Holy Bilbao: It’s The Guggenheim!
Park Along The Ria De Bilbao
Nice Shopping Mall
I Make My Escape Into The Park On The Other Side
It’s Baby Day At The Park – Must Have Been 500 Of Them!
My Modern Spotless Hostel
My Cozy Little Private Room
The Gateway To The Casco Viejo – Old Town
Restaurants And Shops Line The Streets
Local Basques Drinking And Singing
They are also wondering about the photographer who is wearing the hat that is strangely similar to their own.
A Waitress Catches A Quick Smoke
I originally took this shot just to look up the name of the restaurant on trip advisor, but on examination thought it had merit. Europeans still smoke a lot, but they have been exiled to the sidewalks for the pause that refreshes.
MERCADO DE RIBERA
Scary street art symbolizing feminist displeasure with chauvinist Spaniard males
All I know is that the guys walking past this didn’t linger very long.
I’d Love To Have A Smaller Version To Take Home
Then I Got The Bright Idea To Go To A Large Park Adjacent To The Old Town On The Map
Up The Ramp Then Through The Creepy Underpass Complete With Abandoned Bedroll
Then Up A Long And Winding Road With No Entrance In Sight
Finally The Park?!? Not Much Going On Here But Me Sweating.
Not To End The Day On A Bad Note I Came Back Here For A Snack And Music
There was a fellow playing a solo interpretation of the Beatles first album. It was really quite pleasant, and there were a lot of locals in attendance. The guy had a nice voice and actually managed to pull it off quite well. Once he was done I had to get back to the hostel to make plane and hotel reservations for Portugal so I headed back using an alternate route. I knew I was living in a dodgy neighborhood, but on the way home I discovered that only two blocks away there are a number of tiny seedy bars with prostitutes hanging about. That was entertaining.
I got back to my place, took a shower, and realized once and for all something wasn’t quite right. The Jean Luc Picard hairdo I have been sporting wasn’t doing itself justice like on the Captain. On me, it was irregular and spotty. This just wouldn’t do.
THE TRAVEL ZEALOT SHAVED HIS HEAD!
Looks like a solar eclipse going on with my head as the planetary object or maybe it’s some kind of epiphany or sacred phenomenon. Don’t expect any followers any time soon since even the gullible masses would be reluctant to fall for my lightbulb trick. Until then I’ll continue to preach the gospel of long-term world travel to whoever will listen, and spread the good news of the promised land which is where you find yourself at any given time. I’m sitting in the Bilbao Airport having had my flight to Portugal canceled as a result of a pilot strike so I opted for a trip to Madrid for now. The key to world travel is always staying flexible.
Room 007 Hostel – A Warm Reception At 11:30 pm – A Welcome Respite To A Long Day
After having spent my whole day in the Bilbao Airport, and then having my flight to Madrid delayed I finally pulled into my home for four days. What a great place. Well located with helpful people at your beck and call. A real 5-star hostel situation. I was lucky to get a four-bed dorm room to myself for two nights, but I am getting the hang of this hostel thing even in my advanced years, and this after never having done it previously. I had it easy in Southeast Asia where a 3-star hotel could be had for the price of a hostel, but this is Europe, and I had to change my game plan or become rapidly insolvent. Okay, I splurged in Biarritz, but that’s the only one so far, so not bad overall.
I took the free walking tour offered by my hostel the next day and was shocked to find it being led by a dead ringer for a girlfriend I had been with twenty-five years ago. She was even the age as at the time I was going out with her. It was as if time and space had fractured for a moment which was made even more creepy by the fact that I was reading a great sci-fi novel that involved quantum field stuff, and made the appearance of my old girlfriend in her original form all the more likely.
Traveling you do meet interesting looking people. I met someone in Hoi An, Vietnam who looked just like Cate Blanchette. I was mistaken today for Jamie from the Mythbusters TV show, and I don’t even have the bushy mustache. I have Adam’s beard and Jamie’s lack of hair and hat, but it sure was fun to have a Spaniard come up to me in the Apple store anyway. Maybe I should shave the beard part, grow out the mustache, and go for the celebrity treatment.
