Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our Last Day in Spain: January 9, 2012 Part II

Now that I see the videos DO download (although it takes forever), here are more of Mr. Don's videos!

Video above taken from the garden of Sculptor Macho's residence.  It's views from the old city out over the escarpment of the River Targus, including a view of St. Martin's Bridge.

Video above is a Toledo video, but not sure of what!

Video above this is from Sculptor Macho's house.

The video above is of the Alcazar.  The Alcazar's roots go back to Arab (Moorish) times in Spain and means "fortress."  During the Civil War Franco's forces bombarded the Alcazar (which was a military academy at the time) for, I believe our guide told us, 37 days (or perhaps it was 39 days), until there was nothing left but rubble.  Many years later, the Alcazar was reconstructed over the original footprint.  Archaeologists were brought in to recover as much of the ruins as possible and these bits and pieces were incorporated into the new building project wherever it was possible to do so.  The Alcazar one sees today in Toledo is totally rebuilt, but it represents an exact a replica as far as was historically and engineering-wise possible at the time.  It makes me cry, to think of the loss, and it makes me cry to think of what the people went through to rebuild the irreplaceable once again.

After we got back to Madrid, we left the travel agency (Julia Tours, gracias!) and just up the street was the park that houses the monument to Cervantes.  We had visted it on January 6th (the day of the Feast of the Three Kings) and found it walled off with white plastic construction walls, and the plaza itself was filled with litter and generally scruffy and sad looking, which I attributed to (I hoped) celebrations the night before (the night Mr. Don and I attended the Parade in Madrid along the Paseo del Recollectos).  It mad me so sad to see it that way after my memories of such a sparkling place filled with people relaxing in the sun in October, 2002!  But when we walked toward it the evening of January 9th, a miraculous transformation had taken place!  The white plastic walls were gone!  The litter was gone!  We could see the monument to Cervantes and the backside of it as well with its wonderful fountain.  Mr. Don took much time to get photos and video.  It is a very popular site and it was hard to get "clean" shots, even near sunset, for all the tourists crawling (literally!) all over Don Quixote and Pancho!

Hypnotizing, isn't it...

Amazing this is the other side of the Cervantes monument!  No tourists were seen splashing about the fountain!  Away across the plaza  from this fountain stands the monumental but sadly, now vacant, Edificio Espana.  Before it is another splendid fountain.  I do hope there are plans afoot to redevelop the Edificio Espana.  According to this website, there is a hotel in part of the premises, but it sure didn't look to Mr. Don or I that there were any occupants in the building - which is a shame, since it has beautiful balconies and must have incomparable views of the city!

At the corner, we took a sharp right and headed down the Gran Via for a 40 minute walk toward out hostal.  Oh my, it was a long walk, indeed!

All I wanted was to get something to eat and go to bed.  My stomach was really bothering me; at least, it felt like it was my stomach, but I was hungry too.  How could I be sick to my stomach and still be hungry?  I was not familiar with the symptoms of HEARTBURN!  Little did I know...

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