May 24, 2011

MADRID, SPAIN

I wasn't expecting the kind of kinetic energy Madrid had, particularly the area of Puerta del Sol where many cafes and shops like Zara reside (love their Zara Home store).  The city reminded me of Manhattan with its constant flow of people, the craze of rush hour traffic, and random soccer fans singing at the top of their lungs at the foot of a fountain in the middle of all the beautiful chaos.


A store decorated with Gustav Klimt prints






The Ritz-Carlton is just across the street- quickly went in there to use their bathrooms; they take the security of their guests very seriously- there were bodyguards everywhere.




Don't let this picture fool you.  After the siesta the city is flooded with people




Buildings near the Royal Palace of Madrid.  Loved the balconies enclosed in floor to ceiling glass.   



A colorful mosque/cupola 




Royal Palace of Madrid- loved the details of that lamp post; wish I can take that home
.







Almudena Cathedral


May 4, 2011

GRANADA, SPAIN

It was hard choosing which Spanish cities to see in our short 2-week trip, but friends said Granada was not to be missed.  We did an easy day trip from Sevilla to Granada via train that was 3 hours long.  When we arrived the first thing we did was stake out a cafe serving breakfast and my favorite discovery is their cafe con leche condensada (coffee with condensed milk).  They serve the coffee with 2 packs of sugar in addition to a small pack of condensed milk and trust me, you don't need the sugar!  The condensed milk alone makes the coffee sweet enough.

Coffee aside, Granada's jewel is the Moorish architecture of the Alhambra palace which sits among tall, lush trees and stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Another highlight of the town is its Gothic cathedral in the middle of its bustling city streets.  

Stunning details in the Alhambra palace



The ceiling resembles the night sky

















Views of the city from  the Alhambra



I thought it was neat how they put nets between buildings to shield shoppers and pedestrians from the hot scorching sun during the summer. 






Catedral of Granada

May 2, 2011

RONDA, SPAIN

Third leg of our Spanish trip- Ronda.  Of all the towns in Andalucia, we chose Ronda for it's amazing mountain views, and their gorge leading to a spectacular waterfall.

They take siesta seriously here and napping isn't just for toddlers.  It's okay for adults to go home, take a nap or spend a couple hours with their families and then head back to work (another reason why I love Europe!)  When the siesta is over and the sun finally sets, that's when the streets become alive, you'll find lots of families out for an evening paseo, or stroll (which is pretty similar to what they do in Italy).  And when I say family, I mean multi-generational-  the teenagers, parents, grandparents, and the dog as one unit, which is rare to see nowadays.


















































May 1, 2011

SUNNY SUNDAY



What a way to end the day - with a spectacular sunset.  

Life in the Fog just became Life in the Sun.  Spent late morning exploring our neighborhood then headed to South City for quality time with extended family (the twins' 15th bday - my cousins).  It was great- lots of sun, lots of bbq + beer, lots of laughs with the children, ate four varieties of cake, and a buffet of home-cooked food.  We burned off the calories bouncing off the walls in the inflated fun house.

Still reeling from the fact it's already May.  Before you know it, it'll be June and half the year is over.  I remember when I was about the twins' age, I was sitting outside the mall in Little Rock with a friend and this elderly lady and her friend came up to us and said something along the lines of, "enjoy being young, time goes by so quickly."  My friend and I had no idea what she was talking about.  Funny how time drags when you're a kid but flies by as an adult...

SEVILLA, SPAIN

After Barcelona we headed for this quaint town Sevilla.  No other Spanish city has captured my heart quite like Sevilla; it's everything that I imagined Spain to be with its charming white-washed buildings, the flamenco dancing, Moorish architecture, and the sense of its people's passion and zest for life.  I can only hope that one day I can go back and take my family and friends with me to visit this amazing city.  


Cathedral of Sevilla - the world's 3rd largest.  The altar is made of gold.





The spires on the rooftop of the Cathedral





The city with the bullring in the distance





Handmade tiles from the Alcazar of Seville, a mind-blowing Moorish palace.

















Alcazar of Seville surrounded by palm trees





A lot of passion, heart, and soul goes into flamenco dancing.  I totally recommend Los Gallos for a flamenco show.










The Cathedral glows like a beacon at night.