Hola & Adios Madrid

Jeni Madrid

Wandering Hotel Miguel Angel

Hello everyone! I’ve just returned from a 4 day trip to Madrid, Spain. My first visit ever. One of the best things about living in Europe is that traveling to other countries are convenient and often times tickets are booked at a bargain. I feel so lucky living in Europe again and very happy to have had the opportunity to visit Madrid. Barcelona? Maybe next year!

Before leaving, I brushed up on my “Espanol” and even wrote down key phrases on a piece of paper to carry with me. My advice? Make an effort to learn some phrases of communication for every country that you visit. This demonstrates respect and openness in learning a new language and I believe that the effort that you put in are appreciated by the people you meet.

I had a great experience staying at the Hotel Miguel Angel. Our 7th story bedroom was comfortable and offered a great view of the lounge garden you see pictured above and below. The staff was helpful and friendly and the breakfast buffet met our needs. Oh! Even if you decide against the hotel accommodations, I’d like to suggest dining in their outdoor restaurant. It was sooo fabulously adorable, offers a fine dining experience and literally served the best prepared calamari I have ever tasted. Period.

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I stumbled upon another one of my favourite paintings, the “Figura en una finestra,” by Salvador Dali. One of his most realistic and finest paintings created during his lifetime. It’s such an amazing piece! I was so surprised when I saw it at the Reina Sofia Museum. These little joys in life make me so happy!

Salvador Dali; Figure at the Window, 1925

Salvador Dali; Girl at the Window, 1925

 Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles

Must haves for keeping cool in this 100 degree weather. Hat & Water!

Must haves for keeping cool in this 100 degree weather. Hat & Water!

I haven’t felt this much heat since living in Sacramento, California! Our first night in town, Justin ran into a work colleague who reconfirmed Madrid’s typically hot summers. Muy Caliente indeed! I slathered on so much sun screen that I barely tanned. It made sense that on Sunday, we’d spend most of the day at the “Parque Del Buen Retiro.”

There were plenty of shaded areas in this expansive and beautifully landscaped park, yet the boiling sun was barely tolerable. So maybe the cocktails here and there weren’t such a great idea, but those sangrias? Hello! I’m in Spain! Anyways, there’s more juice than wine in those right? Oh well, water was plentiful and my second best alternative substitute while on vacation. Heat or no heat. We enjoyed every minute of our park adventure.

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Justin and I braving the heat like lions!

Entering Plaza Mayor

Entering Plaza Mayor

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Our stroll back to the hotel.

There’s always plenty to do and see and never enough time to do it all…

I had my 1st true tapas and sangrias experience, strolled down Paseo de Recoletos during the gay pride parade with thousands of others. Opened up a bottle of un-imported Spanish wine. Laid on the grass taking selfie after selfie with the one I love. Wandered through the opera area and unsuccessfully found a movie theatre (relief from the heat) filming the documentary, “Amy” about Amy Whinehouse. I practiced the action button on our camera while a guy practiced his air jumping in front of the Plaza de la Armeria. Went to the same taco place twice and ordered the same thing because it was just too good not have again. Explored the area of Sol by walking in and out of shops and where I decided to buy a winter coat. The irony right?

This is what I love about traveling…you get to experience many of the authenticities of the culture you’ve probably experienced second-hand in your own country. It’s hard to explain in words, but it’s different because the experience seems more pure or credible. But also, it’s comforting to know that you can be in a completely different country and still experience similar comforts  from home. For example, some of the things I mentioned above like watching an american flick or eating Mexican styled tacos. Just because I’m in a new country doesn’t mean I need to constrict myself to experiences solely belonging to that country, but that I absolutely include experiences that are novelty to the country I’m visiting.

You know?

Happy Woman!

Happy Woman!

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The Maid of Orleans

 

Loire River also known as The Royal River because royalty would sail to Paris along this route.

The Loire River is known as The Royal River because royalty would sail to Paris along its banks.

Located about an hour and half south of Paris, is an old royal town named Orléans. Situated on the northernmost arc of the Loire River, Orléans is a historically royal city still holding its medieval and renaissance facades. At every turn, you’ll discover half-timbered houses from the medieval times in the historic centre of the city.

