Today marks our halfway point through Europe and the end of our time with our extended family members. It has been amazing to share some of our journey with another family. Thank you to Briand and Kenda for making the connection possible. If Brody’s current mood of melancholy is any indication – he really enjoyed having the companionship of his cousin.
We took advantage of having extra people to branch off today. Brent and I visited the Juaquin Sorolla museum while Brian and Kenda took the children shopping. There were last minute souvenirs to be purchased and of course the extra space in Kenda’s suitcase was just waiting for our gilrs to fill it with authentic Spain bought goods. Boots, dress, shirt – all will be worn proudly when we are back home this summer.
The Sorolla museum was recommended by our new Spain friend, Juan. It was an excellent choice to see this Madrid artist’s work as well as his home. Since we didn’t have any restless children with us we splurged for the audio guide. Our day ended gorging ourselves on Tapas at a place recommended by Purdue friend Brett. Not sure how their business model works but price vs volume of food seemed highly in our favor.
This week we had meeting points in various plazas and squares. They are prime people watching areas. After 50 days in Europe we have made observations about the vendors found on these plazas. Africans sell knock-off purses, sunglasses and iphone covers spread out on white cloth along walkways. Indians sell lasers, odd toys and use a mouth piece to make weird noises and attract attention. Roma women wear mismatched head scarves, shawls and long skirts – they walk around a shake cups at you. The exception to the Roma is in Florence they lie in the gutters across the sidewalk. This is probably pretty effective, if you trip over them you feel so bad you give them money.
Madrid had something new – plushies! People were dressed in Disney type costumes. This was in addition to the silver painted folks who pretend to be statues or the cleverly balanced folks on poles who appear to be levitating. The kids have been schooled to not make eye contact and under no circumstances are they to take pictures. The memories are enough. This is the list of characters spied on Plaza de Sol:
- Mickey Mouse – wearing a US – Stars & Stripes – 4th of July theme
- Minnie Mouse
- Winnie the Pooh
- Sponge Bob & Patrick
- Homer & Bart Simpson (x2)
- Papa Smurf, midget Papa Smurf & midget Smurfette
- Chuckie, the serial killer doll
- Edward Scissorhands
- And a Spanish Matador