Tag Archive: Madrid



Well …… it’s a 7 hour layover and we’re enjoying the food, drinks and huge shower room (my favorite corner here) of Al Dhabi Lounge in Abu Dhabi while waiting for our connecting flight to Manila. Still, it’s a seriously long wait and what better thing to do? BLOG ! Yes, before those memories fade. 


Palacio Cristal in Parque de Retiro


Travels have a way of emptying one’s mind of day-to-day concerns. Perhaps to make room for our fond memories. There is that giddy anticipation over new places, flavors and experiences. I delight in the novelty, discovery as well as in the rediscovery of past delights. Cameras make great memory-keepers but our minds play out varied reactions  with each discovery and replay of happy thoughts. Priceless. When I was growing up “alone” (busy parents, older sisters in college), I learned to read a lot and write down my thoughts. I completed many diaries and even named them. Dear Betty. Dear Jane. Dear Henry. Dear Kevin. Whenever I feel seriously sad, I write. Whenever I feel happy, I write more. Life is a celebration. And it’s worth writing about. If only to remind me of the many things to be grateful for.  No handwritten diaries this time. Thank God for blogsites where I can store my journals in cyberspace while drinking my cortado!


Mi favorito, Cafe Cortado!




Mi hermana. Mi sobrina. Mi nieto. Mi amigos y amigas. All together in dear Madrid, which is home for 6 years to my dear sobrina. I have visited yearly for at least a month to nearly 3 months. Left alone in our Madrid crib in times past, I’ve learned to appreciate Madrid’s many quaint alleys, tiny squares, specialty museums, roadside taperias, and many off-the-beaten paths. No tocar (don’t touch) rule in mercados doesn’t apply in my favorite fruit and vegetable stall. There, this “suki” can enjoy touching the zucchini, potatoes, carrots, spinach, asparagus, naranja, mushrooms, etc. The vendor simply hands me a bowl or basket to fill with my chosen greens and fruits. And the cheese store where I get to taste slices of different quezos — “para probar” (to try). Or ask the fish vendor to clean the fish I buy. Mercado visits are no obligations here, they’re actually delightful adventures. And walking without maps, missing turns and getting lost? There’s always a cafe bar or Iglesia to relax in, meditate, or simply sit out and while away the time. If you chance upon a wedding in the church, it’s your good luck. Cheap thrills! 


Parroquia de San Jeronimo. Behind Museo Del Prado.


And so our Spanish Holiday with sidetrips to Lourdes and Saint John Pied de Port in France is over. Temps rise as our plane lands in Manila. Our hair still a tad limp and wet from the shower we took in the lounge. Our bellies still full from the buffet spread. Our hearts warm with the precious bonding moments. Our minds filled with happy memories. Our leg muscles reminding us we’re no longer spring chickens. And our pockets dry and burned out. Tee Hee. 😉 It would likely take a week to recover our energy to prep for another flight Down Under. From the last dregs of winter to early spring to the intense summer heat of Manila before we catch the onset of Autumn in Sydney. Phew! 


Nap Time En Parque Retiro 😴

Adios, España. Hasta luego.


I’m nearing the end of my holiday. Just one more week. Had my sister and grandnephew with me with some friends visiting. I’ve posted blogs on my other sites to chronicle what kept us busy. Here goes. 





Madrid

Madrid is home. Have shown friends around and some a 2nd time. Always a pleasure. Each time, I can’t help pointing out some of our local heroes’ favorite haunts. Patriotic and curious? Maybe. 

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2017/03/13/lento-como-los-caracoles/

(Updated)

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2015/04/30/platea-madrid/ 





Pamplona

Friends know me well enough as a big fan of Rizal, Luna and …. Hemingway. Don’t ask me why. I just find something seriously intriguing about each of them. 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/the-sun-also-rises-in-pamplona/

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/murallas-de-pamplona/

http://jollybelly.weebly.com/blog/restaurant-irunazarra






San Sebastián

You can’t leave San Sebastián without swearing you’d be back again. The coast, the mountains, the shore, the food!!!

