Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's over! I am home!

Yes it is over. Yesterday was one long day. The first flight took off at 12:30 Spanish time and landed at 3:15 US eastern standard time.    As we got near Philadelphia the Pilot came on and said we were going to hit some rough weather.   At first the plane just shook once in awhile,  then at one point the plane started to fall.   If you have flown, or been on a roller coaster, you know the feeling.    Every one starts going "Oh" and "ah" and laughing.   Then as it kept falling some people started to scream.   That caused a complete panic, and a pile of people were just screeching at the top of their lungs.    I couldn't help but to start laughing.  It sounded so funny.   There had to be over 200 people all thinking this was the end.    We were flying at 37,000 feet according to the TV screen, then it went out so.   I never did see how far we fell but it was quite the ride.   The guy next to me says did you really think that was funny?" I said "Of course I did, didn't you hear the way grown men were squealing like little baby's?"  And he goes "But we could of died" and I say "Squealing was helping how?" ( laughing the whole time) I think he thought I was nuts.
In Philadelphia the plane to Toronto was to take off at 5:44 p.m.    So, I walk to the gate, find a seat and right away the screen says the flight is delayed to 6:35.  I asked the people next to me what was up and they tell me they have been trying to get out of there since 10:30 in the morning when their flight was canceled.   Then more and more people start telling me about the storm and how their flight was cancelled.    Then they start moving us to different gates saying there has been a gate change.   After 4 different gates they come on and said the flight was cancelled.  There is a line up of 30 people and I just walk to the front and asked "Now what?"  and the girl says "Oh I have a ticket for you for tomorrow at 1:11 p.m."    I said "How about a plane to Buffalo?" and she says she has one that is leaving at 6:50 but the 9:00pm. flight to Buffalo was already cancelled.   so she says "Take the flight tomorrow, it's way safer"   and I said "No give me the 6:50 one",  and she does.   Then we start the switching gates again so I am thinking this one is going to be cancelled also.    Now I can't even get the 1 o'clock flight the next day,  so I was thinking maybe  I should have listened to her about that ticket. So again, 4 different gates.  This time they say this plane is going to leave but it's going to be late but have no idea what time it will go.    At 6:45 p.m. we finally got on the plane, but we just sat there.  The pilot says they are trying to get a flight plan approved.    Every 20 minutes he says they keep having to change the flight plan.   Any ways at about 8:50 we finally took off and landed in Buffalo at 10.15.   I was at home by 10:45, even with Brenda taking a wrong turn.    So it was a long day by Spanish time it was 5:00 am when I finally got home.    I slept in until 6:00 a.m. in Madrid, so it was only a 23 hour day.  

The first two pictures below are the flight plans they were considering to get around the storm.

We actually took off with this flight plan in mind, making the 1 hour flight a 1 1/2 hour flight.

On the way, they decided to change course to this flight plan which got us there 23 minutes faster.    

Now today I feel a little jet lag.  I just do not feel like doing any thing.   We walked down to the beach  but I didn't feel like walking was what I wanted to do.   So we came back home and have done nothing all day.  Oh's only 1:00 p.m.....there is still lots of day left!   In Spain it is 7:00 p.m., no wonder I am so hungry!
I do feel strange that the Camino is over.   It's like some thing is missing.   I don't even know how to describe how I feel.   I am sure in a few days I will figure it out.   For now it's just over, and the what's next is starting to creep into my thoughts.   I am sure some of you will have some suggestions. You know who you are the ones that live vicariously through me.   So where are we going next?
I would like to thank all of you for the great comments and words of encouragement. You did make my Camino better.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Madrid the Castle

Today I decided to go see the Palace Real.   It was a good choice, I did like it and if you're in Madrid it's worth the couple of hours to go see it.    I left here at about 8:15 a.m., stopped and had a coffee and some toast on the way.   I just took my time walking there thinking they would open at 9 .   Oh yay,  I am wrong again it doesn't open until 10.     This first picture is the Cathedral across from the Palace.

