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Sun 25 Sep 2005

ahh, architecture....

plaza de cibeles wow, two posts in as many days. i hope i'm not going to set a precedent here, but i needed to verify the images on the disk before i formatted my camera card, and as luck would have it the locutorio has one computer with a program to edit images. so, here's one of my favorites from madrid because i just love the building!

this is the plaza de cibeles. the fountain in the foreground shows the goddess cibeles on a chariot pulled by lions. (the site linked is in spanish for lack of being able to find another site in the short time i have right now.) cibeles is the mother goddess of life, death, and rebirth. she is the personification of the fertile earth, a goddess of caves and mountains, nature and animals, especially bees and lions. she is shown on a chariot that represents the superiority of mother nature. she is the mother of the titan chronos and progenitor of the olympic gods.

the building behind the fountain is the palacio de comunicaciones (communications palace), and it almost looks like an antenna with all its spires and towers. down the street to the left in the photo (though you can't see it here) is the puerta de alcalá (the alcalá gate). it's hard to get a good vantage point without getting the traffic, and i would have had to stand in the middle of the street to get the gate in the picture, too.

eventually i'll post more pictures, but for now, this is all you get. i'm having too much fun to worry about editing all the pictures i have (over 400 so far) and posting them here. in the meantime, i'm going to continue taking pictures and posting here when i get the chance.

posted by: mock turtle on 25 Sep, 05 | 07:16

Sat 24 Sep 2005

standard inanities

well, i have blisters inside my blisters now from so much walking on cobbles. i went to toledo which is an amazingly incomparable town, but all the streets are really narrow and cobbled not to mention terribly steep. it's not good to walk on cobblestones with blisters, i can say that from experience!

i ended up trying to go shopping today and got thoroughly lost in el corte inglés which is this terribly huge department store. there are three buildings and about six floors. that's enough in itself to give me blisters, just imagining a department store that big! to say the least, the shopping trip was a bit of a bust, but i figured out that the bus driver didn't know as much about his route as he thought--he didn't think his route passed by the store, but it did. that made for more walking on blistered feet than was necessary, but it was okay. there was a bike race that closed down part of the city, so i got to walk along that route trying to reach the store according to the directions from the bus driver. those cyclists sure can move fast! next time, though, i'll just go from memory!

tomorrow is a day of rest not just for the country of spain but for me as well. i need to rest my poor blistered feet. i think i'll go to barcelona on monday night. stay tuned for more news as it happens here!!

posted by: mock turtle on 24 Sep, 05 | 15:51

Wed 21 Sep 2005


not touring!

so here i am again, updating everyone in case you're curious. i've been to several cercanías recently, and i've seen quite a bit of the countryside around madrid. i haven't yet used my eurail pass, so i've only been going to those places that are included on the tourist pass from the madrid metro. i'd highly recommend it if you get the chance because it allows you to use the bus and metro system extensively and not pay 1 euro every time you hop on. madrid has an excellent system, and if you choose the "zone t" tourist pass, you'll be able to visit most of the outlying towns like toledo and alcalá de henares.

i've walked a lot this week so far, and i plan on walking more before the week is through. i still need to go to toledo, guadalajara, and aranjuez before my seven-day pass expires on saturday.

there's a knitting group meeting tomorrow night, and there's another madrid teacher meeting on saturday. i'm still contemplating leaving for barcelona on sunday night, but i may leave on monday instead. i just haven't decided yet. if i leave on monday, that will give me another day in madrid to check out free events... and i still feel like i'm running out of time!

i'll try to post another entry before i leave for barcelona, but i can't make any guarantees. this locutorio (basically a place where you can make phone calls, check email, surf the web, and send money) is not open too late during the week.

maybe tomorrow i'll get my pictures put on disk so i can post one here. i have over 250 pictures so far, and i've only been here two weeks! if i keep this up, i'll have over 1000 pictures to go through when i get home. wish me luck on that, eh? in the meantime, i'm going to continue having too much fun for words on a screen.

posted by: mock turtle on 21 Sep, 05 | 13:58

Sat 17 Sep 2005

and meanwhile...

somewhere in europe...

the nefarious scheme unfolds, right? well, it can't really be called a nefarious scheme, but it's sure been fun so far! i arrived just over a week ago, and i've been wandering around madrid for the whole time. i've got so many blisters on my feet i was wondering if i'd ever walk properly again, but they're getting better and i've not given up yet.

so far most of the stuff i've taken pictures of has been monuments and buildings, but there have been a few interesting things like an open-air dog wash at a gas station and some interesting signs. madrid is a wonderful city--the way it has successfully melded the old and the new is intriguing, and all the people i've met have been exceedingly friendly. i'd love to stay much longer, but it feels like i'm running out of time for some reason.

next week i'll be wandering around the cercanías or the suburban areas of the city since my feet have healed enough to do some hard-core walking again. i'm keeping my room at the hostel as a home-base for the time being. it'll be great to see toledo and el escorial again after so many years. i'll also get to see the town where miguel de cervantes (the author who wrote don quijote, if you're wondering) was born. this whole year spain is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publishing of don quijote, and there are a lot of quijote festivals and tours going on.

the following week i hope to head to barcelona to visit friends and see cataluña again. i may stay there for a couple weeks, then i'll be back to madrid to use the same hostel as a home-base for travels to the north and south. i've never seen galicia (santiago de compostela, a coruña, etc.) and we never made it to seville when i was here last time.

whereever i end up, i'll be sure to take lots of pictures and document it all well. in the meantime, i'm just trying to have fun and not spend all the money i have.

wish me luck!

posted by: mock turtle on 17 Sep, 05 | 06:53

Tue 06 Sep 2005

the embarkation

today is the last day i'll be here for two and a half months. in six hours i embark on a trip of a lifetime... my lifetime at least. i've been waiting for nearly twenty years to go back to spain, and now i've finally had the chance. i don't know if i'll be able to keep this blog updated (as if anyone reading the history of this blog would think i could), but i'll see what i can do.

i'll be taking a lot of photos and trying to keep copious notes about my adventures. in the meantime, i also hope to be working here and there to survive. when i return, i will work on posting photos and stories of my journey.

now i'm off to double-check my bags one last time, fill the water bottles, double-check my maps and documents, and get a couple short hours of sleep before it's time for me to board a plane. come to think of it, it's been over ten years since i've even been on a plane! all my travels in the past ten years have been by bus or by car, so this is a great divergence from my normal mode of transport. i can't begin to say how excited i am, and i know it doesn't come across quite the same here--you'll just have to take my word for it.

wish me luck!

posted by: mock turtle on 06 Sep, 05 | 22:05

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