Friday, April 1, 2011


In Madrid we saw Picasso's most famous painting, we went on a gondola ride,

and we saw buildings across the street from each other that were leaning inwards to the street.

Madrid felt very flexible, like we could stop doing whatever, whenever, and do something else like eat or some other thing in mom's plans. Mom is so organized with her plans, we just get somewhere, and follow her lead. It's very easy to travel with mom. She tells us all the possible problems, and then when they come we can see what the solution is without her guidance. In Madrid she told us we'd get to the place, heather and Kenna would meet us there, and then go to a museum and meet ray when we're done at the museum. For dinner on the first day, we went to an Italian restaurant; I had spaghetti carbonara. Carbonara is a white cream sauce similar to Alfredo sauce, but with no cheese. An interesting dish that someone ordered was spaghetti negro (black spaghetti).

The Madrid Song

Welcome to Espanya

Tune of “Wasn’t that a Party”

Started at the Prado

Up and down the stairs,

Following the guidebook looking at Goya art ‘til nobody really cared

Jetlag is a killer

I want to close my eyes

Long about then Ray showed up

Welcome to Espanya

Someone bought a bottle,

Might have been a jug

After three or four tapas bars, food and wine all tastes like a big warm hug

‘cept may-be the Pig’s Ears

Is that really a food?

Free drinks, good friends and fun,

Welcome to Espanya

Lookin’ at the castles

Churches and towns,

If I see one more museum Rick recommends, my head’ll start spinning ‘round

Holly cracks the whip then

And off we all go

Teachers on tour throughout Madrid

Welcome to Espanya

If you have a euro

You can buy some shoes

But don’t bother knockin’ at the convent door ‘cause those nuns have only bad news

Won’t sell you some cookies

Won’t even say hello

Guess we’ll move this party on

Welcome to Espanya

Heather started whining

Kenna had to go

Ray fell asleep in the middle of raucous times; it’s been a long week you know

Goin’ home to recover

Keep those good times close

Gonna miss the Spanish fun

Adios Espanya

Castles somewhere that i can not remamber the name of.

Today we went to a lot of castles. I’m going to write about the second one because I’m sure Rhys is going o write about the first. It is a Muslim style castle, because it was built by the Muslims when they invaded Portugal. Present day its preserved as a Christian castle because later, in about 1230, the Crusaders kicked out the Muslims (Moors). Instead of destroying and building on top, they just re-styled the castle. So I still looks Muslim but with a bunch of pictures of Jesus on the wall. It was a fun castle, it had lots of secret passages and stuff. It also had a Sim-version of the castle where you could explore it on a computer…which was cool. It was a small castle, and cozy. I would live there, the other castle are just too big. It also had a cute little court yard and the biggest room was half as big as our biggest room ( in Langley.) It was a really nice, cute castle. That was one of my favorite castles. I’m not crazy about the tiled outside, but I love the interior, from the snake railing to the tight little tower that only one person could fit at the top. The whole castle was different that any others, and that’s why I liked it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Blog According to Heather