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/beyond-gildas-pintxos-en-donostia-san-sebastian/

http://jollybelly.weebly.com/blog/segunda-vez-en-bar-zeruko

http://jollybelly.weebly.com/blog/la-vina-cheesecake-is

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2017/04/12/san-sebastian-lures-me-back/

http://jollybelly.weebly.com/blog/a-room-in-the-city-san-sebastian




Alcala de Henares

When touring Madrid, there’s that nagging idea of hopping on a train to be away from the city center yet still find the art, culture and character of Iberia. Here’s one just under an hour by local train. Only €6.80 yda y vuelta. 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/goofing-with-cervantes/




SLOW. Like Snails. 

Why not? It’s my 6th visit to Madrid and this time taking my oldest sister for a month-long holiday. The first day was hard for her, hardly sleeping on our long flight from Manila. We managed to go out on Day 2 but careful not to tire her out. The bus in front of our Madrid crib took us to Almudena Cathedral, right beside Palacio Real. The mandatory shots in front of the Royal Palace turned out alright. There was a long snaking line outside for those seeking admission into the Palace. We trooped to the nearby Cathedral instead where a mass was going on. Coming out, we turned right down the street to get inside La Crypta. For a €1 donativo, one finds solace in this Crypt underneath the Cathedral. An altar inside tells you that mass services must be held here too though I never heard one since I started frequenting the place. Why, you ask? I like how tranquil the place is. More so than in the Cathedral where the religious and the tourists comprise the crowd. One time, I sat beside a friendly priest visiting from Zimbabwe. We prayed quietly then. 




From La Crypta, we crossed the street to view portions of the ancient muralla (walls) before walking up along Calle Mayor. It’s a 1 kilometer walk from this corner to Puerta Del Sol. Many iconic landmarks and short detours along this main road. First off is my favorite tiny square called Plaza de la Villa. The old Town Hall can be found here. The oldest building, fully restored, in Madrid. Across it is the Tower where the French monarch Francois I was imprisoned for a year following their defeat in the Battle of Pavia. In the center of the square is a statue of a naval commander who led the Spanish Armada. Truly, a very interesting square.




Not very far, and still walking along Calle Mayor, you’d find Mercado de San Miguel. You can pick up a Sangria or a Tinto de Verano here, to go with a cone of fried calamares or octopus or boquerones. Great appetizers! The giant paelleras of greatlooking Paella Negra or Marinara may appeal to firsttimers like my sister. But I won’t be fooled a 2nd time 😜. From here, we walked just a few more steps, under one of 9 or so arched entrance ways, towards Plaza Mayor. Being a Saturday, it was way too crowded. 




Museo de Jamon. It’s a chain. Their tapas bar on the littered ground floor is packed with tourists. On the second floor, we found a table and this old waiter who fondly calls my niece La Niña. We took our seats, and ordered enough for our lunch here, and leftover dinner later! No problem having a meal replay of callos, pecaditos and boquerones. We didn’t bring home the pulpo, and we drank our sangria to the last drop. It won’t be our best meal and we’re really being touristy here, but hey, it’s my sister’s first time in Madrid. 




For dessert, we walked FASTER towards Chocolateria de San Gines. Churros con Chocolate for my sister and niece. Cafe for me. Refueled, we managed to do some shopping. Then some snapshots with the Bear and the Strawberry Tree statue, an iconic landmark to be found in the Puerta Del Sol. Before taking the metro here going home, I wanted to get inside La Mallorquina for some napoleones and marron glacé but the place looked like it’s been invaded by tourists! 




Home is in Bravo Murillo. We heard anticipated mass in the Parroquia right next to our building. Estamos Felices! 



Food Coma In Spain


We landed in Sevilla for the first leg of our binge-ing here in Spain. No first-time visitors among us, and so the agenda centered on food. Right on the day of arrival, we hit 3 tapa bars in our neighborhood of Barrio Santa Cruz. What a fitting start before calling it a night. Next few days we continued with our “feast” and also found time to arrange a day trip to Ronda before moving to Madrid. This is our story of gluttony. 

