Madrid, Galicia and Asturias…

I just got home after being away for 17 days. 17 days is sort of a long time.

The first two weeks I was in Madrid for a very super-intense training course. By very super intense, I mean I left the house at 7:30 in the morning, got home at 7 every night, and had four or five more hours of work to do. Yeah. I was the oldest in the group by 11 years (I don’t even like being able to say I was 11 years older than someone, for the love…), but MOST of the other folks were 20-nothing. As in they could have been my children. But they were fun, and aside from all the work (I did pass, by the way…although the actual end result is still up in the air), I was reminded how much I love Madrid.

I love, love, love the tops of the buildings. When you go to Madrid, you just have to look up.

I love, love, love the tops of the buildings. When you go to Madrid, you just have to look up.

I love the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. It's one of my favorites, definitely my favorite in Madrid. And Degas' ballerinas...if I had all the money in the world, I'd line my living room walls with them.

I love the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. It’s one of my favorites, definitely my favorite in Madrid. And Degas’ ballerinas…if I had all the money in the world, I’d line my living room walls with them.

IMG_2262And I love Madrid for the fact that there are still museums I can discover, hiding all over the city. I played tourist over the weekend (yep, got the map out and everything) and hit the Naval Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and El Museo del Traje (not quite sure how that translates…something like costume or clothing museum?). They were all really interesting and different. I concluded I should have lived in the times of these dresses. What a fine way to hide a big caboose. Snicker.

When I finally finished my course, I flew to Santiago. C and I had made plans a while back with some friends to go to a music festival in Galicia (Boimorto to be specific), and that was the easiest way for me to get there. C met me at the airport (he had driven) and we spent the night in Santiago. Aside from having the Camino vibe (I don’t know whether it’s a Camino thing or what, but every time I see the cathedral there, I cry!) it also has a vibrant nightlife, and loads of restaurants and bars. What it also has that I had never been to is an absolutely eNORmous market. Like the Mac Daddy of all markets, the biggest I think I’ve seen in Spain, and that’s saying a lot. And the best part is that it maintains its culture – sure, there are tourists and pilgrims, but it is also swarming with little old ladies in old lady clothes, with fantastic faces full of character. I always say I want to take pictures of them but I mostly hold off – I saw one guy who blatantly took a shot of a vendor lady and she immediately barked, “COME HERE!” and asked him to pay her for it. Yikers.

My not-so-successfu attempt at non-chalant photography. But you get the gist. Nothing screams Spain like the old ladies in a market.

My not-so-successful attempt at non-chalant photography. But you get the gist. Nothing screams Spain like the old ladies in a market.

From there, we drove to Boimorto for Festival de la Luz. Luz was a famous Spanish singer, and the concert is in her birthplace…basically in the middle of farmland (like we crossed through some corn to get to our tent). This was only the second year, the first they sold 4,000 tickets and this year was double – but it still felt pretty small. The two-day lineup was basically unfamiliar to me, though some of the smaller bands seemed to have quite a following. And there was a mixture – rock, bagpipers, folk-ish, Latin – a little of everything.

This is Budiño, a very cool bagpiper group. Very folky, sort of Irishy, the kind of music you can't sit still to. Plus two guys in the group did some AWEsome folk-dancing. Gotta learn how to do that, I think it would be a real party pleaser. Snort.

This is Budiño, a very cool bagpiper group. Very folky, sort of Irishy, the kind of music you can’t sit still to. Plus two guys in the group did some AWEsome folk-dancing. Gotta learn how to do that, I think it would be a real party pleaser. Snort.

The view stepping out of our tent the first morning. Tons of people camp out, and although the first day was sort of rainy, the second was perfect.

The view stepping out of our tent the first morning. Tons of people camp out, and although the first day was sort of rainy, the second was perfect.

Nap time, for those who can sleep anywhere. Le sigh.

Nap time, for those who can sleep anywhere. Le sigh.

This is Carlos Nuñez, one of the most famous Spanish bagpipers. He explained he had been to the US and the whole group (plus a big band of local bagpipers) busted out a fine version of Cotton Eyed Joe. HiLARious. Also very fun music. This guy definitely makes drastically receding hairlines and playing a large recorder VERY COOL.

This is Carlos Nuñez, one of the most famous Spanish bagpipers. He explained he had been to the US and the whole group (plus a big band of local bagpipers) busted out a fine version of Cotton Eyed Joe. HiLARious. Also very fun music. This guy definitely makes drastically receding hairlines and playing a large recorder VERY COOL.

Fito y Fitipaldes was like the big name band that played. Everyone knew all the words to every song. Except for me.

Fito y Fitipaldes was like the big name band that played. Everyone knew all the words to every song. Except for me.

We camped out through Monday since the concerts on Sunday ran late. Monday morning our friends headed home, and we started to meander…C wanted to see some places for clients he has coming this year, so we made a few stops. We hit A Coruña, which is up along the coast, north and ever-so-slightly west of Santiago. A really nice city, they happened to have a tapas festival going on so we took advantage.

I know it looks like whipped cream, but it's not. It is lime-y foam deliciousness.

I know it looks like whipped cream, but it’s not. It is lime-y foam deliciousness. And some octopus (because you have to eat it when you are in Galicia) in the background.

Then we passed through Ferrol (less than spectacular, but perhaps on a pretty day it would have looked nicer), Mondoñedo (where I had been for a medieval festival not that long ago, but it has a cathedral, so…well, yeah, so we had to stop), and ended up staying the night in an adorable town called Cudillero, also along the coast, in Asturias. We had a spectacular meal there…problem was that it was a lil rainy and chilly and so I didn’t take pictures. Bummer.

And to wrap it up the next day, we hit Avilés, and specifically the Niemeyer Center. It’s architecturally very interesting and happened also to have an exposition of National Geographic’s 50 Best Photographs. LOVED seeing it, they had explanations of each picture and were running videos of the photographers talking about how the shot came to be. Really, really extraordinary. Made me want to get out my big camera.

One angle...

One angle…

...and in the other direction. Sort of space-center like, no? On top of that spiral thing is a restaurant.

…and in the other direction. Sort of space-center like, no? On top of that spiral thing is a restaurant.

ANYhoo. That’s my last couple weeks in a nutshell. And now, what to do with the 3 lb. zucchini I just plucked from the garden…

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One Response to Madrid, Galicia and Asturias…

  1. steviepreater says:

    Fantastic! I love the way you write your blog, very interesting.

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