Tag Archives: History

Hola Madrid, Spain

It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since we last spent time here.

Madrid is fabulous!  The old buildings are eye candy.  Food fantastic. First class museums and lush parks.  And this time of the year – tons of people.  It’s all remarkable.

*click photos to enlarge

In keeping with our routine we walked and walked and walked everywhere.  No metros to explore – only one to a train station outside the city to buy tickets which we could have purchased online, and no busses.

We hit the tops of the waves. A repeat of all the things we did 15 years ago.

Stunning is Patrick Blanca’s vertical garden wall – 78 feet tall containing 250 varieties of 15,000 plants.

It felt good to practice our Spanish and eat food different from Central Asia.

Fun story:  Bill occasionally puts one of his hearing aides in his pocket when it starts to bug him.  This time when we returned to our hotel the aid was missing.  It was assumed that he dropped it while taking his money out of his pocket but with it would be impossible to retrace our steps.

Days later we went to back to a bar, after viewing Picasso’s Guernica, where we had eaten on the day that Bill lost his hearing aid ONLY because every other restaurant in the area was full.

I decided to ask our waitress if they found a hearing aid.  She looked at us strangely and said I don’t think so – no.  The bartender heard the exchange and said Yes!  They found it on the sidewalk a few days ago.  What are the odds?  A crazy miracle for sure.

We found it interesting watching these street sellers walk up with a tarp full of knock off purses, bags, scarves, etc..  They cautiously open their bag, displaying wares and at a moments notice (police) can pull the cord which wraps up their contraband for a quick get away.  They looked right and left, constantly accessing of their situation while trying to make a buck.  The stress was apparent.

All in all it was fantastic being back.  We love Spain.  Preston met the love of his life here and it holds special meaning to all of us.  There’s more of Spain to come….


Lima, Peru

We safely found our way to Lima.

Morales, the incumbent, won the Bolivian presidential election by the needed 10% margin. From what we learned that was a given.

A week or so after the decision the strike in Bolivia is still alive and well.

Our first stop in Lima was to our favorite cevicheria restaurant called La Mar.Our good friend turned us on to the La Mar restaurant in San Francisco. Over the years we’ve frequented this place many times. They’re famous for savory ceviche dishes and Piso cocktails.

It has a fun backstory – the Peruvian owner told his father he was going to law school in Spain while actually attending culinary school. Eventually opening his super successful first restaurant in Lima. Rumor is, the dad got over the betrayal.

Considering it’s popularity, taking no reservations and only opened from noon to 5:30, five years ago, con suerte, we were able to get a table in Lima.We were lucky again this time. There were two seats at the bar. With stuffed bellies and two Pisco Sours we staggered back to our hotel and slept after having been awake for 25 hours.

Peru has three regions. The coast, the mountains and the jungle.

Lima is on the coast.We stayed in Miraflores a few blocks from the Pacific. Foggy until noon, clear for a couple hours and then foggy again.

Bustling everywhere – from Miraflores to the historic downtown region.

Precipitation in this capital city is one of the lowest in the world – following Cairo, Egypt and the middle of the Sahara. The buildings suffer from the effects of exhaust and no rain.The historic district has grand buildings and big parks.

The catacomb tour of the Monastery of San Francisco (UNESO World Heritage site) was interesting. Archeologists have uncovered the bones of 25,000 people and discovered tunnels that connected the Cathedral to the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition.The best part was the library containing 25,000 books dating back to the 14th century.

We had our ears lowered at a barbershop run by a young guy who lived in California for 25 years and came back to Lima to go to art school and live a more laid back life. He and his partner hired barbers who fled Venezuela.

Off to Iquitos to see the Amazon…