 

SEVILLA

Bar-hopping In Sevilla

Doña Elvira In Barrio Santa Cruz

La Brunilda

 

RONDA

Ronda’s Puente Nuevo

 

MADRID

La Pulperia de Victoria

A Birthday Lunch In Casa Botin

StreetXO

Casa Alberto

Mercado de San Anton

Solo: La Gabinoteca

Solo: Lhardy 

Solo: Bar Jurucha

Solo: The Little Big Cafe

Missing (In) Madrid

 


Do subscribe to my other blogsite “retirement suits me” for my latest blogs on our reunion and other adventures around Spain, Lourdes in France and Portugal. (https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com)

MADRID

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/homebased-in-madrid/

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/death-in-the-afternoon/

BURGOS

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/el-cids-burgos

SAN SEBASTIAN

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/eating-around-san-sebastian-spain/

BILBAO 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/the-euskotren-to-bilbao/

GETARIA 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/balenciaga-de-getaria-viva-vasco/

LOURDES 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/be-still-back-in-lourdes-france/

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/menos-emocional-en-santiago-de-compostela/

FINISTERRE & MUXIA 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/game-over-in-finisterre-y-muxia/

FATIMA 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/one-morning-in-fatima/

SINTRA 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/sintra-a-royal-favorite/

LISBON 

https://retirementsuitsme.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/san-antonio-festival-in-lisbon/

Our VIDEO: http://youtu.be/lfv7iBfh0f4

PLATEA MADRID


I am very, very sold on Mercado San Miguel off Plaza Mayor and Mercado San Anton in the Chueca District just off Gran Via. But this! A gourmet market in a converted theater — how original is that? 


  

  


I made a mental note of going back on an empty stomach and with company. Surely, there’s a variety of gastronomic delights and it’s more fun to enjoy rioja or tinto verano or cerveza or sidra with friends.  The delicatessen available on the ground floor or center stage offers many choices. I can just imagine myself enjoying tapas y vinos while a band is playing onstage. 


   

  


For senior diners, there’s a 2 Michelin star Chef running Arriba Restaurante on the 2nd floor where tables are set up with a full view of the center stage. Likewise overlooking the theater stage is El Paco on the 2nd Floor. Now this El Paco should suit serious drinkers! 


  

   

Platea Madrid is truly a gourmet experience. I can imagine crowded weekend nights here. It must go crazy! Drinks, tapas, international dishes to suit every whim! I hear there are other Michelin star restaurants in this food hall too other than Arriba. But who cares about ranking? I just love the vibe here! 


    


   


This gourmet food hall housed in a former theater is along Calle Goya 5-7, near the Plaza de Colon. You can’t miss it.  You bet I’m headed back!  


  

  

And so I’m back. And loving it! Buen Provecho 💕





Out A Third Of The Year 2013


In 2013, I spent nearly 2 months in Sydney and even slightly longer in Madrid. A good third of 2013. And that excludes those weeklong trips to Mongolia, Phuket and 2 trips to South Korea. I blogged like crazy ….. Just like when I stayed nearly 3 months homebased in Madrid back in 2012. Whenever I get back to Manila, I always long to do a trip to some exotic place. Preferably those sites below the tourist radar. There is a long list. So much to cover and discover in our own backyard. And as always, the local trips draw more hits!

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Trek to Mount Pinatubo.

 

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Batanes

 

 

I struck off Batanes, Sagada, El Nido, MassKara Festival, Transfiguration Monastery in Bukidnon, Divine Mercy Shrine in Misamis Oriental and a trek to Mount Pinatubo off my bucket list which continues to grow longer. That list has its own life! I made a few “insignificant”, impromptu daytrips just outside Manila to entertain friends. And I’m surprised such trips drew much more attention and appreciation. Perhaps because many, like me, thought they were “insignificant” and were later pleasantly surprised. Maybe because they’re very doable and demands less planning and time. Or it could also be because these out-of-town trips were really good finds — a discovery that many (like me) have initially dismissed as “ordinary”.

 

 

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Half-Buried In Lahar. Bacolor, Pampanga.

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MassKara Festival. Bacolod. 2013.

 

 

The travels abroad have acquired a certain “routine”. Sydney and Madrid meant “family time” and homebase for many day and out-of-town trips. Twice doing it in Madrid, yet the 2 experiences can’t be branded or dismissed as “the same”. Because the 2nd time was timed with the Christmas Season, I enjoyed immersing myself in Spanish traditions and culture. In both Sydney and Madrid, my day trips were to such sites below the tourist radar. No crowds. Great sites. Reasonable prices.

 

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Winter in Australia.

