05 February, 2008

Marcy in Madrid

We recently had the good fortune to have one of Becca's friends, Marcy Floyd, visit us here. Rather than describe it, I'll use her words and just add a few pictures.

Madrid is amazing. I am not quite sure how to describe it. This is a very big city of approximately 4 million people and yet there is such an appreciation for the culture and city. It is like nothing I have ever seen before. The city is clean (except for the current strike by the metro cleaning crew) and the buildings are amazingly ornate....all of them. I keep asking "What is that amazing building?" and I keep getting answers like "Oh, that is the Bank" or "People live there" or "That is the post office". I keep expecting answers like "The king from the 17th century built it and it is now a museum"!

My first few days here were spent exploring the city. Becca, Taylor, Macie, and I walked to all of the plazas, had churros and chocolate, and went to the Cathedral. Becca took me to the spanish grocery store, the fabulous Sorolla museum, some shopping markets, and to eat some great food. I think that I spent much of the time staring up at the buildings with my jaw dropped.

The big event of the trip happened on Friday. As my Christmas present, the Teasters treated me to a Segway tour of Madrid. Now, most of you know that I am not the most graceful person and was therefore quite apprehensive of the Segway, but after a few short lessons and more or less getting over it, it was great and by the end we all desparately wanted to keep our segways! Becca, Buddy, Taylor, and I zipped all over the city with Antony and Marta (our guides) for 4 hours, saw many amazing views and sites and took fabulous pictures. Antony took many pictures for us as well (Here are a few).

The past few days have been spent celebrating Three Kings Day. This is a big holiday in Spain...very similar and in addition to Christmas (this is my kind of place!). The Teasters had an aftrnoon party on Saturday (Three Kings Eve) and I was able to meet many of their friends. We all went together to the Three Kings Day Parade (similar to the Macy's Parade) and later that night the Three Kings came to visit. Tradition dictates that you leave grass and water for their camels and cookies and milk for the kings. The girls also left their shoes out to be filled by the kings. We had a lazy Three Kings Day and spent several hours in Retiro Park, which is basically across the street from Becca's apartment. It is beautiful. I have only seen part of the park (we are going back today to see the rest) but it is filled with statues and fountains and gardens and playgrounds and people. We fed the fish in the lake, danced to the music of a drum circle, and watched as thousands of ballons were let go for the three kings.

Tonight Becca and I are going to watch Flamenco Dancing! I am so excited and may just join the ranks of dancers and stay in Madrid. I could certainly get used to Spanish life....of course it is easy when you have such great hosts. The girls start back to school tomorrow so Becca and I will be touring the Palace and going to the Prado Museum among other things in my last few days. I love it here!