Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kinnearing Madrid

To  Kinnear is to take a photo on the sly, without others knowing. It can be rather fun activity. Mostly it is fun because when the camera is so far away from you face it is hard to judge what is a straight shot and if you are in fact taking a picture of the object that you desire.

I have discovered that in it's cover and with my headphones attached my Iphone makes a very good Kinnearing device.

 I have left these pictures unedited, and un-straightened to give you idea of the difficulties of Kinnearing. I took pictures as I walked mostly, and I walk kind of fast which leads to the camera not having time to focus, but some of them came out. I took more pictures then are shown here, I deleted the blurry ones.

This is my walk to the park. Madrid seems empty for two reasons: One humans move a lot making the pictures blurry, and two I have a healthy respect for other privacy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A park, a Cathedral and a Moorish wall walked into a bar.

Greetings from rainy Madrid. It is, as the British would say, bucketing down out there. I am not sure how this effects my plans to go to Segovia tomorrow to go to a museum and do more research on the history of spinning in Spain....
However these pictures were taken from last weekend, when it was hot and sunny. Fall is definitely upon us. This will be another picture heavy post.

The park next to the Basilica from yesterday's post.

A charming view of the Southern part of the city over tiled rooftops.

I do not take many pictures of the working class neighborhoods, and I will try to take more.

I love the name "Santa Maria de la cabeza" (Saint Mary of the head).

This is the Catedral de Almudena, and that old wall below it is was part of the wall around the city when the Moors were in charge.

In front of that wall there is a small Moorish park,

with an awesome six pointed star fountain.

It only takes about 10 minutes walking to reach the other side of the wall. It is astounding to think how big Madrid now versus then. This Northern part of the wall is partly excavated, below ground and covered with glass. For those of those of you that know Madrid a little this part is very close to the Opera.

Looking up from the wall (you can see the glass barriers surrounding it).

I love the name of this street "Street of the Embroiderers", and sure enough there are two women working on a quilt.

When you are downtown you have to look everywhere, even up.

This is the Plaza de Cibeles. The Statue/fountain of a queen being pulled in a chariot by two lions is one of the most represented symbols of Madrid. Since it is in a busy roundabout it is hard to get good pictures.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Puerto de Toledo

The main reason that I do not blog more often is that my Iphone and blogger seem to be having a fight. It takes 3 unnecessary steps that sometime I refuse to do and try to out stubborn the computer program. I am going to try and get over this self made hurdle.

Exploring Madrid continues with time in the area around the Puerta de Toledo which is Central South in the city.  Today is a picture post. It looks like a nice neighborhood to live in, see tomorrows post if you crave more pictures of the area.

A cool sun clock

Puerta De Toledo

A side street offers up views of this amazing mision style church

Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

Statues on the Basilica

The wall of the Basilica

The flower garden at the foot of the Basilica

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Things are in a limbo here in Madrid for me. Sometimes I enjoy the peace of it, sometimes it drives me crazy. But the temperatures are changing into my favorite season and in between the madness of the days I find comfort in my half of the hemisphere getting ready for winter.

A new wall sculpture in front of a bar. I want it passionately

Monday, September 17, 2012

A quest for Indian Food

Saturday we were determined to get out and see some more of the city. Our plan was simple. We had heard of "Foodland" - an Indian grocery store down in the center of town. The Lavapies area is known for it's ethnic food scores, and let me tell you there were a lot of stores that we need to explore down there! I passed one store that said "African, Latin American, Asian, and Mediterranean food". 

Getting there was a bit of an adventure. Unknown to us (through lack of the foresight to check) there was a big protest going on downtown. It is hard to wrap my head around Spanish protests because I believe they do it differently. You see, they arrange to protest in advance. This means that the city can arrange parking areas and re-route traffic and have extra policemen on duty. Now I am not sure but I think the in the US the whole point of a protest is to cause an inconvenience to get your point across. Somehow this way seems to me it would have less impact? I could be wrong about US protests, never having been effected by one there.

Anyway our bus had to go way off the regular route and so we ended up having to walk more then we had planned. Which, was not a hardship, because it was through Retiro, and our path took us right by the Rosaleda. Sorry the shoots are a little overexposed, there is a shortage of shade in the Rosaleda.

The scent in there was heavenly.

