Madrid and The Mighty East


Mylece and Madrid

The only reason we decided to swing through Madrid was to visit a good ole pal from  my Eugene, Oregon, days. Mylece. She is just so lovely. I remember she lived in our ‘utility’ room for a bit after a brief sublet situation from another roomie in the house. We had some swell times. One night in particular I hold dear to my heart. It snowed; a rarity for Eugene. We drank wine with Thomas and Azul and decided to hike/bike up the hill with the one shittty sled we had from Nico. I taught some folks how to sled on that hill. I still watch the 3 minute video from this magical night and smile big smiles. Here we were back on that day.IMG_0243We also shared the best New Years EVER!!!, up at Toketee/Umpqua Hot Springs with these lovely friends of mine. That was craaaaayzeee special. Camping in the snow, building a rager of a fire, somehow managing to climb the ice to the hot springs in the dark, singing in the New Year with candles and the best company. IMG_0244So, that’s Mylece in a very brief nutshell. Here we are now in Madrid at this dazzling, impressive structure. IMG_0165


It was my first time experiencing Goya. We stumbled gracefully through three gigantic floors of his works. We started with his paintings of famous royalty, average street scenes, and some darkish haunting pieces. Next was the dark stuff. Like reeeeeaaaallllly dark. Between going completely deaf and watching the brutal occupation of Napolean, his works were horrifically expressive. We left the upbeat pieces for the end. Some cartoonish, happy characters frolicking through old villages, singing, drinking, hunting, all the happy things. All of these works were made for a King or Prince, naturally. That was all we could see in the two and a half hours we wandered through that awe-inspiring place. Oh! But, we did see this too which was absolutely incredible to see live in the flesh. IMG_0247Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. I guess it’s lived at the Prado since 1939. I’d say that is quite neat.

We also went here for art.IMG_0162Reina Sofia which currently houses Picasso’s El camino a Guernica. Also pretty neat. Stared intently at Dali of course. We are going to his house in a couple weeks. I’m going to freak out.

We also witnessed a freak storm that ripped through Madrid one of the many ungodly scorcher of days there. It was hot. Like over 100 degrees hot. The kind of hot I detest because it weakens my bright spirit and replaces brightness with miserableness. We got some excellent night pics though. IMG_0168Ominous and sinister but we embraced it.

The horizontal flash through this panoramic is lightening. IMG_0169

And for real! How creepy does this look?!?IMG_0166Plaza de Oriente is this monumental place where behind this horse and Felipe IV is the Palacio Real de Madrid.IMG_0173The best way to view these things for me is truly at night. It’s worth it to wait until the darkness comes. We also saw the Temple of Debod. Given the feel and energy of the night, this place felt captivating. IMG_0171Of course we stopped here to because Mike has now become Miguel on this trip so naturally this is his market…IMG_0175

David and The Pyrenees

David (pronounced Da-Veeeeed), met Mike back in the NoCal days. This visit to his home in Zaragoza marks the first time they have seen each other in 3 years. David graciously picked us up from the bus station with his 1.5 year old lil pumpkin of a baby named Gaia. Poor Gaia had a case of the infamous pink eye, and was teething, and had goop coming from every orifice on her body. Despite the constant shrills and the yet again, 100 degree heat, he greeted us with big warm hugs and kisses and smiles. After spending 4 days getting a glimpse of his world, my perspective regarding my life changed. I like my simple world; a lot.

Here is Mike and David reunited.IMG_3050

He was set on showing us some adventure. Initially, we were to rock climb or swim through a canyon, or skydive. But, thankfully Gaia was still sicky and we had to load up the van with the 2 kiddos, so a 12 mile hike in the Pyrenees would suffice. Aguero was our first stop. Here is Mike’s watercolor IMG_0154It’s a little village in what David calls ‘The Pre-Pyrenees’. Lots of geologists and rock climbers come study these big ole things. IMG_0186Here we met Carlos and Jessica and their 2 littles at the bar/restaurant they manage at the base of those rocks. They served us olives from the property, local cervesas, and cooked us a wicked burger. Delightful people to encounter on our journey. We also were escorted to this lil’ swimming hole where all the boys made sure the kids were having a fun time.IMG_0189Beautiful places indeed! We then drove another hour or so to Canfranc where David’s sister lives. Mike and I were in for a night of car camping in front of this sweet spot.IMG_0191Espana east is filled with the quaintest, cutest villages. We were blessed to stay in one. The stars were amazing that night. We were greeted by David’s parents who had a spread of goodies to eat on the table. His father shared a secret meeting spot in the neighborhood where he shared some Rioja garnache with me. Again, the wines have been solid. So grateful!

Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido

Saving the best for last. Wow. The beauty we saw during this 12 mile hike was mind blowing. The kind of experience I crave. Yay Nature! I’ll try not to overwhelm you with the bazillion photographs I took here. So, gaze upon some of the best.IMG_0225


Just magic everywhere

Thank you David, Gaia, and Ismael for being strong, brave troopers as we journeyed through this pristine land together.IMG_0194

Lastly, I leave you with a good pic that reminds me of my dear friend, Vern. This is his company! He is who inspires me the most in this life when it comes to travel. I feel like I am living this big life adventure everyday. Thanks for the hat Vern. IMG_0234


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