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Report 1963: Through Extremadura, on to Madrid, into Cordoba

By kathyk from Michigan, Spring 2011

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Page 6 of 6: Madrid – Again

We were back in Madrid because my Catalan friend was headed back to Barcelona from here, while I and the remaining American friend were going to stay longer. Years ago I had hosted a Spanish foreign exchange student. Now we were the invited guests of her and the family. I last saw her as a 15 year old, now she is a 20 year old university student and a young woman. We had an emotional meeting at Atocha station and she drove us to her home in the suburbs, Las Rozas.

They made sure we saw important parts of the capitol, Plaza del Sol, Café Real, after a tour of the palace, Plaza Mayor, all with stops in landmark cafes and bars. By car they drove us along Paseo de la Castellana, up to Torres Quiro. I had once seen the outlines of these buildings from on top hills about 40 miles away to the North.

My personal best experience was the visit to the Sorolla museum. The collection is superior but also the setting. The museum is inside the house (mansion) that the artist designed and resided in with his family.

They took us on a day trip to Toledo where we also saw the important sites and lunched at the Parador with vistas of the Toledo skyline. Back at their place we watched more soccer games on TV.

Another day trip by car headed us to Salamanca, climbing over the foggy and snowy Guadarrama pass and then dropping into the open, sunny Castillian plains. In Salamanca, we walked, sat in the plaza, took the tourist trenecito, visited Calixto garden, crossed the Roman bridge back and forth and ate at Casa Paca, on Rua Mayor. On the way home we stopped at Avila but this town really requires its own day to do it justice.

When the day came, they drove us to Barajas airport for our early morning departures. We each had separate flights with different routes but we both ended up in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 11pm at night. A safe end to a five week sojourn in Spain filled with memories to last a lifetime, or until next year.

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