EAT HERE! La Petite Folie Restaurant et tres bien!

EAT HERE! La Petite Folie Restaurant.

Painted to help rehabilitate the historic centre of Orleans.

Painted to help rehabilitate the historic centre of Orléans.

Like walking? Enjoy a long scenic walk along the Loire River. For those who love history, take in the stained glass beauty in the Sainte Croix Cathedral where every window tells a story of The Maid of Orléans

Sainte Croix Cathedral, 13th Century

Sainte Croix Cathedral, 13th Century

Once home to The Maid of Orléans or the famously named Jeanne de Arc (Joan of Arc)  Jeanne proclaimed to have heard a voice from God advising her to meet with Charles VII when the English laid siege to Orléans in October 1428. There she helped fight against the English before her capture and subsequent trial where she was found guilty of heresy and immediately burned at the stake at the age of 19 years old.

Jeanne de Arc in front of the Office de Toursim.

Jeanne de Arc in front of the Office de tourism.

Orléans pays tribute to the memory of Jeanne de Arc because of the bravery of her character.  In 1920 Joan of Arc was canonised and proclaimed the second patron saint of France in 1922. Joan of Arc would come to represent a symbol of resistance to occupying forces.

Take in City Centre.

Take in City Centre.

This city pays homage to her life with a yearly festival and keeping several statutes depicting Jeanne de Arc around the city and also turning her previous residence into a museum despite the original house being burnt down during the 1940 bombings. The house was eventually rebuilt between in 1961 and 1965 and is widely visited today.

Maison de Joan de Arc

Maison de Joan de Arc

The town of Orléans was in part, a perfect quick get-a-away this past weekend from Paris, easily discoverable and enjoyed within a day. Stay tuned and I’ll relay some must-knows about the charming city of Blois!

I Didn’t Go To London For The Fish & Chips…

I wrapped up my 2 day stay in London fairly quickly with lots of picture-taking. Day one of my trip began within the robust Apple Market where ironically, not a single vendor sold apples. By mid day, I zoomed in and around Covent Garden, perusing through the sprouting stores where merchants offered prices ‘just right’ for nearly everyone’s pocket book. Seeing that covent garden was a popular tourist trap, I had a great deal of fun noticing the life around me. Street performers nearly stepping on the soles of tourists with unicycles or size 20 plus clown shoes. With all the hoopla going on around London and just normal day-to-day living, no one stepped inside one of those London phone booths for a must-have photo….at least not that I witnessed. As for myself, I fought back the urge for a selfie in the phone booth countless of times… (LAUGHING). Instead, I stepped into a lot of places to eat!

On day two, I spent a great deal capturing mid-century stones from within the mid-evil Tower of London, contemplating how I would break the glass to steal a handful of red rubies from the Crown Jewel Collection. Subsequently I would spend a lifetime in a cell and become infamously known as one of London’s thieving captives whose realized the rubies were fakes! HAH! After the few hours I spent touring The Tower, I walked along the London Bridge where it spread beautiful teal blue arches over what looked-like dark griddle oil in the river Thames below.

Through all the zigzagging and picture-taking in my two days in London, I became a ravenous tourist ready to pounce on my food like a lion on a royal coat of arms in an uproar stance. I accomplished this all without the fish & chips London is most known for. Maybe next time. For now enjoy my foodies photos below.

PING PONG

Unit 3 Quay Side E1W 1BA, Katherine Docks, London

 #020 7680 7850

 

KIMCHEE

388 Strand, London WC2R OLT

#020 7240 4515

 

Take Korean food to go or stay! I ate the spicy chicken over rice. YUMMY

Kimchee Restaurant-Take Korean food to go or stay! I ate the spicy chicken over rice. YUMMY

 

THE CROWN

33 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1BH

#020 7836 9121

 

 

WAHACA

66 Chandos Place London WC2N 4HG

#020 7240 1883

PRET A MANGER

Various Locations

Some additional the random pics. I hope your hungry now.

 

‘Till next time

Jeni