Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spain Series #6

After our sandwich lunch, we drove over to Retiro Park for a walk. It was Sunday afternoon and the sun was shining. Quite a pleasant day, really, for February. I think many others thought so, too, because the park was filled with people.

One of the large allées in Retiro Park.

Retiro is a large park on the edge of the old city center. It's huge, includes a large rectangular lake, a botanical hot house, fountains, allées, grand parterres, and many of the other standard features of large urban parks. Inside the park, you can almost forget you're in the middle of large city.

Amazing fountains!

There were, of course, many children out with parents and grandparents. They were sailing boats in the fountains, watching puppet shows, lining up for treats at the food kiosks, taking pony rides, and doing all the other things that kids do.

A quieter section of the park.
I took some black and white pics as an experiment.

There were also many dogs, so we had be very attentive to Collette on the leash and ensure that no agressive behavior happened. Collette could get very protective of us when she was on leash. But I don't remember any dog incidents, so it must have all gone very well.

Looks like an angel and a snake.

I'm not sure what we did that evening, but it was our last night at the hotel. The next morning, Monday, we checked out, and headed over to Sue's. We went to a neighborhood grocery and bought the fixin's for a brunch-like meal, then went back to her apartment and cooked and ate.

Stone fruit sculpture.

Then we said our good-byes and left Madrid. Our plan was to drive as far as St.-Jean-de-Luz, just over the French border, and spend the night there. Then we'd drive on to Saint-Aignan the following day. It was a better plan than going the whole way in one day.

Inside the crystal palace, taken from the outside.

I don't have any photos from St.-Jean-de-Luz. It's a beach/resort town and very pretty, but since we were there in February, it was all very calm and many of the shops and restaurants were closed for the season. Still, we walked on the beach, found a fine restaurant, and had a good stay.

Collette and me posing for our portrait.

But, as always, it was good to finally get home.


  1. Aw, that portait of you and Collette is beautiful.

    I've enjoyed reading about your trip to Spain. I find Spain and France to be quite different from one another- I didn't know about the difference in dog rules, that is reason enough for me to prefer France. German people love their dogs as much as the French I think.

  2. More great photos and info :)

    Cheryl, if you're reading, thanks for the info on Sue's trip! Man, that's a wonderful idea to do when you retire! It's true that learning is just that much more enjoyable when it's removed from the stress of grading :)) Hey, it wasn't Chabot College, by any chance, was it?

    I have recently-retired friends (former college and grade school educators) who now live in Long Island, who enroll every semester in courses at their nearby college--especially designed for people in their age bracket-- French Theater, World Dancing, Photography, etc. They also train in to NYC at least once a week to hit the museums, have lunch, and/or catch a play. Man! The life!


  3. That fountain photos is absolutely brilliant!

  4. Hi Judy, no, Sue's college was not Chabot College. I always used to think of you when I heard that name. Isn't that funny? I think Chabot College is in Oakland, no? Sue's college was Sierra -- I think it's called Sierra Community College.

    Right after our trip to Madrid, Sue came and spent a week in Saint-Aignan. Did you know there is an overnight train that runs from Madrid to Paris? I think it runs on different tracks, not the same gauge or something as French train tracks (but I'm not sure). Anyway, that train stops in Blois (but not in Tours) so we were able to drive up to Blois and pick here up.

  5. Yes, we've caught the sleeper train at Poitiers and gone to Madrid. It's excellent.

  6. Ken, it tickles me that you used to think of me when you saw Chabot College :)) I had no idea it existed before a few years ago, when a colleague of mine brought me back a sweatshirt and some notebooks from there when he discovered it during a summer road trip out there. He was just as amazed as I! I guess it's a somewhat common name in New England, Quebec, and certain areas of France, but not anywhere else, that's for sure!


  7. I love that photo of you and Collette and the seemingly endless rows of trees. Beautiful in black and white.

  8. evelyn, yes, the differences (language, culture, weather) are amazing for such a small place.

    judy, something to look forward to in our old age... forward, schmorward.

    betty, thanks!

    susan, sounds like fun!

    ginny, it was a good spot for the perspective because of the slight hill.


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