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Autumn in Korea

 

 

My Seasons also got me confused, swinging from summer in the beaches of El Nido and Phuket to Philippine winter version in Batanes, to “end of winter-early spring” in Mongolia to “mild winter” in Sydney back to sweltering summer heat in Bacolod’s MassKara Festival to autumn in Korea down to honest-to-goodness winter in Madrid. You can say I’m done with winter last 2013.

 

 

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

Christmas In Madrid

Christmas In Madrid

 

 

From Traveller to Storyteller. That’s moí. In groups, out with friends, home with family or ALONE. I do enjoy my travels. I realize some of my friends do wonder why I continue to wander. I wanted to say I have not lost my capacity for joy and discoveries. I wanted to share that I continue to believe and trust and enjoy life’s simple joys, appreciating the kindness of strangers, and discovering how “little” I know of the world around me. Good health, joy in solitude paired with the unceasing thrill of meeting “angels” in my solo travels, these are God’s gifts. I appreciate them, and my gratitude expresses itself in the joy I feel. I remember meeting a Brazilian couple in the lovely town of Chinchon. They said nothing happens by accident. We got on the same bus because we were meant to spend the afternoon enjoying the medieval town and the village folks. I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

Three Kings Parade. Madrid. 2014.

Three Kings Parade. Madrid. 2014.

Football Game at Estadio Bernabeu.

Football Game at Estadio Bernabeu.

 

 

The year 2013 was marked by many firsts. Too many to list here without running the risk of boring you. It is also the same year I turned 60 so maybe, that calls for a separate blog. Like 60 “firsts” as I turned 60. How about it?


Having fallen ill on my last week in Madrid, I opted out of trips outside the capital and skipped on long walks. Truth is I lost much time just staying in, homebound with coughing fits. Must be the cold spell.

 

 

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One of Lazaro’s favorites, it is among the first art pieces you’d encounter. No attribution. Bought in Paris from the Marquis de Salamanca’s Collection.

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That’s Señor Lazaro right in the middle. Financier, Journalist, Publisher, Art Collector.

 

 

By the time I’m well enough to step out, I was reminded not to overdo it. So how about this less-visited museum. No crowds. Below the tourist radar, but highly-recommended for its art treasure and exquisitely-arranged collection.

 

 

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San Diego de Alcalá. By Franccisco de Zurbarán. 1651-1653.

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Look up!

 

 

Not too far from the U.S. Embassy in the fashionable district of Salamanca is Palacio Parque Florido. That’s how the estate is called. The museo housed in the Galdiano Mansion is actually where the childless Lazaro Galdiano lived with his Argentinian wife, Paula Florido. Along with the estate given over to the Government is Señor Galdiano’s impressive collection of paintings, sculpture and other works of art. This one generous intellectual obviously collected without regard for cost. The rich and famous…. and brilliant and classy, may I add. Oh yes, not all those with fame and wealth have intellect and errrr, class. This Galdiano couple did.

 

 

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The Young Marchioness of Roncali. Madrid. 1838. So young. So elegant.

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Another reason to look up!

 

 

The couple collected as a matter of personal taste rather than societal dictates. Both Lazaro and his Argentinian wife acquired art pieces like they were perennially on a shopping spree. Moving from Madrid to Paris to New York must have fuelled, stepped up their acquisition mode that every room in this neo-Renaissance 3-storey (or was it 4?) mansion was tastefully done and adorned with art. Even read that some art critics of that time dismissed their collection as “barbaric”, whatever that means. I like that they collected even those art pieces without any attribution. Or that the pieces done by less popular artists didn’t have to compete for more prominent space on the walls, and yes, ceilings, of the lovely mansion. Going from room to room, hall to hall, floor to floor is an adventure. The next step, always a pleasant surprise. The frescoes on the ceilings are magnificent. The Goyas on exhibit pale in size and popularity compared to those in the Prado, but still manage to delight. The portraits present a study in contrast….. from the aristocratic ladies sitting for their portraits to the more relaxed but nevertheless elegant poses of young sitters.

 

 

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Christ at the Column. Michelangelo Naccherino. 1550-1622. Italian School. Marble.

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Young Christ, a late 15th century “Leonardesque” painting traditionally attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Oil on Beech Tree Panel.

