Madrid, January 2014 ... and Prague, Christmas 2013 (click here to see Prague photos).

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Plaza Mayor, Madrid, decorated for Christmas ... Spaniards have their Christmas today, "Los Reyes", January 6.  Click for an even larger image.
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Jenny in front of el Cortes, the Spanish parliament ...
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... on our way back to our apartment from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
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The center of Madrid, center of Spain ... Plaza del Sol.  Sunny weather. Click for an even larger image.
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Just off Plaz del Sol, Jenny found Armenia.  Hello, Sona!
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One block from Plaza del Sol, and around the corner from our apartment.
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Royal Palace, Madrid.  As you can see, it was sunny again.  By now, Jenny left for her home in Texas. Click for an even larger image.
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We had a private tour for two of Botin, the world's oldest restaurant, open continuously since 1725 (Guinness Book of Records). The tour starts an hour before the restaurant opens for dinner at 8.  Here we are in the oven room, with roasted 10 weeks-old piglets (lechones) ready to be consumed that evening. Click for an even larger image.
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Botin dinner waiting to be served later. Click for a larger image.
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In the basement below Botin. Click for a larger image.
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Hemingway's table at Botin.  He was in Spain three times and visited Botin.  Liked his corner table, from which he could see the rest of the room ...
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... we have followed the man, here we are with Hemingway in Havana in June 2013.  Click on the photo to visit those images.  
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The next morning, we took the train to Toledo.
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Toledo was the capital of Spain for some 500 years and the Moors, Christians and Jews lived together in peace.  Obviously, the Arab rulers built a Moorish railway station.  Click for any photo to see a larger image.
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This was one of the mosques in Toledo.  We also visited one of the 12th century synagogues. Click for an even larger image.
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The Cathedral is supposed to be Spain's second largest, after Seville ...
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... it was completed in 1493, after 250 years of construction.
 
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Then we rented a car and drove to Franco's crazy monument and his mausoleum, the Valle de los Caidos in the Guadarrama mountains.
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The 150 metre high cross sits on a 150 metre stone cliff, making it about the same as the Eiffel Tower.  It was built 1940-59 by prisoners from Spain's Civil War. Click for any photo to see a larger image.
   
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Inside the montain is a 260 metre long basilica and Franco's grave.  Weird. Click for an even larger image.
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We had lunch in an open-air restaurant at El Escorial ... the palace is behind us.  Remember, this was a January open-air lunch!
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El Escorial is huge. January 2014.  Bye-bye Spain, hasta la próxima ...
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Our last night in Madrid, chocolate and churros at the Chocolateria San Giles, open 22 hours a day, since 1894.  Large lines of people wait to be served.  Bye-bye Spain, hasta la próxima ...
To see photos of Prague over Christmas 2013 and the New Year 2014 on the same trip, please click here.

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