Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Curse of Debod, otherwise known as, our inability to order Tapas

Eric and I went out to a tapas bar last night, so I was a little delayed posting this, basically, I didn't finish it before I figured I should go to bed, so this got delayed. I thought I might be able to finish in the morning, but I mistimed the time it takes to get all packed and ready.... so this blog post will be severally delayed as at the moment the internet is AWOL. This hotel has wireless internet... just really really bad wifi. I walked all over our room and all over the lobby on the main floor. I only got it to work in two places.

The first was after walking around the lobby for several minutes not seeing any network that seemed associated to our hotel, I walked up to the desk to ask the guy. As I opened the page to show him that there were no networks... the Carlos V network popped up... making me look... a little silly. And the guy was like, Yes, this one! lol... oh right! the one named after the hotel? really? :P

So then I moved back away from the desk and all of a sudden the network wouldn't connect at all... so then I walked around trying to find it... the only place I could get it to work was standing in front of the main door. I am assuming I could get it to work at the main desk... but I figured the guy would have been annoyed at me for standing at the desk.

Anyway, rant over, wait... the WiFi in spain is severely lacking! Ok, rant over.

AHHA! I got the wifi working, my computer can pick it up if I sit in the lobby.

So... Friday the... 10th? lol, I don't actually know, the days run together here a lot. Yes, Friday the 10th. This was our last full day in Madrid until the 19th, when we will arrive back for the conference, which starts on the 21st.

The day started late, with both Eric and Allison sleeping later than me, despite the fact that they both took a siesta and that I had gone to bed before both of them. But that was ok, it meant that I had free reign over the bathroom, which I used to full effect, showering and shaving, which was good.

So eventually, my travel companions woke up... maybe around 10 or so, and slowly started getting ready. The fact that it was slow probably means that we are fully adjusted to the attitude in Spain, which is basically this:
1) Refuse to use the Western EU timezone so you have an excuse to wake up late and start things later
2) Shut everything down in the middle of the day and close everything from 2-5 PM for siesta!
3) Party late in the night!

Ok... we may not have the partying part down, as you will see in the blog post, bust adjusting to the laziest place I've been has been fairly easy.

So once we started rolling, we decided to head to the Temple of Debod, which had a siesta from 2-5. The palace, which was the other main stop of the day, did not have a siesta. This choice was pretty good, since had we gone to the palace first we probably would have missed the temple.

Our first stop, however, was breakfast. Yesterday we had stopped at a little bakery and we got some sweet breakfast things. Today Allison was craving fruit and so we headed to this little grocery that we had walked by previously (the first night). We walked around and saw a couple of interesting things:

The first was a picture of Rudy Fernandez, a current member of the Portland Trailblazers and of the Spanish National Team on a box of beer. Rudy is currently not popular in Portland as he is trying to force a trade or force the blazers to cut him. Actually, he reminds me of a lot of the charming guys in Spain, they swoop in and charm you and then scam you out of your money! Props to Allison who always hated Rudy.

The second exciting thing, was a box of Sangria for 1 Euro!!! That is so cheap! Sadly, we did not get this.

For breakfast Eric and I split a baguette, and each got a soda/fruity beverage, while Allison got some peaches and granola bars.

We ate these on our way to the palace, and Eric was able to guide us pretty well. We came out right by the palace, which was really close to the park that had the temple, and right in front of the royal garden, which had a ton of statues of the past kings, non of whom where Spanish, and some bushes. It also had one couple making out!

Here is Eric and I eating our baguettes in the Garden. Eric may or may not be trying to impersonate a French person.
We soon found ourselves in the park with the temple and after climbing some stairs and managing to resist the urge to play Wii (There was a huge wii tent setup at the foot ... end?... near the temple.), we were there!

The temple is pretty basic, but it is a pretty setting. It is shown below:

Eric and I walked over to it, so we could get a picture in one of the archs. Allison waited, snapped a few pictures and joined us by the doors.

The temple itself is pretty dark, and flash is not allowed on pictures, so only some of the pictures came made sense to take. The temple consisted of three main rooms on the first floor. The first room had some stone thing that used to make up the doorway. it was pretty cool, a lot of the stone has faded away. This is Eric and I looking at the stone, or I guess looking at the description of the stone. Eric and Allison also took some pictures of Eric saying RA!, which is the name of a board game. (Note: Eric also owns this board game, but considering that I believe Eric to own all board games, I figure this was self evident, I am however pointing this out, just in case)

The other rooms had either movies playing in them or it had words being projected onto the walls. We used the iphone to translate and sort of got what they were saying. (OT: the lobby kind of smells like cigarette smoke... that is annoying).

We then explored this little side cave that had a trashcan and a TV!!! The Egyptians really knew how to live! I am not sure what Debod was doing to get such extravagant things, but he must have been a good egyptian.

After that, we headed upstairs, where they had a giant map that showed where all the temples were and where the temple of Debod was. This is me poking the lights to make the board light up. My first thought when I saw it was that Eric would probably really like to play some board game on it. I then knocked my head on the ceiling, since it was super low and sort of chuckled to myself since it was silly. The girl smirked at me, I think it must happen to a lot of tourists. The final stop in the temple was a little model of what the temple used to look like. none of us took a picture of this, because it was boiling hot upstairs and it didn't seem important.

Once outside again, in the only slightly cooler sun, we headed to Eric's favorite view. According to Rick Steve's the view was uninspiring, which... was sad, and we argued about that, and it made me not like Rick Steve's. Now whenever something he advises is wrong, I am sort of happy. lol... but he is based in seattle, so that is cool... anyway, we took a few pictures and we did a panorama jama.