 

 

A painting of an adolescent Christ intrigued me. It is my first time to see an image of a younger Jesus. Same with the more detailed and morbid painting of the head of San Juan Bautista. Was it really Leonardo da Vinci who painted the young Christ? Or was the painting done by one of Leonardo’s student protegés or apprentices? Just like the controversial “other Mona Lisa” in Museo del Prado, Da Vinci continues to stir controversy centuries later. As for Saint John’s head, this painting was originally listed in the 1570 Medici inventory. Such anatomical details! 

 

 

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Head of Saint John the Baptist. Another “lost original” by Leonardo da Vinci?

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Christ Child With Cross of the Passion. No attribution.

 

 

Sometimes, a museum visit gets “personal”. I felt that way when I visited Museo Sorolla. Same here. And there’s even less crowd yet more collections! Could the more “intimate experience” be attributed to the fact that the Museo was a former lived-in residence? That its collection was personally handpicked by its owner-collectors, and in the case of the lovely jewelry collection, even worn and lovingly cared for? Good vibes in this museo, for sure.

 

 

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Goya’s El Verano (Summer). 1786.

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Entombment of Christ by Goya. 1771-72

 

 

The Museum closes early, and is closed every Tuesday. If you’re doing the rounds of Madrid’s museums, you’d be happy to visit this on a Monday when most other museums are closed. It is easy to spot along the posh Calle Serrano farther away from the shops near the corner of Calle José Abascal. Lastly, don’t forget to ride the glass and wood elevator. I did. Alone. Seated like a queen on the velvet bench inside the tiny enclosure. 🙂

 

 

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Wood and Glass Elevator in Museo Lazaro Galdiano.

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Museo Lazaro Galdiano. Madrid.


Many Spaniards celebrate the Feast of the Three Wise Men — alright, 3 Kings, if you like — more than they do Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the Twelfth Night of Christmas! The Eve of the Epiphany. No Papa Noel in dear España. No Santa Claus entering homes through their chimneys. Rather, the Three Kings from the Orient are the bearer of gifts. And Spanish niños y niñas wait until January 6 for their aguinaldos. Even decors show the 3 kings climbing up Spanish balconies bringing presents. Sí, you can say the Spanish traditions take off from the Bible more literally and meaningfully than Western practices. Christmas is all about the Belén where the star is the Infant Jesus. New Year’s is all about the countdown and the eve’s dinner is called Noche Vieja (literally, old night) and it’s considered good luck to eat “doce uvas” or 12 grapes as one welcomes the New Year. And Christmas Season ends with the Feast of the Three Kings.

 

 

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Meet Melchor.

Meet Caspar. Or

Meet Caspar. Or Gaspar.

 

 

Melchor, Caspar (or Gaspar) and Balthasar (or Baltazar). They’re the stars in this street parade in many major cities and towns all over España. I was fortunate to be in Madrid for the entire Christmas Season 2013-2014, and didn’t miss any of the festivities. But I agree with many Madrileños. The most festive and extravagant is the Cabalgata De Los Reyes Magos. There are many floats, marching bands, majorettes, horsemen, acrobats, cartoon characters, fireeaters, fairies, clowns, but you have to bring tons of patience waiting till the street parade reaches your spot.

 

 

Meet Balthasar. The last of 3 floats bearing the magi.

Meet Balthasar. The last of 3 floats bearing the magi.

 

 

The Cabalgata parade weaved its way from Nuevos Ministerios through Plaza Colon area, towards Plaza de Cibeles where we waited and claimed a spot when there was still light on this winter day. We waited through an early sunset,  hardly sensed twilight because of our excitement, joined a crowd of many locals who came ready with food baskets, toys to amuse their toddlers and young children through as long as 4 hours of waiting, blankets (yes!) and even ladders (si!). We prayed for good weather since it rained for 2 days prior, and we got it the whole day till mid-parade when it started to drizzle. But Madrileños came prepared. Raincoats out, umbrellas up. No one is losing his temper here. The anticipation is only matched by the fierce cold weather. I wrapped myself good, but still too cold for my shaking bones and freezing fingers.

 

 

This kid played, ate, and waited. Then she slept midway through the parade.

This kid played, ate, and waited. Then she slept midway through the parade.

The rains won't stop this street parade!

The rains won’t stop this street parade!

 

 

So much revelry. The fairies, the clowns threw away candies or dulcés to the crowd. Some costumed marchers broke away from the parade to say “Hola” to the delight of the kids and not so young. An acrobat gowned in white was tied to a bunch of balloons (and roped down to a bunch of “controlling men”) doing her stunts up in the air, sometimes just right over our heads until she soars high again, against the lovely backdrop of the Palacio de Cibeles.

