Our "Six Days in Pedraza" were encased by three days in Madrid and four days in Barcelona, two beautiful cities with two distinctive feelings. Madrid, I felt had a more "high end" European feel, while Barcelona was more Mediterranean with a relaxed atmosphere.
We arrived in Madrid at about 3:00 pm and our prearranged airport pick up delivered us to our Airbnb flat in a timely fashion. The apartment was typically European, very comfortable with two bedrooms (one with twin beds), two full bathrooms, kitchen and cosy sitting area as well as a balcony. Our neighborhood included restaurants, bakery/coffee shops and a grocery store literally three doors away where not only food but wine and beer could be purchased.
After a three minute walk we could hop on the metro and explore other parts of the city. The San Miguel Market, an old facility made into a modern, high end show piece for delicious Spanish delicacies was one of our first stops. After a lunch of wine and olives we strolled around old Madrid and later took in Picasso's Guernica, at the Reina Sophia Art Gallery, something I was thrilled to see! One day during our travels we happened upon a wedding where the guests were gathered outside an ancient church dressed in the finest European fashion and wearing hats that would put the Royal family to shame. Madrid definitely gave a sense of old world sophistication.
After our six day "talkathon" in Pedraza we were ready for another adventure but also a little down time. Barcelona fit the bill with its slightly warmer weather and easy going feel. When we arrived at the address of the second flat the we booked, we were standing on the sidewalk waiting for someone to meet us with the keys when we noticed an old woman in a white house coat and slippers a few meters away waving at us. Francine, the apartment owner's aunt was a jolly, chatty lady who seemed delighted to see us and showed us to the apartment.
During the next four days we enjoyed exploring the sunny streets of Barcelona. We saw Antoio Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, watched a multicultural parade, browsed through an open air market and enjoyed a beer near the beach. One day we stumbled across a free exhibit by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and even got a free poster! But even better .... we discovered a used clothing store just a few blocks from our flat. (The Madrid wedding goers might have been horrified, but us Canuks love a bargain!)
On our last evening we had dinner outdoors with a fine bottle of wine and a propane heater to keep us toasty!
Our Spain Adventure
by Linda Stafford
(Below is a video created by Linda,one of my travel mates, but for some reason it does not show up when viewed on my tablet so it may only be visible to those using a laptop??)