Saturday, June 25, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Diana couldn't wait to take us for Churros, which is a Spanish-style donut that is dipped in a thick hot chocolate. So Saturday morning, before we went to the Alhambra, we left about 7:30 a.m. to get churros.
When we left the hotel, I saw a group of about 15 young people (20-somethings, probably), dressed up in nice dresses and suits, headed down the street. I asked Di if they were going to work, or if they had been out all night. She suggested that perhaps they had been out all night, but she didn't exactly know. And we headed toward the Churro place.
When we got there, a large group of young men was seated around a table. It was obvious THEY had been up all night, and although they were probably drunk, they were not particularly rowdy nor obnoxious. Within a few minutes of our getting our churros, the dressed-up group arrived. Up close, it was easy to tell, they too had been out all night. They sat down for churros, too.
Not long after, a group of girls, all dressed in matching t-shirts came into the plaza. They were dressed like Indiana Jones, and one of the girls had on a veil. Diana explained that the bachelorette parties are all-day/all-night affairs, where the bride-to-be wears a veil, everyone dresses alike, and they make the brides do crazy things. They pulled up several tables and ordered their churros.
Within five minutes, another group, mostly guys but with one girl who wore her "bride-to-be" sash walked in to get their churros. And then a group of guys, very obviously a bachelor party, came in. Before we left, the plaza was entirely full of young people, all eating churros and having a great time!
Throughout the day, we saw several bachelor and bachelorette parties going on. In one "double bachelorette" party, the girls had funny make-up all over their faces, they were wearing white netting, and at that particular time, in the middle of the plaza, they were playing a game where they had a grapefruit in a stocking that was tied to their backside so that it could swing between their legs, and they had to hit another grapefruit that was on the ground along a path to the finish line. For one bachelor party, the boys all had on viking hats, except one guy was wearing a cow's hat. I am told the boys have to do crazy things such as sing a song in the plaza, beg for money, or kiss a stranger. My major regret is not getting a picture of one of the groups!
I was also told that some of these parties are held the day before the wedding. Can you imagine having a wedding ceremony after something like this? It doesn't sound like a positive way to begin a marriage.
It was really fun watching the young people during their parties. They were not loud or obnoxious - just funny. Oh to be young!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Neither Don nor I had been to Spain before, so we had no idea of what to expect. I think we both thought it would be similar to Italy, and in some respects it was. But the Spanish train and metro are much superior to any other public transit system we have ever ridden.
We took six or seven long train rides - from Madrid to Cordoba (2 hours); Cordoba to Seville (2 hours); Seville to Granada (4 hours); Granada to Madrid (5 hours); Madrid to Toledo and to Segovia (both 30 minutes). All of the trains were absolutely clean. The riders were courteous (cell phone talkers went to the area between cars to talk, for example), some of the trains had a cafe car, and the train blitzed along sometimes at more than 120 miles per hour. And they ran on time. Exactly on time. Not one train was late.
Although the Granada to Madrid train was not considered a high-speed train, it certainly seemed fast to us. It made a few stops on the way, but certainly nothing like the trains in the US. We ride the train back and forth to New Mexico at times. Now that is a slow train! The Spanish trains put our US system to shame.
The train to Segovia is new. The previous train trip or bus trip would take 2 hours, since they both had to wind through the mountains. But the high-speed train goes through the mountains in two long tunnels that shorten the trip to 30 minutes. Delightful!
The metro is equally clean and fast. Although the cars were sometimes jammed, they were clean and nice, and unless a street performer or beggar would get on the car and sing to us (highly annoying because then he would beg for money), they were wonderful. Some of the newer cars are even air-conditioned.
I know that Spain has invested a lot of money in the infrastructure for their mass-transit system, but we applaud them for it. It was such a pleasure traveling through Spain in such nice style!