Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 1: Madrid

(T and I in the Plaza de Mayor)

I'm warning you.
I'm posting just about every single picture I took on our trip to Spain. Feel free to look, or skim, or ignore the next weeks worth of posts completely if you like.
But I'm telling you, it was freaking awesome, so you might want to stick around.
Freaking Awesome.

Day1: Madrid.
For those of you who live under a rock and haven't heard how excited we've been about this trip, I'll give you the low down. Travis served his mission in Madrid 15 years ago. And ever since we've been married we've talked about someday going back. Really for me, it was a total dream to be able to go and experience this with him, and it did not disappoint. We truly had an amazing time. Amazing.

We flew into Madrid around 9:30, and after the metro ride from hell (hot, sticky, hot, crowded, and hot) we made it easily to our hotel. And exhausted as we were, we couldn't wait to get out there and explore the city.

First we went straight to Sol, downtown Madrid and headed right to the Plaza de Mayor. Most Cities in Spain have an old square surrounded by beautiful, huge, and very old buildings. This plaza has some really interesting history to it, and has had bullfights, executions, grand balls, and has burned down and been rebuilt 3 times. The Plaza de Mayor was exactly what I've always pictured Europe to be like. The square is huge, with cobblestone streets and little cafe's throughout. Lots of people feeding birds, lots of locals, lots of tourists, and usually someone playing a musical instrument for some spare change. During the day it's a pretty peaceful place, and just beautiful.

My very favorite part of just walking 'wherever' in Madrid, is that you are always stumbling on something old, beautiful, and different. When we left the Plaza de Mayor we just stumbled on the Plaze de la Villa. Lovely. I read when we came home that the tower in this plaza is one of the oldest buildings in Madrid, dating back to the 15th century.

This is the Almudena Cathedral located just across the street from the palace. Gorgeous. I wish the pictures would do these places justice. They don't, but still: gorgeous.
The Palace. While seeing this Travis heard for the first time (of sooo many), the phrase "Why am I not a Queen?"
Another view of the cathedral.
We also bumped into a Roman Triumph Arch, also kind of amazing.
Next we headed to Retiro Park. (Madrid's version of New York City's Central Park). Retiro was once a recreation area for Spanish royalty, and is now a place to escape the city for the public. (The history is actually really interesting, so if you are extra nerdy like me, and want to know more, click here). We were so exhausted by the time we got there and it was so refreshing to just sit on a bench and enjoy the quiet. There was a man playing a saxophone a ways away and I tell you, it was just plain lovely. I could have sat there all day long.

T and I, doing our best to stay awake while the saxophone tries to lure us to sleep.
After our break in Retiro, we headed to the Madrid Temple. Travis was there as a missionary when President Hinckley came to do the groundbreaking. I read that during the open house 100, 000 community and government members attended, including the Kind and Queen. Not bad for us Mormons. :)
I love, love, love this statue on the temple grounds. And like all temples, the grounds were beautiful and so well kept. The temple sits in a square along with an MTC, institute, distribution center, and family history center. We were really hoping to run into some missionaries while we were there, but it was a ghost town. Very quite and serene.

We headed back to Sol after the temple to grab a late lunch, where we discovered this pastry shop, and I fell in love with the 'neopolitina'. (The lightest pastry ever filled with thin ham, and the best cheese ever made. Best.) We only lunched there once, but don't judge me when I tell you that we did have their yummy dessert for dinner. Twice. (They fill their neopolitina's with the best chocolate ever too.) The pastry shops in Spain are worth the visit. :)

We were home by 6:00 and I was sound asleep by 6:30.
I know, we are party animals! But we had been up for like 2 days straight and were both so exhausted we could hardly stand. It was a great first day.

Tomorrow: Aranjuez.


Justin & Ashlee said...

I am so excited to see all the pics! I bet you had a blast.

Melissa said...

Beautiful pict's~~looks like a blast, and the chocolates......yum!

shelly said...

You took great pictures! What a great vacation can't wait to see more.

Lorinda said...

I have been so excited to see pictures of this! Can't wait for more :)

Brittney said...

I'm drooling. I am so glad you had such a great time! I've been waiting for this update- can't wait to see more.

Trisha said...

This is so exciting! I am going to be in suspense until the next day's recap...

Eileen said...

That was only ONE day!? Oh my goodness. What a trip. Keep the pics coming.

The Wolfley Family said...

I can't decide if I like pics of beautiful old buildings or yummy good best! Maybe the ones of you both smiling -- those are pretty great too! Keep em coming!

The Falkers said...

Love it! So glad I can live vicariously through you - keep up the awesome posts!!!


Jason and Niki said...

Looks like fun! - Thanks for sharing your girls with us while you were gone - We sure do love them!!

Clayton and Heidi said...

"Why am I not Queen" LOVE IT!

Ummm...I am so very, very jealous! My dad also served his mission in Spain (back when the whole country was ONE mission) and I have always wanted to go. For now I will just have to live my fantsy through your blog:)

Darin and Joanna said...

Looks like a dream! Can't wait to see the rest...How fun!

Jamie said...

How very fun Hayley! I can't wait for more!!!

Tom and Debbie Goodwin said...

You ARE a Queen . . . I've always thought so, anyway. ;)