 As we were walking away from the Rose garden we saw a squirrel! Now I realize that the North Americans among you will not care, but a squirrel in Spain is something everyone stops and stares at. There he is on the tree trunk, he then ran across a busy path causing rollerbladers, runners, walkers, and cyclists to point and exclaim. 
I like the Spanish appreciation for the Squirrel as I have always liked them myself. It is a red squirrel, and this was the closest shot I could get of him because squirrels are hard to photograph.

My favorite fountain in the park with the goblin's heads that look straight out of the movie Labyrinth (although they are older).

They have been reconstruction is mill structure for some time. It is looking good! I have no information about it, because as yet there are no signs or running water.

The Almond groves of Retiro, people go to sunbath and do yoga here.

As we walked past the Museo de Renia Sofía, we noticed some kind of basketball fair going on. This was the coolest part. (Click to enlarge.) Kids were put into harness and then suspended moving up and down,  and back and forth in the air. Their parents would throw different size (lightweight) basketballs to them to see if they could score. It was fascinating.

 We saw this cool building on our walk to Foodland.

And here is a sample picture I took for a-new-to-Madrid friend who was looking for a good source of Nann here in Madrid. It was a small store, but it seemed to have everything you would need to make  Indian dish.

Since there are a lot of Indian restaurants in this area we asked what place the owner of Foodland would go and eat. He recommend Budha saying that the other restaurants in the area were not very authentic. Wow! Budha was the best Indian I have ever had, anywhere. The service was good, the restaurant was lovely, the music not too loud it was perfect. I highly recommend going there if you live in the area.

We then decided to go to the Museo de Reina Sofía because it was nearby. I have never been. This is the museum of modern art here in Madrid, and named after the current Queen.

We went to pay for our tickets and we told that Saturday afternoon were free!

This is a photo of the back of museum as we walked by it the first time. You should definitely go up to the terrace if you ever visit too see some fabulous views of the city. I would have photos of the views but I left my phone in the locker at the entrance. I wish I hadn't, there seemed to be no problem with taking pictures inside the museum.

We just saw the special expositions, the museum is a big one and we will come back to see the regular collection another day. The exposition I found most intriguing was the Rosemarie Trockel one. She is very diverse and apparently was the one to put together the collection using art from different artists as well. My favorite part is what she did with textile art. I do not think my descriptions would do the pieces justice, you will have to go and see for yourself, or do a Google search on her artwork.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Prosperidad is a neighborhood very close to mine, within easy walking distance. Today I will take you on a little walk through this neighborhood.

When I moved to Madrid the largest city that I had ever lived in was Memphis, TN. I know because I just checked it's size. But Memphis is nowhere near the estimated population of the almost 5 million people of Madrid. I am finally admitting to myself that a good portion of the culture shock that I am still experiencing with this move has to do with suddenly living next to so, many, people. I try very hard not to think very much of the mountains and wide open spaces, because I do not want the claustrophobic feeling to set in.

I am probably freshly re-realizing this now because of the population of Madrid pouring back into the city from Summer vacation. In the first part of August it is spooky. There is a significant cut in the population. You start wondering if the apocalypse has happened and that you did not notice because you were not watching the news. Gradually you get used to the lack of people and business hours. Then September comes and, BOOM, there are people everywhere.

There is no where to go where there are not a lot of people.

This is not a bad thing, per say. It is just going to be something that I might never get used to, and to feel comfortable around. I think that I could be perfectly happy living in the country with no one around. But maybe I am just thinking that because it is the opposite of what I have now.

So today I present my"dream neighborhood" of Madrid. I so wish that I coud live here. This neighborhood is right in the middle of the Madrid area, but it is a quiet, cute little neighborhood filled with adorable houses that all have gardens.

I know that I am not adequately capturing the peace and beauty of this area. For one thing I was shy about taking pictures of peoples houses while they were standing there.

 But there are flowers everywhere, most of the houses are different, and house sized (not tall apartment buildings). 
There are little alley ways to the houses that cars are not allowed in.

There are tiny little plazas.

There are quiet, shaded side streets.

At the price tag of about 1 million per house, this is not a dream to come true any time soon, but a girl can walk and dream, and for a little while escape the hustle of the city to pretend that she is in a little pueblo in the countryside.