 

 

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The “up” lady in white.

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Let the “up” lady soar high!

 

 

There were many floats outside of the carrozas ridden by the three kings. Obviously designed to grab young spectators’ interest, I also noticed how some floats incorporated environmental concerns for everyone’s wise consumption. Watching these carrozas pass us by, it is hard to think the Spanish economy is having a crisis. But it is certainly money well-spent. The sponsors who funded the floats certainly enjoyed media mileage, having been watched and appreciated by both young and old in the crowd. Locals, as well as visitors like me.

 

 

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Environmental Management. Go GREEN.

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Biggest babe tonight!

 

 

And lest I forget, those marching bands making beautiful, bouncy music while swinging and dancing with their instruments were really fun to watch. Same with the pageantry of seeing horsemen…. an entire cavalry joining the parade. The horses, and sí, those horsemen all looked good. You’ve got to hand it to the organizers for making this event so orderly, so organized, and most of all, SAFE. I heard about the tragedy that struck one Cabalgata in Malaga (where a kid ran to pick up some dulcés and was ran over by one of the floats) but the organizers certainly had these concerns in mind. The Policia, the Bomberos, even the street cleaners who manned the tail end of the street parade sweeping their way through were equally crowd drawers.

 

 

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Thank you, Madrid, for this experience of watching this festivity and putting more meaning to this Feast of The Three Kings! He disfrutado mucho! Gracias, Madrid. 

 

 

 

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That’s how the article was headlined. Packing the Estadio Bernabéu for the Champions for Life Charity Match to raise funds for UNICEF’s Program to help children affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The charity match played between the big football stars of Spain from the Western and Eastern Regions was scheduled last December 30, 2013 and raised 550,000 Euros! That’s about P30 Million.

 

 

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The 80,000 seater Estadio Bernabéu in Madrid.

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The December 30, 2013 Charity Match raised 550,000€ or about 30 million pesos.

 

 

I don’t know anything from Adam when it comes to football. Talks of Sergio Ramos, Álvaro Morata, Iniesta, Quini,  Beñat, Iñigo Martinez, Gabi, Raul Garcia, Iraola, Jesus Fernandez and other football greats didn’t ring a bell for me. But here I am, watching a 7pm match in the stadium that Real Madrid Football club calls home. My only clues that the players are big stars come from this boy behind me who’d invariably call out their names and ask for a “camiseta”. I assumed that’s the equivalent of a fan asking for the player’s jersey.

 

 

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Saved! Just as UNICEF aims to save the children affected by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines. Muchas Gracias, UNICEF, España, the Football Stars.

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It was a friendly match, but players are players and everyone wants to see a good game played.

 

 

The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu can seat over 80,000 spectators. The stadium is about half full with families watching from grandpa to grandkids in strollers. Seated in front, you are about 3 meters away from the nearest security officer from a security team who have the “ill luck” of watching the crowd rather than the game. They only stand up, presumably to watch the crowd better, everytime a team scores. GOOL! those 4-letter words flash every time a player scores a goal. But not GOAL. Here in España, it’s GOOL.

 

 

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That’s Alvaro Morato wearing the white “camiseta”. He scored an impressive “bicycle” goal to the crowd’s delight.

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This is Sergio Ramos, also from the Real Madrid Team.

 

 

It was a chilly night. The man beside me had a small bottle of wine that he sucks from time to time. He also littered our common space with watermelon seeds. Pepitas, to the locals.  But despite the cold, everyone was in good spirits. For a good 5 minutes, the crowd stood to “wave” around the stadium.  Thought it would never stop! 

 

 

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Sergio Ramos counts many fans among the Spanish football aficionados.

 

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The mood was very festive. At the start of the game, they even played Christmas carols.   Though a friendly match, there were daring runs, impressive saves and goals. Quini and Morata got the loudest cheers for their memorable goals that night. What a thrill! And that’s coming from someone who watched a football game for the very first time!  

 

THANK YOU ESPAÑA! THANK YOU UNICEF!

 

 

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Not this time. It’s a GOOL!

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Three meters away, maybe even less. Hard to watch the game knowing the security officers are missing the thrilling game 😉