Saturday, January 26, 2013

A walk through my new neighborhood

I live in a more residential neighborhood now, and I prefer it. But maybe it is not as picturesque as the the other one. However before I moved to Spain I was fascinated by "real" photos of Europe. Not the tourist photos, the ones that showed what it would look like to live there. 
So if any of you feel the same, enjoy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Inside el Templo de Debod

A while back I did a blog post about the Temple of Debod and why it is in the Parque del Oeste. I would recommend reading it for the background information on why this stunningly beautiful Egyptian monument is in Madrid. 
It is perched atop a hill over looking a majority of the city. There are reflecting pools on both sides of the monument and it is surrounded by palm trees. On a clear day (not when this picture was taken) it is possible to see the mountains from behind the temple (this view), see the heart of the city from the front, and if you go 30 meters or so to the South it is possible to see the Royal Palace.

This is probably the most romantic picture of these two in their lives. No I do not know them.

But I had never been inside the temple before this Christmas when my SIL and partner came down from Barcelona for New Years. I was not expecting the inside to be so spacious, so informative, so ..awe inspiring. also, for some reason I was not expecting Hieroglyphs. 

You could touch these, there is no barrier. It is both cool and deeply disturbing.

I was not expecting that Spain had turned the inside into a small free museum, educating about the temple and it's origins. In the photo below you can see how they added a "light" version of the statue that was once on this alter.

In looking for the proper name for this "cornice" on line I just found a cool site that lets you see what the temple was in its heyday. It is in Spanish, but I think worth the trip even if you do not speak read it well.

At the end, if you are in Madrid and have the time. Definitely visit this temple.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sorolla musem

There is a precious little museum in the center of Madrid. It is the former house and studio of a painter who is, strangely, not really well known outside of Spain. Joaquín Sorolla had a wonderfully impressionistic style and way of capturing the light in Spain that is utterly captivating. I did not attempt to take photos within the museum, click on his name above or do a google search for his work it will be worth your time.

The first I ever heard about the museum was from the "Notes in Spanish" podcast. Which is a podcast in Spanish by a Madrileña and her husband from Oxford (UK) about Madrid and Spain. If you are learning Spanish, I can not recommend this podcast enough. Just listening to their conversation has improved my Spanish immensely. I tend to listen to it while I am walking or on the metro to "warm up" my Spanish for the day.

When my beautiful Sister-in-law and partner came to Madrid over New Years, we only had the time to go to one museum out of the many in Madrid and we chose the Sorolla. I am so glad that we did. It is the perfect size for a museum, not too small, not too big. The rooms of the house (mansion) are filled with light, the beauty of his art and his collections. But your visit will start with the gardens...

The gardens, by the way, are free. I am sure that they are magnificent in Spring, but even in winter they are something to see. What I have here is just a taste of what you can expect.

He was a man enchanted with the Alhambra and the style of his garden reflects this.

The garden is not large (by US standards) but there is art tucked away everywhere you look.

I highly recommend a visit. 
Has anyone ever been?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Challenge accepted - Nativity scene

Recently a certain blogger challenged me (on Christmas eve in the comments) to make a felted nativity scene. I thought about ignoring this challenge as I did not have a lot of time to devote to this. However, I am just as much a sucker for challenges as the next person so I went ahead and started. On Christmas day I got this:

 Which served as a big distraction and occupied two full days of experimentation when ever I could find a free moment.

Then my favorite sister-in-law and partner came for a visit and whilst there were here, it was too cold to be out walking, everything was closed so we got to play around with making felted critters. I was able to finish off the "little lamb" which was all I needed to complete my scene.

Earlier in the month I had made the Christmas trees, the Santa, the snowman, the box, and what was to be the oveja María. When I got the challenge I thought about what I would do. I am not a religious person, meaning I do not belong to a particular faith, so I did not want to do a traditional Belén. So I thought about how importent wool is to me and (maybe) the fact that I already had one sheep, and decided that with what little time I had, I would make a oveja José, and a ovejita Jésus on a bed of straw before the 12th night (January 6th).

To be a true Spanish naivety scene (albet sheep themed) I would have needed to make the three kings, as they are very popular an much more recognized then Santa. Buy, hey, I am an American working with a creative license. Also I believe that the Three Kings did not arrive until the 12th night, so as I finished early I am safe.

I hope that everyone is having Happy Holidays and will have a prosperous New Year!