Tuesday, September 25, 2012
While in Madrid, Maya, Filipa and I stayed at an apartment on Called Lope de Vega.
Although not as famous as Cervantes outside Spain, Lope de Vega (considered the Shakespeare of Spain),
far surpassed Cervantes in importance when they were alive.
Amazingly, Cervantes and Lope de Vega were contemporaries and lived on the same street, which is now called Calle Cervantes. But, whereas Cervantes' house was torn down and replaced by a new building many years ago, Lope de Vega's house is pretty much as he left it and is now the Casa Museo Lope de Vega.
Maya and I visited Lope de Vega's house twice. Once for a tour in Spanish and once for a tour in English. It's a really beautiful museum, whose contents are believed to be pretty close to how it was while Lope de Vega lived there, a feature made possible because Lope de Vega described the house in his writings and kept a detailed account of its contents.
Like for all of Madrid, there are lots of stories that go along with Lope de Vega and his house. For example:
1- Late in life he was a priest who lived with a widow and fathered a child.
2- Although Cervantes lived just down the street and Lope de Vega hosted many famous artists in his study, Cervantes most likely never one of them, because they hated each other.
3- Perez-Reverte's character Captain Allatriste was based on a real person who was once a boarder in Lope de Vega's house.
4- Lope de Vega had some fourteen children with his wife and mistresses.
5- The sketch is of the well Lope de Vega had built to water the plants in his garden.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Maya and I usually returned home to our apartment for lunch. There is a reason the siesta is associated with Spain. It gets so hot there between 2pm and 5pm, it is tortuous to be in the streets. That is why we would return home, have a quick bite and practice the siesta. Maya, ever on the look out for good stuff, loved Jamon Serrano. As for me, I loved me some Schweppes Limon, very cold, in a long glass.
Calle Lope de Vega, Madrid, Spain. August 16, 2012.
Friday, September 21, 2012
After Burgos we took back roads all the way back to Madrid. The scenery was special. We ended up stopping at San Domingo de Silos, a peaceful retreat town. I drew this house while seating on the main square enjoying a cold Vichy Catalan. Filipa and Antonio went to listen to the choir at the main church across the square.
San Domingo de Silos, Spain. August 18, 2012.
This day, Maya and I met up with Kiki in Arguelles and had some calamari sandwiches. Afterwards we went to Parque del Oeste to catch the funicular that takes you to Casa de Campo. We had to wait for lunch hour to end so as to catch the cable car, so we cooled off on the shade at Parque del Oeste, along with everyone else that had the same idea.
Paeque del Oeste, Paseo Rosales, Madrid, Spain. August 13, 2012.
On the first weekend we took a car trip to Burgos to see the cathedral there, which is the largest in Spain. On the way there, we stopped on the roadside to eat some figs that Antonio, Kiki's friend from Huesca brought from his land.
On the way to Burgos, Spain. August 18, 2012.
While Maya and I were out having fun exploring Madrid, Filipa had school every weekday. She left home at 8:45 am and did not return until 7:00 pm. Then she would prepare for classes until 11 pm, with just a break for dinner. Ouch! Not my idea of a vacation, but she really wanted to get certified in teaching English as a foreign language, ergo the effort. One day Maya and I met her for lunch at her school TtMadrid at Calle del General Yague.
Calle del General Yague, Madrid, Spain. August 15, 2012.
One of the first places Maya and I visited in Madrid was the Museo de America. It's a splendid museum, but not much visited. Maya and I walked along the halls virtually by ourselves, except for the occasional museum guard. The main reason I think this museum is overlooked, is that its contents are described only in Spanish. It's a loss for those who miss the opportunity to see the Maya codex, a replica of one of the only extant codices from the Maya. The original is stored, but not displayed, in the museum. There are also gold statues, shrunk heads and many other treasures from the Americas.
Museo de America, Moncloa, Madrid. August 14, 2012.
In Puertas del Sol, in Madrid, there is a marker on the ground, which is referred to as Kilometer Zero. The story is that not long after Felipe II made Madrid the capital of the Spanish Empire, six highways were built leading away from the city to points of importance. All along the roads, there were Km markers placed, referring to how far the spot is from the spot on the ground called Km Zero, located in Sol.
Puertas del Sol, Madrid, Spain. August 16, 2012.
A bear leaning against a madroño tree is the symbol of Madrid. There are many stories relating how the bear and the madroño tree came to be the symbol of Madrid. There is one that claims that it dates back to the time when there were many bears around the area where Madrid is located. Another one claims that it dates back to the time when there was a dispute with the Church over ownership of land and the compromise reached where the Church continued to own the land but the people all that inhabited it. Regardless, the symbol is all over Madrid, in trash bins, manholes, etc. The drawing is of a statue in Puertas del Sol, where hundreds of tourists visit it and take pictures next to it daily.
Puertas del Sol, Madird. August 16, 2012.
I like to arrive early at the airport when I travel. While waiting to board, I decided to draw the stub on my boarding pass. I was anxious with anticipation as to what Maya and Filipa had to relate of their stay without me.
Boston Logan International Airport, August 11, 2012.
When I went to Spain this past Summer, I took the bus from Providence to the Logan Airport in Boston. The bus driver spoke perfect English except when he got the the word Airport. When he said "AEROPÔRTO," I knew where he was from. This happens to me too on certain words. It does not matter how long you have known English, if you came here after a certain age, some words will never be accent free.
Pete Pan Bus, Providence, RI to Boston, MA. August 11, 2012.