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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Final Post of our trip.

This is the last of the pictures of our trip and then we will return to normal blogging programming. The last night of our stay in Madrid we went to see the Bull Ring. The place where the bull fighting takes place. It was very interesting to see, they were getting ready for the Davis cup there so we were not able to see the inside but it was still amazing.

These next 7 pictures are a series of copper plates that were lining the walls. It shows what happens during the bull run and fighting. I thought they were very interesting so I took a picture of all of them.

Here is the only picture that we got of the inside. It was the only look we got into the stadium.
Here is a poster of the upcoming bull fight
A tribute to a famous bull fighter

The main entrance to the bull ring
This is the oldest one in Madrid and it was built in 1929
More pictures of the outside of the ring
and one more shot
A couple of posters of the fights
A statue tribute to a fallen bull fighter
Another side of the statue
It was very interesting to see. They said that the arena hold 20,000 people.
Well that is all from our trip to Europe. More to come from the Beck family.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More things Madrid

Okay this is one of the main buildings coming into town and of course I do not know the purpose or the official name but we saw it and here it is - impressed - me too!

This is a statue of a lady ridding in a wagon being pulled by two lions. It represents the queen riding in to save Spain. Of course there is more story to it but that is all I remember.

Now, I do remember this one. This is a statue of a bear picking berries from a tree. This one is special to Madrid, the story goes that a bear wondered into the area and found these trees that produced these special berries that are only found in this region of Spain. The bear was able to live in the area and only eat the fruit from the trees and he left everyone alone. The people decided that if the bear was able to survive off the land then it must be a good place to be so they built Madrid there.
At most of the restaurants you could order special meat of animals that were only feed these berries. It is more expensive than the rest but it is very good - but I really could not tell a big difference.

So on the last night we were there Ignacio took us out for some "local food." I thought it would be fun and at least I could say that I tried a lot of different things while we were gone. So below is a what was presented to us for dinner. Most of it was good!

This plate was different kids of pork. There was a Chorizo or sausage, a pork loin, blackened ham, and salami. Most of the meat here was smoked. They smoke the whole animal and hang them up. They are kept out in open and they cut off what is needed. The type of meat is not refrigerated. I liked all of this one - the pork loin was my favorite. Of course with all meals there was pan aka bread. The hard kind with a soft middle.

This was a plate of aged cheese. The name of the cheese I do not remember but it was good. Salty and dry but good.

Okay are you ready for this one - this is potatoes and octopus. It was a little rubbery but good. The potatoes really helped.

This is calamari - something you can also find at most dinning establishments in Madrid. Theses were the baby ones and they were also very good. We had calamari almost everyday.

Okay I saved the best for last. - just look at this doesn't it look good. Like bacon. Well it also comes from a pig - in fact it is pig ear. It was okay but not something I will ever order again. It was edible but different.
Andy was a trooper this night he tried everything!!! I was so proud.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Evening in Madrid

On the next to last day we were in Madrid we went to eat at a 5 star restaurant near the kings palace. It was a very nice place and the only one to which I forgot to take a picture of the name, so I can not tell you the exact name of this place. However I can tell you all about the food and it was wonderful. This was after a day of long meetings for the men and some looking around for me. The cost was 50 Euros per plate about 75 dollars - it was very good.

Here is a table of men talking shop and other things

If you want their attention you have to yell Salude! They pick up their glasses and look your way!

Andy and I - I know you can't tell from Andy's face but he was really not enjoying all the things on his plate!

Course 1 - Green Salad with white asparagus, salmon, and tomatoes - it had a balsamic dressing and was really good - I think Andy ate his tomatoes and one bite of the salmon so this round was a waste for him.

Course 2 - Noodles with peas and cod - this was very good as well. The noodles were a little cold but they were still good. I think if they had been warm it would have been 10 times better, but the cod was great and the peas were okay - Andy touched only half of this one as well.

Course 3 - This is a large slice of eggplant, with two slices of zucchini, with two slices of bell pepper (one green and one red), topped with pork loin. It was very good as well. Not sure what the sauce was but it was not very strong. Andy was happy to see the pork but left all the veggies on his plate. I am not a big fan of eggplant but it was okay fixed this way.

Course 4 - Chocolate muffin/cake (warm just out of the oven), vanilla bean ice cream, 1 blackberry, 1 raspberry, and some mixed berries underneath. We both liked this round.

Course 5 - Coffee and cookies - this one I skipped all together - I love the smell of coffee but I am not a drinker and the cookies looked great but I was really full. Andy enjoyed a cookie.

