Archive for June 12, 2006

The Trip – Part 2 Still the Park

Well, I’m back at the park. Haven’t found the Palacio de Cristal yet but I just came across the same grove I found yesterday. This time I sit and start sketching the trees in my moleskine. I spent a few hours drawing and then I notice there were three people meditating. I could feel this was a special place and obviously, there were others who felt the same. The energy here was very positive and very tangible. It bordered on spooky. I finally left and found the Palacio de Cristal. It was weird coming across it in the mood I was in, the thing shimmers and glows in the sun. It reflects light in reds, greens, purples and all hues in between, like the inside of a shell.

Inside, the floors are mirrors and it’s very bright. You must remove your shoes so they give you special socks to wear and only allow 25 people in at any time. There was music playing but the sound was almost random. It was rather soothing. I found out later that the music was an artistic installation and was only there for a short time. I tell you, I was starting to go a bit weird with all the sensations I was feeling.

I had to get going to meet Alex. Even that was a very strange experience. I went to P. del Prado and sat on a park bench off the main path. I’m people watching and suddenly feel a tug on my pocket. I look down and here is this black and white bird, pecking at the label. I sort of jumped a bit and it hops onto my lap and stares at me. Ok, this day is getting too strange. People have stopped at the intersection and are now pointing at me. I’m trying to get rid of this bird but it won’t leave. A crowd is starting to gather and a woman comes over. Haven’t got a clue what she said but I gather this is an adolescent bird trying to get food and the mother is over in the grass.. I pick the bird up and carry it over to the grass where mother is having a fit. She’s pretty nervous so as soon as I step on the grass it flies into a tree. I put the junior down and go back to the bench. The mother comes down and starts screaching and pecking at junior, really giving him shit. Junior flies back to me and lands on my lap. Now I really don’t know what to do so I pick him up again and throw him up into a tree. Mom flies down and lands on the end of the bench I’m sitting at, cocks her head, gives me a look and flies off. Meanwhile, quite a crowd has gathered to watch all this and I’m feeling really self concious, especially when junior flies back down again. I have to get rid of this bird so I totally ignore it. It’s trying to get on my lap but I keep my arms in the way. Finally, Alex arrives and we head off to Centro de arte Reina Sofia to see the Picasso and Dali exhibit. Hopefully junior is ok. I guess he somehow imprinted on a human and now thinks he’s one of us.

No photos allowed at Centro de arte Reina Sofia but we took the back stairs out and took these photos. Figure the first one out.

Back Stairs

Tomorrow I’ll continue Toledo which to me was the best part.

June 12, 2006 at 9:01 pm 2 comments

The Trip

Wow, where do I start ??? So many things to share. Ok, I’ll start with our flight. We flew Iberia to Madrid and arrived at the new Terminal 4. It’s HUGE. We had no problem finding public transportation into the city and to our hotel. Our hotel was right in the old district so Alex and I changed into cooler clothes and headed out the door. It was HOT, 39 C but I didn’t find it too bad. It’s very dry so I think that had something to do with it. We walked around the old town and found some squares with massive gates to enter and exit them.

Gate to Plaza Mayor

I didn’t find the city all that interesting but I found the people of Madrid the friendliest I have ever met. The city had the ambience of most capitals that I’ve been to. Alex will explain the city and talk about the many people we met in her blog. I did find some interesting graffiti on the side of a building somewhere in the old town.


This actually graffiti

Personally, I found haven in Parque del Retiro. This park is absolutely amazing. Right in the centre of a country’s capital is a park with so many moods that I could not even begin to describe them. I walked through one part and felt that I was in the deep woods of northern Quebec.Dark and quiet, e ven the musky smell was there. I must have been smiling from ear to ear. I was looking for the Palacio de Cristal but before I could find it I came across a small grove of cedars and pines. The morning sun was still low enough to generate a glow on the trees. I felt completely relaxed. As a matter of fact, behind me are three people who are sitting in meditation. I’ve been here for 45 minutes and they haven’t moved a muscle. It’s almost like a dream.


It took a lot to take this picture because I felt like I’d break the spell. I was right, after taking the picture the serenity was gone. Maybe I was ready to move on when I took the picture. Who knows. I’m off to findthe Palacio de Cristal but here are some more photos of the park.

June 12, 2006 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Trying to Catch Up

We're back from our little trip but before I get started on that (it was amazing) I need to catch up on what we did on the Sunday, June 4, before we left.

Naomi's mom was going back to Australia on Monday, June 5 and we were invited to a going away lunch being hosted by Jackie and Sebastian. We were to be there at 2:00 PM and of course we arrived early (what else is new). We rang from the street and a voice calls out from above "Hola ? " Alex explains in Spanish that we are friends of Naomi and Leone and are here for the lunch. In a quizzical tone he says we must have the wrong apartment, there is no lunch here. We were all set to walk away when he bellows, "Es una broma" Just kidding. I knew I was going to like him from that point on.

Naomi and her Mom

Naomi and Leone

Jackie and Sebastian have a beautiful apartment in Raval. The ambience is fantastic. Alex fell in love with it so now I have an idea what I am in for when we return to Toronto. I'll try and convince her that there are NO apartments that old in Toronto. Even the climb up the stairs was memorable.

Stairs to get to the party

The living room was at the street end of the apartment and the door to the balcony was framed by flowers and vines.

Living room

Sebastian is a chef and hails from Germany. You could tell by the cooking gear tha someone was seriously into food.

Sebastian at work

Lunch was amazing. We had smoked salmon with bread, washed down with cava to whet our apetites. The first serving of paella was made with black rice (rice stained with the ink of squid) and was fantastic. We ate and drank most of the afternoon.


Around 7 or 8 Naomi and family depart . We hadn't left the kitchen and around 9 or 10, plates came out of hiding and dinner was served. I'm sure that by the time we left, we had emptied S and J's pantry, fridge and any other container that held food or drink. Needless to say, we didn't stroll out of there until at least 1:30 AM. They are all great people with very interesting lives and careers. I hope we end up seeing a lot more of them.

June 12, 2006 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

June 2006

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