Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Year, Old Friends, Toledo

     This year started off right in Sol, the Times Square of Spain. Spaniards have a tradition of eating twelve grapes for good luck at the stroke of midnight. So I took part, though chewing twelve (unfortunately seed-filled) grapes at once was not the most pleasant thing to do.
     Alex (friend since third grade) and Derek (friend from college) flew in from their respective residences (Italy and Germany) to join me for five days in Madrid. Katie arrived the morning of the first, so we all were able to enjoy the beginning of the year here. The week was filled with good food, good art, and good sites. We ate at all of my favorite restaurants (Spanish, Chinese, Mexican, Italian) and I was able to cook a pretty good Spanish tortilla.
     One night we bought last minute tickets to see the Mark Morris Dance Group dance to Mozart pieces at the Teatro Royal. It was one of the only times I've been to a dance performance, and we all really enjoyed it. We had nose-bleed seats but that gave us a bird's eye view of the elaborate choreography.
     Then, we took a day trip to Toledo, the former capital of Spain (until 1561), situated less than an hour south of Madrid. In the past it was famous as a melting pot of cultures, with Christians, Jews, and Muslims living side by side in peace. There are still a couple of old synagogues standing, and we saw one of them.

(Synagogue in Toledo)

     We saw many things there, including an El Greco museum (famous Greek painter who moved to Toledo in the late 1500s) and the famous cathedral, and it was generally pleasing to walk through the narrow streets. We also sampled marzipan (almond-based sweet), which is famously made in Toledo, and is very tasty. 

(Can you see Katie?)

     We all had a great time, and the best part might have been the feeling of being in a new country with
old friends. It's pretty crazy to think that last summer we were all still in Nashville. So, what's next? A trip to Italy at the end of March to see Alex, of course. 


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