Coffee was served after every meal in Europe. It was a big deal over there. Coffee and tea in the morning and after lunch and after supper. In Spain they sever it strong. I don't know if you can tell from the picture or not but that cup was not touched and it is only half full and very dark. Smelled great.

This is the kings palace - it was very large - you could walk up almost to the door before the guards came out

Me in the courtyard in front of the palace - there was a fountain and the sign said - do not drink the water - in Spanish of course

The crest at the top of the palace

Side view

Another man on a horse in front of the palace

There he is again

Statues of previous kings of Spain - they were all over the courtyard.

The fountain in front of the palace

One more view

This was a fun day and an evening I will not forget soon. Thanks to all the men for putting up with my picture taking and being sports even when they did not want too!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

We're Back

Well yes we did make it back and now we are playing catch up and spending time with the boys. I still have some pictures to post and will get it done soon enough. It has been so good to see these little faces again and to play with them. Brazos has not gotten far from Andy's side - all is well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seeing the Sights in Madrid and misc

After this post I will finally be caught up with all of my postings with the exception of last night and today which I will try to get done tonight or tomorrow before we leave.
I miss my kids!! This has been great and I have had a wonderful time but I have been ready to see my kids since we left home. We have enjoyed a lot of time together and it was needed and wonderful but I miss those smiling faces, screams, whining, and waiting on them hand and foot. I will be looking forward to those little faces and hugs when I get home.
Okay, back to Madrid.
Yesterday I went on an adventure all on my own I went to go "shopping" but I did not want to adventure on the Metro on my own and not knowing how Andy's time line would work so I decided to stay close to the hotel and see what I could find. So I asked for a map from the hotel and went walking. I was out for about 4 hours - walking the whole time. I did find designer roe here in Madrid and a mall with more designer stores. I did go in Louie Vuitton, Hugo Boss, and Jimmy Choo stores. In each of those stores they had someone standing at the door watching you walk in and every move you made while in the store and watched while you left.
I felt way out of place but at the same time I just wanted to see on the inside. It was neat and I can say that I have done that. I do think that those items were more expensive in those stores than they are in America - how can that be? I did not take any pictures on my adventure as I spent most of the time looking at a map and trying to make sure I knew where I was and how to get back. When I did get back I took a little nap and felt much better.
We have been trying to eat food in each country that is special to that country. In Germany we had sausage and snitzel, in France kebob and cheese/tomato sandwich and crepes, so here in Spain paella and breakfast pastries. We also asked at each restaurant for something they considered to be good local food and in this post are some pictures of what we ended up with and ate - at least tried. Andy has been a trooper! He has had more new things in the last two weeks and had done very well, I have been so proud. So here are some pictures of our adventure.
This has been our breakfast spot here in Madrid. This place is just around the corner and a block up from our hotel.

Here is the nutrious breakfast of morning number one. Andy has started each morning with a pastry and a coke - GOOD MORNING!!!

There was a small joke among the engineers that had Andy in the middle of it all. There was an e-mail sent out the day we got to Germany saying that the men presenting at the University needed to wear a tie, Andy replied back that we were already in Europe and he did not have a tie with him. Dave from Agco replied back and said that he would be happy to supply a tie for him but he could not promise what logo would be on the tie, Dianne from JD came back and said to bring it and she would have something to cover up that mess. And e-mails went back and forth, in the end they did not have to wear a tie or coat so we were safe but in good favor Dave brought his tie to give to Andy to share. Andy was thankful and a little red. In the picture a guy from Agco, tee-jet, and JD.

Andy holding up the tie - the tie went home with Hans Jurgen from JD Europe for a festival that they have in February where they wear ties and the women cut them off?!?!
Our hotel here in Madrid - much nicer than any of the other we have stayed in so far - just different
Our room
This was a speciality here at Tio Papas - Ham and eggs is what he suggested - this is what we got - french fries, fried eggs, and bacon - it was good.
Eating dinner the first night - different but good
The resturant where we ate
A building that faced the palace where the king and queen live
Paella - this is a famos Spanish dish - notice the muscles - we did try them - not a big fan - but over all the dish was really good.
Andy taking a picture of our dinner - mind you it was 11:30 pm when we sat down to eat
Calamari - it was really good - most all places have this it is really good
Ribs - goat we think
Man on a horse - I don't know - I was with 14 men who did not want to stop and find out
Another view
Famous buliding here in Madrid. At night the lights change colors about every 15 minutes
Calderon De La Barga
Another famous building
Note to everyone - of you want to "see" Madrid - do not go with 14 men.