Art, architecture, history, travel

Saturday, Madrid 1974

6/29 Saturday Madrid

  The best thing about today was the flea market, el Rastro.  I wanted to get something so badly, but didn’t see anything, except what

Mike bought.  It was fun watching Mike bargain in Spanish, I guess I should have gone by myself.  Mike ran into a man selling Seiko watches who wouldn’t leave him alone.  I thought it was funny but Mike was scared.  A man tried to be friendly by saying good morning to us on the bus.
 It was obviously all the English he knew.

After lunch Mike and I tried to find the Museum of Natural History but we found a Convent/Hospital instead, by the time we found the Museum it was closed.

The flamenco dance was not what I expected.  There was one woman in a midriff who was hilarious because she was so fat and thought she was hiding it from everyone.  Parts of the Flamenco were good like the part with the men in short “jackets.”  That’s what I thought Flamenco would be.  Mr. Cordell kept saying he would dance with one of the ladies, but he never did.  I shouldn’t have believed him.

6/30 Sunday

Today we went to Toledo, the former capital of Spain.  Toledo is important, because it used to be the capital of Spain.  The capital was moved in the 16th century by Phillip II because Madrid was a more centrally located city and  he wanted a newer city.  Even though the capital was moved, the head of the Catholic Church in Spain stems from Toledo and is still based there.  This gives Toledo importance even today.  El Greco made his home in Toledo.  The other religion allowed in Toledo is Judaism, although the Jews were persecuted for a long time.  It wasn’t till 1910 that the synagogue was declared a national monument after the protest of a group of teachers.  Toledo is famous for its world-renowned gold inlay and also its wine.

While we were walking down the street we saw a kid who was trapped between two shutters and bars of the window.  I guess he was a bad boy. He was stranded out there licking the bars.  Toledo is very beautiful.  I didn’t see any dirty or dilapidated buildings like there are in Madrid (although not many).  The church in Toledo had the biggest gates I’d ever seen they were really beautiful.  I wonder what those people thought at the Toledo Ware shop when no one bought anything.  I guess they didn’t know we had been forewarned.

I really loved the bullfight today.  I’d only seen one before in Tijuana, but this one was so much better.  Here they took down all the ads before it began, but not in Tijuana.  It seemed that in Tijuana they did it for money and tourists, but in Spain they’re really serious about the bullfights.  They took a collection in the middle of it in Tijuana and everything was announced over a loudspeaker (in Spanish).  Part of the difference could also be that I knew more about it in Madrid.  I really liked watching the “umpire” in the President’s box.  The first matador was good, he really knew how to stab the bulls; but the other matadors were terrible especially the last one, he couldn’t have killed a bull with a shotgun.

I did not have a good time at dinner tonight.  I didn’t like the big group. The restaurant was Botin’s by the Plaza Major.  The statue was dedicated to Don Felipe III, who made the plaza.  In its time it was one of the fanciest places in Madrid.  Although the buildings were old it was still a nice place; it looks like a student hangout.  The girls got a lot of whistles there.  We walked around before dinner and stopped in a pastry shop, the people were very nice.  There were many stores in that area some were good and others were selling junk.  It looked like a nice place but it did look different from the rest of Madrid.  Some parts of it were dirty; most of the rest of Madrid was clean.  I didn’t have a good time at dinner.  First I didn’t get what I wanted and second I didn’t get what I ordered.  I wanted to have squid rings so much but they were out of them.  I guess that’s one of their hottest items since they ran out so quickly.  I ordered one kind of veal and they brought another.  At least the sangria was good.  I didn’t like the gazpacho but I ate half of it.  I just couldn’t get used to chilled soup.  If it had been warm I might have liked it better (seriously).  At least I got a souvenir menu.   I didn’t like the big group either.  But the walk home was nice and when we finally got back I wasn’t angry anymore.  When the girls came down it was fun until Luis (the RAP) came in and broke it up.  Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.


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