Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spain Trip Part Two: Madrid and Salamanca

As I mentioned previously, most of these photos are by JP, although the first three and one in the middle are from my phone. He's uploaded more photos for me each day; be sure to check out his Flickr account for more!
Our second overnight stay in Spain was in Madrid.  We were there for 2 nights, and only one full day. 
The first night in the city was spent at a wonderful, seafood-filled dinner with Patricia's brother and nephew.  I think we were there for three hours, plenty of time to imbibe and try out some new dishes! 

Here I am eating a barnacle.  Seriously.  Like, those things attached all over my Grandma in North Carolina's dock that are constantly scratching my feet.  In order to eat them, you have to break off the shell, grasp the end that looks like a dragon claw, and scrape the meat off with your teeth.  They were amazing, briny and soft.  I can't think of a good comparison for them, but apparently they're supercommon by the ocean in Spain. 

 This is what the table in front of me looked like: barnacles, potatoes, salad, bottle of water, many glasses of wine and beer.  If only all my dinner meals could be so cluttered with delicious tastes!

I have to post this iPhone photo of Patricia eating her seafood with a napkin in her shirt; a white shirt is precious!

The next morning the kids (sisters-in-law, boyfriends, JP and I) woke up and wandered to the Parque del Retiro in Madrid to take in the sights.  Oh, Ana and I shopped while everyone else went to the Real Madrid stadium before this, but no photos necessary; we both bought cute things and enjoyed checking out the shops near our hotel! 

The park is the only public space with a statue of Satan.  Here's Lucifer falling from heaven; pretty bizarre that it's in one of the most Catholic countries.

It's a beautiful, peaceful space with ponds, gazebos, statues, and, thankfully, lots of shade!  It was really toasty that day.

 Almond treats are very popular throughout Spain, and so pretty!

We stayed in Madrid's major shopping area, and I coveted these Miu Miu shoes each time I passed them.  Honestly, what more could a girl ask for in a pair of heels? 

Then it was goodbye, Madrid, and hello, Salamanca!

The view on the few-hour drive to Salamanca was super different from what I'm used to on road trips around the eastern US.  Ok, and yes, I was sleeping when JP took this photo.

This is where things get meta.  We were in Salamanca for one night only, and stayed in this hotel.  The Don Gregorio Grand Hotel is a five-star hotel in JP's great-grandfather's house.  The rooms are named after JP's dad's family members, there are photos of his family around the lobby and bar, and it was designed by JP's uncle.  Very, very cool place to spend the night, and definitely the funnest!

 The cathedral in Salamanca is beyond gorgeous.  And look at the sky!  Totally untouched photo. 

I especially liked the door.  Plus, wearing a new top bought in Madrid that is perfect for the summer heat.

 Here's the cathedral from another angle.  It was huge!

A few years ago, the outside was touched up, and one of the workers added an astronaut to the border around the main door.  Totally unexpected.

Love the framing JP got on this one.  This ceiling is centuries old!  Can you imagine doing that kind of intricate joint work?

The Plaza Mayor in Salamanca is full of students from the University of Salamanca, one of the oldest in the world.  I'd love to study in this space with a cup of cafe con leche and churros.

Wednesday was Patricia's birthday, and, in celebration, Pablo arranged to have her serenaded by a local minstrel group.  It was pretty awesome, and JP is trying to decipher the words of the song to translate for me.  Such a patient man.
Next: El Escorial!


  1. I can sincerely appreciate that last photo since I still struggle to make Ly translate for me. So cute!!

  2. Your account of this trip made me recall an old soap opera mother used to listen to -- "Our Gal Sunday" -- it asked the question: "Can a girl from a little mining town in the west find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman?"!!! No joke!! You can Google it and see that was the premise of the thing. It's like you've married into royalty!!! But we know the answer to the question -- you've definitely found happiness!!! XXXXX -- G'ma
    P.S. I can't believe you ate a barnacle.

  3. Barnacles?! Brave girl. I LOVE seeing and reading about your adventures in Spain. And this post ending with such a handsome picture of John Paul. Did you get the shoes? Mommi