As we pack up to leave Madrid and begin our journey to Portugal it falls to me to create a blog as Holly of the whip is insistent. And girls with whips must be obeyed. Kenna and Ray have both skipped the country and I have watched the finely tuned and oiled Lloyd machine pack up and get out of our apartment in the blink of an eye. Well we did have to wait for the host to arrive to check the place and give back the deposit but once all that happened we were able to leave in the blink of an eye. We hopped into the car and headed out of Madrid. However I am not going to tell you any more of that. My job is to tell the tale of our last few days in Madrid. So here goes. It has been a few days since we let the world at large know of our activities but that is only because we have been busy burning the candle at both ends. At last mention we were leaving the town of Segovia and heading back to Madrid. On Thursday we went to the Royal Palace. Apparently the Royal family had not realized that Holly had planned for us to tour it and Goya’s tomb on Monday and rudely decided to use it for their own uses. (The president of Ireland was in town and there was some function. We did get to see the guards on their horses with their fancy hats though) Anyway long and short we headed to the Royal Palace on Thursday am ish and I have to say it is pretty impressive. It was built by King Philip V, a Bourbon King. Once you walk up the grand staircase which is pretty cool in itself, you have the option to see tapestries, royal china, pictures, murals, the thrones with the lions, and a dining room that seats a 144 people and can double as a ballroom with brightly lit chandeliers and charm. We also visited the Royal Armoury. It is hard to imagine riding a horse wearing all that armour let alone battling someone or participating in a jousting tournament. Some particularly impressive things there were the Moorish shield from 397372648624 and the armour that somehow stopped bullets in the battles when guns began to be used. Later on Thursday after the first of several mini shopping trips, the adults headed out to tap tap Tapas bar hop. Rick Steves was once again our illustrious guide as Holly led us through several culinary experiences including prawns on stick, lovely garlic prawns, sautéed garlic mushrooms to die for, some ham and of course some pigs ears! Yummy NOT! Truly we tried them and I would say they were not anyone’s favourite. After a goodnights sleep we headed out again. Today we head to Goya’s tomb and Debod. Debod is an Egyptian Temple that Spain saved from further submersions when the Aswan dam was being rebuilt. It was pretty cool. Debod had been submerged in the wet season for fifty years before the plan to rebuild the Aswan dam bigger led to efforts to save it and other temples in the area. Goya’s tomb was another spot that didn’t realize closing on Monday was a problem for Holly’s planning but oh well we saw it and it is pretty cool too. Friday night is our last night with all five of us so it is another big night out. The adults are heading out to the oldest restaurant in the world. You heard right been around for hundreds of years. Rick is in the car so I can’t tell you how many…We put on our fancy duds including high heels and hit the cobbled road. The specialty of the house was roast suckling pig which 3 of us enjoyed. Tom and I also had garlic and egg soup. It wasn’t very garlicky. Holly and Ray had roast baby lamb (Yes I know a lamb is already a baby I am just telling you what the menu said). All of the meat servings were enormous and likely one or two entrees could have fed us all but it was all tasty so we managed to do a good job devouring the dinner. After dinner we went in search of some night life. We stopped for some wine at one spot then decided to try and find some more action. Being the discerning travelers we are we decided to go back to our tapas street. Talk about a happening spot. Some young bar owner dragged us in to dance and carouse at his establishment. Just walking through the door got us free drink tickets and a round of shooters which I did not consume but the others were more than willing to take the extra. (editor’s comment: yeah, right, Heather) Tom and Ray decided pretty quickly they would rather go back down the street to a more pub like place we passed. The gals danced a bit but just as a good song came on Kenna decided she was done. Just like that finito so of course Holly was done too! So off we all went (That can be a problem with a tour group you have to stick with the gang ( for literary reference check Asterix and the Olympic Games) We found the guys and headed home. Hard to believe it was 1 am. The streets were packed people were everywhere. Really very different from what we see in Vancouver ( other than during the Olympics) Saturday morning we had a slower start. Kenna headed to the airport just before 11am. So we said our goodbyes dragged the children out of bed and headed to the Sophia. (Editor's note: Why does Kenna look so happy to be leaving?) Ray was heading to the airport at 4 so we saw some modern art including Picasso’s Guernica then grabbed a quick bite before heading back to the apartment to say our goodbyes once again. To finish the day Julia, Holly, and I went shopping at la Plaza Espana then headed home to hit the market for dinner. OOOps apparently on Saturdays the market closes at 2pm so we were out of luck. Back to the corner 24 hour store for noodles and tomatoe etc, wine, ice cream, and dinner was served. A little wine good company and our last night in Spain draws to a close. I have now been in Portugal a couple of days with the Lloyd family but since we have not had internet while I typed this I will have to trust Holly posts it faithfully. The trip has been grand and I know I should say more but that is it for now. Heather