PLAZA DEL SOL – First Stop On The Tour
SYMBOL OF MADRID – Bear Getting Drunk On Fermented Fruit
So next time you find yourself criticizing those vomiting college kids on the streets of Madrid, they’re only living up to the city’s primary hallmark. So college kids in Madrid, if you throw up on your shirts, wear them with pride!
The Opera House
Isabel II – The Unattractive Queen Who Married A Queen
Well, she married a gay and figured it out after he showed no interest in her bits and pieces. This upset her so she banished him from the city, and took on a series of lovers that produced a number of offspring. When she wasn’t having affairs, she traveled all over Europe and realized Madrid was sorely lacking in the Arts department, so she built the Opera house you see here. The reason for its bland exterior is that the Catholic church frowned upon any building outshining the house of God. Yes folks, Spain, after all, was the home of the Spanish Inquisition so you really didn’t want to get on their bad side. These are the kind of zealots you do not want in your life. Travel Zealots are okay.
The Main Cathedral – As You Can See The Front Is Kind Of Plain
This is so as not to outshine the Royal Palace opposite it.
The Backside Of The Cathedral – A Little More Ornamental
They could jazz up the back of the Cathedral since it wasn’t visible from the Palace. There is an amusing joke in Madrid about the Cathedral and its strange aesthetic dichotomy. A little sexist but funny nonetheless. If a woman looks good from the back, and then turns around and isn’t too pleasant to look at, guys make a reference to the Cathedral.
La Pizzateca – Best Artisanal Pizza In Town – Alejo (Proprietor)
The pizza pictured bottom center is a delicious mushroom pie with truffle sauce drizzle. Forget the tapas, grab a slice here. He will be moving to a new location just down the street with a little more space for tables. This is a great way to save some money and feel like you are getting the best that Madrid has to offer.
La Plaza Del Angel
LA PLAZA DEL ANTON MARTIN
Reina Sofia Museum
Fernand LEGER – The Two Figures 1923
George BRAQUE – Pitcher And Violin 1909
Salvador DALI – Cubist Self Portrait 1923
Juan GRIS – Guitar And Newspaper 1925
Diego RIVERA – Beer Glass 1917
Salvador DALI – Face Of The Great Masturbator 1929
Salvador DALI – Portrait Of Luis Buñuel 1924
Salvador DALI – Systematic Cycle, The Lobster 1935
Cafe Populart – Great Jazz Bar
Toulouse Lautrec – Cool Exterior – A Must For Lautrec Fans
Puerta De Alcala – The Entrance Point Of Madrid
Retiro Park – Madrid’s Finest Park
This park has got it all. It’s pretty and utilitarian. There are lots of old growth trees and plenty of points of interest to take in, like the Monumento Alfonso XII, Palacio Cristal, and the Estatua Del Angel Caido. On this lake that surrounds the Monumento Alfonso XII you can rent rowboats for 6 euros for forty-five minutes which I took full advantage of. It’s so nice to glide past the monument, watching the carp jump and people enjoying themselves as you row.
Palacio De Cristal
The Palacio De Cristal is a building of glass window panes that usually has some sort of art installation inside which can be beautiful looking in, but also a nice view of the park from the inside looking out.
The Statue Of The Fallen Angel – At 666 Feet Above Sea Level
Finally after all of the churches and cathedrals all over Europe, a tourist attraction for the Satanists.
They can sacrifice a goat at midnight, dance around the fountain to their heart’s content, and then clean themselves off. The only thing close to Satanists that I saw was a bunch of young skate rats skateboarding around the fountain at the time.
The park is quite large with thousands of nooks and crannies to curl up in the shade with a book, make out with a lover, or just take a nap to offset a night of partying. There are also copious quantities of cafes, restaurants, and refreshment stalls throughout.
Templo De Debod – Egyptian Temple