had then moved from New York to California and I lived through the terror of the many nights when the Hillside Strangler was lose and we not only locked windows and doors but in some cases we even nailed the windows shut. Mike wasn’t used to my need to lock everything up and he has always trusted those around him.  For me, people have to earn my trust.

Recently, the unthinkable happened to Mike and he was the target of a pickpocket ring while we were visiting Rome.  He was devastated.  It never even occurred to him that he had been targeted but after 12 seconds of watching the group and he interact I asked him if he still had his wallet and sure enough the little ‘bastards’ had lifted his wallet, and his faith in humanity, with it.

We have since had to have serious conversations on staying safe and not allowing others to target us.  I feel badly for him because this has caused him to have to question what people are saying to us and the validity of their questions and even made it harder to trust anyone.

Since his wallet was lifted we have twice more been targets but these times they got nothing and they realized we weren’t playing around.

The first time three kids wanted to help us with our luggage onto the train in Rome; again, they separated me and Mike and I knew immediately what they were doing so I yelled his name and they moved out of my way, but not before one of the girls was trying to open the zipper of my raincoat.

The next time was here in Madrid where a woman came up to Mike and started to ask him if he could help her.  With his hands still inside his pockets he told her he didn’t speak Spanish and couldn’t help.  She turned away disgusted.

Some of the major adjustments we have had to make include; we prop our luggage up against a wall and one of us stands with our backs to the luggage; we both walk with our hands in our pockets and even when people come up and try to ask for help or questions we leave our hands exactly in the pockets. The only thing in those pockets are now used Kleenex so I dare anyone to try and lift what they feel.  We don’t carry anything of value in open pockets.  We have zippered pockets all over all of our garments and we are both now wearing two coats with zippers everywhere and that still isn’t where the money is kept.

What distresses me the most however is the feeling of anger I feel now when we walk around; no longer can we talk freely with people.  Not being able to trust others until they earn this trust is hardest on Mike.  He has always been open and willing to chat with others about our lifestyle and where we have been and what we are doing.  Now we have to watch what we say and to whom; we have to watch others around us to see who is eyeing our luggage; we have to be careful with taxi drivers and where we use an ATM, and more.

The other day the taxi driver didn’t want to get out of the taxi to help us unload the luggage.  I told Mike to sit tight and I got out and unloaded the luggage.  Then I gave him the money for the cab fare.  Too many stories have been written about taxi drivers getting their fare and when the passengers get out they take off with the luggage hoping to score big.  Mike was wondering what I was doing and I had to explain it to him and again I felt badly that thinking the worst of people was part of my job in order to keep us safe and not victims.

I wish the world wasn’t like this.  I wish I could make things go back to the way they were before Mike met me and he didn’t need to lock his front door.  Unfortunately times have changed and this is the new world we live in.  So while we won’t stop traveling we will be more cautious with who we talk with and what we do.  Building relationships everyplace we go is what we do; building them and not being victims is what we must do.  So if we meet please don’t think badly of us if we take time to trust you; you see, the world has changed; we haven’t.  We are still the same warm and friendly people we have always been; we just wait to see if the people on the receiving end are worthy of that friendship.

Florence Lince

http://www.about.me/florencelince