Next we headed out of the park to the Palace. On the way to the palace we walked through the Royal Gardens, which was nice. A lot of fountains and sort of mazes, only really low, and not mazes since there was a path directly to the middle. So that was a little disappointing. We took a few pictures again, one a group shot, Eric's specialty, and then sat in the shade. It was a lot warmer than the day before and either we were dehydrated (probably) or biking wore us out (probably both!)

The group shot turned out well I think. That is the side of the palace in the background. After resting in the shade we headed up the steps to the palace. And then we waited in line for a bit. There was a guy that really wanted to sell us water, despite us telling him no... actually he never talked to us, but every time he said Aqua Fria it felt like he was talking to us. We finally got in and we were able to get the student rate!!!! Yay student discount. They didn't really look at the cards, so we probably could have held up anything and gotten away with it, but still.. Yay student discount!

So we got in and after putting the walkies bag away we headed in. Our first stop was at the armory. Now I must warn you, pictures are strickly forbidden in the palace area and so all of the pictures you are about to see came to you because I risked my life and limbs to take them. It helped that I had an iPhone which didn't flash and was small. Eric and Allison thought I was ridiculous.... well... maybe I was, but the armory and some of the stuff in the palace was cool... I thought it deserved a few pictures... Enjoy!

This is a picture of a childs suit or armor. I can't figure out why a kid would need armor, since it seems like they would just outgrow it. But they probably all wanted one. Who wouldn't they are pretty awesome!

This next picture is of a knight on horseback. Both the knight and the horse are decked out in full armor and costume. They look pretty imposing.

The armory also had a bunch of cool suits of armor and some big, huge muskets as well as some stuff that the Spanish royal family had won in battle or gotten as gifts. One of them reminded me of the third ninja turtle movie. it was a samurai outfit from japan.

After the armory we headed upstairs and we got some food, and then we were quickly back to the palace. We took a few pictures in the courtyard. (actually some of these pictures came after the palace walk through, but they lump together nicely)

Eric and Allison standing in the courtyard with the cathedral in the background.

The front of the palace with a group of tourists walking off to the left:

Allison in the guardhouse:

And then we were finally in the palace. We needed to show our tickets to get in, but Allison had left hers in her purse, so we were worried, luckily they trusted us, which was good since then Eric didn't have to run back to the locker.

They were even strickter in the palace about pictures and there was basically a guard in every room. So I only got a few pictures. This is of the main stairway with Allison and Eric at the top.

The rest of the palace was pretty cool. I think the throne room was probably my favorite room. It was covered in red velvet and had four lion statues and then several greek god statues, such as mercury. It is amazing how extravagant each room was, just lots and lots of stuff.

After we got done walking through the palace we headed to the gift shop were Allison bought a lot of postcards to make up for the fact that they didn't take any pictures.... And then we were done. We headed to the shade to rest a little and see what we should do next. Allison bought a fan from a local street vendor and fanned herself a little while we decided what to do. The street vendor was pretty smooth. She noticed that Allison was wearing green and she picked out a fan that was the exact same color as her shirt.

We decided to head back to the hotel briefly and then go finish up at the Prado. So we did that. The siesta this day was pretty short, only about 20 minutes, and then we headed for the museum to finish. We sort of finished, I think Allison was a little rushed, and may not have seen everything that she wanted too.

After the museum we decided to head to someplace and to try and get tapas..... lol... it was an interesting experience. The first places that we wanted to try were full, they all had outdoor seating that seemed really nice, but there were no tables available. So we headed up the road and found a place that advertised tapas... we decided to try it out...

So supposedly if you order a drink you get tapas with it for free... however... we are not good at this. I think they know what we are trying to do, and just dont do it since we can't speak enough english....

So eric and I ordered two beers and Allison got a Daiquiri. and then we waited... we got a bowl of peanuts... Was this the start of the tapas? We heard that they started light... so maybe?

Allison decided to order food since she thought we were probably wrong.... So she got a lasagna. Eric and I got two more beers... and we got.... another bowl of peanuts... YAY!!!

On a more entertaining note there was a couple that was just constantly making out in the corner of the place. We were able to snap a picture... sort of.... I couldn't see them because of the beam, but supposedly that was actually kind of tame for them.

We were unsuccessful with our tapas try, and our waitress gave up on us and decided to take a 30-40 minute break. We passed the time playing a block puzzle game on the iPhone:

So defeated, but not broken we headed back to the hotel... we decided that Eric and I would head out and that we would try it again. So we got back to the hotel. Did a little research and came up with a few places we could go. And we headed out determined to be confident and strong...

Long story short.. it didn't work. We couldn't find the place we wanted to go and we got a little flustered. mostly me... and so we ended up going to this place with belgian beer and tapas.... lol... but not free tapas.... So we ordered a beer and then the smooth little waiter talked us into getting a pot of mussels... hahahahaha... so that was our tapas!
The bouncer/owner of the place talked to us a little. he said he was cuban and that he was our mortal enemy. Then when Eric asked "la cuenta, por favor" he sort of laughed and said our spanish was good. lol... Eric took it as a criticism... I just thought he was being nice. As a special gift he gave us a pack of gum!!!!

Allison says the gum is sketchy... but it was free... so the night wasn't a total defeat. :)

We have vowed to try again until we succeed.

We headed back to the room and went to bed, knowing that the next day would be full of travel and exploring of Toledo.

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