And this is the Palace.

So with time to kill I went across the street to the park.   I called  it pigeon park, bet you can't guess why

There had to be 25 to 30 of these statues or pigeon roosts

I have heard of some of these people the statue were representing

This was one of the bigger ones, something to do with world war one

And like any big city they have the park dwellers

I put in a few of these

I think she was their Queen at one point in history

And a few more homeless.   The police didn't even bother them, they walked right by them

I go for a coffee and this guy sits down and we have a bit of a conversation.   His English wasn't the best and my Spanish is bad, but we did manage to communicate.   I asked him if he has met the new Pope I say I think his name is Frances. (I still don't know if that's his name) Anyways he gets up and says come here and takes me to show me a picture of him and the Pope

This is the name of the coffee shop I was in

And this is the picture he shows me.  Neat,  if that's the Pope.... I have no idea

So after a bit I leave there and head back to the Palace and look at the guards.  They had on those metal hats and this guy didn't care if you took his picture.

After sitting around for another 10 minutes I finally get in

This is a picture of the Cathedral from the Palace

And of course there are no cameras allowed so these are not the best pictures, most are of the ceilings. But I did get some and only got told off once.

The way these people lived was amazing

So much elegance.

All the rooms were decorated by famous people and all the ceiling's by famous artists

This chandelier weighed over a ton

One of the hall ways

The chapel.   It had more gold then the Cathedral

The view they had

Then went to the artillery room.   I spent more time here than the castle.   It was amazing how much they had.

Some of the old crossbows

They had at least a dozen horses in here with full metal armor

It was just amazing how much they had

Even had old canon type of guns. They had full armor for their children. Swords and lances, they even had body armor that kings had worn to battle. They even had leather shields from back in the 15th century. It is a great display I sure wish I could have taken more pictures but those security guards were just every place.

After that I went to the Cathedral.  It is huge

And it looks a lot newer than I was expecting

Had some nice stained glass

Then I went to this building I thought was a market, but wrong again.   It was a place with dozen of  Tapas bars

You could get any kind of tapas you could think of here

They even had oysters 7 for 10E or 10 for 15E. I thought that sounded cheap ( well Bernita, is it?? )

I only had 2 cheese tapas

It was hard to pick

I sure was tempted with the sweets.

Then I went from there to the Ham Museum and had a ham and cheese croissant and that's a sprite 

These pictures are for Leo. Some guitar place

They said they made them here but who knows

This is the name and it's their 100th anniversary

I had to show this police van, there are more of these than cars. See the screens over the front windows? They sure must have a lot of protesters here

I was heading to Plaza los Ventas when I saw this up another street, so I headed there to see what it was.    I still don't know what it was but it's in the center of another traffic circle.

Then I see the park across from it so I go there.  This park is huge.    Looking straight ahead there is a fountain about a half a kilometer away

This is the fountain after this, it's about the same distance to the lake.

You could rent row boats and paddle around

Across the lake they have a monument

I zoomed in but didn't go there.  Later this afternoon I am going back to see more of this park

After the lake another fountain, and the trail kept going but I turned towards where I thought I was staying.

And I came to this manicured garden

I just loved these trees

I got carried away taking pictures of them

Aren't they neat?  Imagine the work to keep them trimmed

I ended up at the Prado, so I got a chance to listen to my Sax player

I went in a store that sells the armor and swords

I kept thinking who buys this stuff?   Then this woman asked if I speak English.   She wanted me to translate to Spanish for her.  That was a no go.  But I  said what did she need, and she says she has a dozen or more swords at home and wanted to know how to hang them on the wall.   So with my great Spanish I told the guy what she wanted. I am great at sign language because he understood me and went and got her some different hooks and showed her how to do it.   She thanked me and I left. So I guess women buy swords. 

These were chess pieces how cool.   Trent would have loved these!