Madrid to Córdoba

Our friend and realtor par excellence Robert Reid lived in Madrid for a while many years ago. He recommended Cerveceria Alemana to us so that is where we started our tapas tour last night. It was very popular and very good.



Next we went back to La Fragua de Vulcano where we had eaten the night before and had grilled shrimp in garlic butter



We wandered around a bit more but couldn’t eat more so called it a night.



This morning we took the metro to the train station and took the high speed train 250 miles south to Córdoba. We had reserved seats and the train was very comfortable and smooth. We were traveling about 135 miles per hour!



I think the temperature got up to 60 in Córdoba today. I took my coat off on the walk from the train to our hotel


Córdoba was a Roman colony so the river has an old Roman bridge.


When the Moors took over this area Córdoba became the Islamic capital of the Iberian peninsula. The mosque that was built during that period was considered the most important sanctuary of western Islam Now the building is the Cathedral of Córdoba and is referred to in our guide book as the Mezquita.




We explored, took lots of pictures, had a snack at a sidewalk cafe than headed back to our hotel for a rest.


More Madrid

Last night we did our own tapas tour for dinner. At the first place we had a big plate of grilled peppers – pepitos. At the second we had fried potatoes covered in a spicy tomato sauce – patatas bravas, and cheese croquettes. At the third we had fish and prawns in a garlic sauce. Our plan is to do more tapas for dinner tonight.




Today is cold and rainy but it is still a nice day to be out and about in Madrid. We went to the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia which has 20th century Spanish modern art. Lots of Picasso’s and Dalis. Their most famous painting is Picasso’s Guernica




And then to warm up we had to go to Chocolateria San Gines for chocolate and Churros!




Day 2 in Madrid

I think the jet lag caught up with me last night. I was wake from about 2 til 6 and then slept soundly until 9 am. After I post this I’m due for a siesta!

Last night we had olive tapas and sangria in Mercado De San Miguel before dinner.


We ate dinner at Restaurante Botin the oldest restaurant in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. We had a table in the cellar and had roast suckling pig, roast lamb, and artichokes with ham. A great setting and a great meal.


Today we walked to the Prado to see the paintings. There were so many wonderful ones. They had a temporary exhibit of works by the French painter Ingres which I really enjoyed too.



After the Prado Museum we wandered through the botanical garden. It is very much in winter mode but still beautiful and peaceful.



It is great to be here in Madrid without the crowds. I’m sure I would enjoy it less if it was hot or rainy but cool and sunny is great. Madrid seems so clean. None of the buildings are dingy and it seems like most of the streets are pedestrians only.

The Start of our Spain and Portugal 2016 adventure

Duke and I left Sunday for a big adventure. We are going to spend two months exploring Spain and Portugal!! My plan is to blog about all we see and do pretty much every day.

Sunday we caught BART to the San Francisco airport and then caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul where we changed planes to fly to Madrid. Duke found a really good fare for us by going through Istanbul. Although that meant two long flights. On the way home we plan to spend a couple of days in Istanbul.

The 13 hour flight from San Francisco to Istanbul was exhausting but luckily the plane wasn’t full and we had three seats for the two of us. I thought the food was some off the best airline food I’ve had. I especially liked the Turkish delights they serve right after take off on all Turkish Airlines flights! I also got to watch the movie The Martian again. I really like that movie!

Our four hour flight from Istanbul to Madrid was even less crowded. We each were able to claim three seats to lie down and sleep.

Once we arrived in Madrid we took the Metro to our hotel and fell into bed for some glorious sleep. We are staying at the 7 Islas Hotel which is relatively new and in an old building.

This morning we strolled and explored the streets, just soaking in Madrid. I kept saying can you believe we are really in Madrid!


The weather is perfect – temps in the high 40s and the sun is shining. We toured the Palacio Real.


And then stopped for churros and chocolate on the way back to the hotel.



Road Trip – The Grand Canyon

What superlative can you use to do justice to the Grand Canyon? There isn't one. All I can say is wow!!!




When we started planning this road trip Duke tried to get us a reservation at one of the lodges inside the park. He was unsuccessful because they were all booked up. We decided to try again when we were in Santa Fe Monday and we were lucky. They had one room in Yavapai Lodge available. So we got to stay in the park and enjoy the sunset and full moon over the canyon Tuesday night.


Today we were able to do a leisurely hike along the rim trail to Hermit's Rest and then take the shuttle bus back to our car. We are spending the night in Williams.

Here are a couple of pictures from our hike. Don't miss Duke in the first one.