Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wonderful Madrid

Two weeks ago I had a week off from work. It is an old tradition here in Finland. It was originally called the skiing holiday but now that it is usually impossible to ski here in the Southern Finland, we call it just the winter holiday.

One of my friends from the Conceptis community, Rosa, visited me with her husband, Antonio, in Finland last August and kindly asked us to visit them in Madrid. Since I am not very fond of hot weather and from what I have heard Spain is one of the hottest places in the summer, this was just a perfect timing. Rosa even took a week off from work because we were coming!

When Rosa was here we had an amazingly hot weather here; as if Rosa had brought the sunshine with her. Apparently I managed to take our weather to Spain. It was raining for the first two days and it was more or less raining non-stop; just like in Finland but not customary in Spain. I did not actually care. I knew they needed the rain and besides, Rosa is a person who creates sunshine around her, no matter what the weather is outside.

Madrid is a beautiful place! They have taken care of the old buildings and all the new ones fitted very well in their surroundings. The old houses were like art with all the ornaments and statues. The Finnish style, especially in Turku, has too many times been to replace the whole building with a new (ugly) one. Madrid was also very clean. In one of the restaurants my husband found a men’s room which he declared the cleanest he had ever seen anywhere!

We lived in a cozy hotel, Hostal la Vera, which was built in an apartment building. I like those; if you choose a five star hotel you can’t see any difference. They are the same all over the world. The owner spoke great English with an excellent and clear British accent!

The food was great! It is very nice when you have someone to rely on to choose the restaurants and what to eat. I have heard horror stories about people who have just randomly chosen something to eat without knowing what it will be and ended up not being able to eat it. We eat paella (of course), some kind of a traditional pot from the part of Spain where Rosa comes from and also excellent sea food.

The first course usually contained among other things cheese and ham (so tasty) and this was the most creative way they placed them:

The most adventurous meal I had at the seafood restaurant. We had lobster first and then fish. My husband wanted more traditional fish but I took Rosa’s advice and ate something that looked more like a snake than a fish. They brought one for us to the table so that we could take the photograph. If I had seen only the dish which was served, I would never have thought it was a fish at all. I have no idea what the English name for that fish is; it was not found in any of Rosa’s dictionaries. It was very tasty, but as always the portions were huge! During the time there I probably eat as much as in a month at home!

We visited the Royal Palace, El Prado and many other places I am not going to mention here. One day we went by car 70 km south from Madrid to Toledo, a beautiful little city. It is so filled with history, beautiful buildings and narrow streets. Toledo is on a hill and every street was up or down which made walking there very interesting. Toledo is the sister city of Jerusalem and we could see the symbols with a Cross, David’s star and the Half Moon attached to each other in many places.

We saw and experienced so much that this story would be too long if I told you every detail and that is why I have just tried to pick up the highlights.

Thank you so much Rosa and Antonio for your hospitality and your company. You will always be welcome to Finland again, but it would be also nice to meet in Portugal or Estonia or even Israel :)


Anonymous said...

I am really happy to see that you enjoyed Madrid.
I hope to meet you again very soon.

Everymatter said...

please visit India also to see the interesting beach, museums, historical cities, etc.

I can't explain all visit and enjoy

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