Friday, June 24, 2016

A Stroll Through Madrid

Most of my trip to Spain this time around was spent in Toledo, but following the wedding and prior to traveling back home I had a day to spend in Madrid.  I wanted to spend the time seeing what I hadn't on the previous trip hence the visit to the museum (see earlier post).  I started out with a really ambitious list of things to see and do, but as the day unfolded it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to do all that was on my list which actually turned out perfect.  To be honest, I was tired.  Having danced into the wee hours of the night and not being able to get my bum out of bed to catch the earliest train into the city, I arrived in Madrid not till almost noon.  I quickly checked my luggage into a locker and proceeded to the museum after grabbing a bite to eat.  As I mentioned in the post about the museum, the museum is at least a half day activity.  100 rooms! I had intended to find my way back to the Churro cafe that I had visited on my previous trip, but it seemed no longer that important. I wanted to just soak up the city without rushing to find the right metro station and finding my way back. I settled on a violet flavored ice cream which was absolutely lovely and a walk through the Real Jardin Botanical Garden.  I finished my day sitting in a cafe eating a lovely Quinoa Salad for dinner and had a very amusing time watching people.  The funniest thing I saw was a group of men who were clearly having a stag party (bachelor party) where the groom was dressed in pink tights, black flats, a pink tutu, with a crown and pink pig ears.  Simply too funny

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Wedding

Oh my!  The wedding did not disappoint.  I knew it would be fabulous because the setting was in Spain, but honestly the wedding was what every little girl dreams of having when the grew up. The estate Cigarral del Angel Custodio where Emily and Ricardo had their wedding was the perfect backdrop because it is nestled along the Taho River with a view of Toledo in the background. Whe of n the ground keeper opened the door it was like a choir of angels where singing because this place is truly heaven with the cypress trees lining the path to the wedding hall, roses in every shade of yellow, pale pink, and peach, water fountains, and ever so carefully places statues.  After all the guest were seated, Ricardo was walked down the aisle by his mother and shortly thereafter Emily arrived in a horse drawn carriage.  Her grandfather waiting to escort her down the aisle preceded by the sweetest ring bearer and flower girl dressed in cream and rose.  The officiant was their long time and dearest friend from America Jose.  The ceremony was in English and in Spanish as Ricardo is from Madrid. Her best friend and his brother addressed each of them before they said their vows and then before we knew it Jose pronounced them man and wife followed by a kiss.  Then with big smiles across their faces as the walked down the aisle where cameras snapped catching the newly married couple in all their bliss flower petal flew and then they entered a the carriage where they where taken to a different part of the estate to do wedding photos.  While we waited cocktails were served along with appetizers of fried quail eggs on a bed of match string potatoes, beef skewers, coconut shrimp, cheese and crackers, gazpacho shooters, and dumplings served on spoons.  The quartet continued to play an a variety of popular songs and friends chatted happily with one another.  Then just like that right before the sun sunk behind the horizon the couple entered the courtyard.  After another round of photos were taken we all entered the dining room where we enjoyed a marvelous meal. I choose venison and others choose the sea bass; however before the main course was served a salad of rocket lettuce and salmon tartare with black truffles and pine nuts was served followed by a mojito sorbet ( didn't eat this one).  Dessert was a lovely Arab Tart a light flaky pastry  filled with cream and a side of berries. Once the dinner was over we danced into the wee hours.  Congratulations Emily and Ricardo! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Prado Museum

Hi!  How are you?  Did you have a good weekend?  Well, I am back from my trip to Spain.  The wedding was wonderful (more on that later) and Toledo is an amazing city with so much history. I got back Sunday evening and yesterday felt like I was walking in the fog of jet lag.  Today I feel good though so hopefully when 5 p.m. comes around I won't want to feel the need to go to bed. While I was in Spain, I had a day in Madrid before heading home.  One of the places I went to was the Prado Museum and clearly I could have spent the whole day there as there are over 100 rooms.  Their collection of paintings and artwork is extensive.  Those who are not into art may not know many of the artist as they don't carry the more popular art pieces of say Monet or Van Gogh, but they do feature many many Spanish artists like Goya and El Greco who was a Greek artist but who lived many years in Spain.  I wish I had rented the headset to help me through the museum because the museum is so large.  They do offer a guide book.  I think I would have liked to have seen this museum with a tour guide.  This museum isn't everyone's cup of tea as most of the art is early Renaissance and religious art.  This isn't also really my cup of tea either, but I did really enjoy the massive alter pieces on display that were really gorgeous.  This museum is does not carry any modern art, but they do have one collection by a newer artist named Miguel Blay.  His sculpture titled Blossoming Love was lovely.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces. The museum is definately worth a visit.

 Blossoming Love by  Miguel Blay
 Mrs. Sage in the Hot Air Balloon by Vincenzo Lunardi
 Screeching Cats by Goya "I liked this one because it seemed 
so out of place in comparison to the rest of the art. 
 Diptych with 42 monumental Spanish cities by Perez Villamil
 This pieces is really amazing in person.  
This photo doesn't do it justice it. Artist Enrique Simonet 
  Hollyhocks by Mariano Fortuny

Prado National Museum
Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid, Spain
hours 10 a.m to 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Jeni's Ice Cream

Summer time has really afforded us the opportunity to explore our city some as we are not tide down to school schedules.  Last week we drove into the city and picked up nana and grandpa and explored a side of down that we normal would never go to.  We had heard through a friend of this really yummy ice cream place called Jeni's and so off we went.  The ice cream didn't disappoint.  I had the roasted strawberries and buttermilk ice cream, Addy had sweet cream, nana had Savannah Buttermint and Espresso, grandpa had bramble berry pie, Ivy shared with all of us, and Avery had salted peanut butter and chocolate chip. We missed not having Roman with us as he was at Boy Scout Camp  So so yummy!  The shopping center that Jeni's was located in was super cute with shops you don't see in your average strip mall.  We can't wait to go back and try some more flavors at Jenis and maybe one of the restaurants nearby.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ivy Goes to the Atlanta Zoo

It wasn't her first trip to the zoo as she had visited the Safari Park in Guangzhou, but it was the first time to the zoo with her her sister and at the Atlanta Zoo.  We weren't sure if the day was going to work out as when we approached the city dark clouds were looming over the city.  We decided to hang out at IKEA for a little while and eat lunch and then make a decision.  When we walked out of IKEA the sun was shining just enough, so we hurried on over to the zoo.  The children has such a fun time they can't wait to go back; especially, to play in the splash pad.