Gina Ward, my wonderful ad rep at Plein Air Magazine! Thank you for all your kindest and attention.
Barbara Summers, Executive Director of the Markay Cultural Arts Center. You have made my life easy! And, you are a joy to work with.
Thursday, October 10:
After a wonderful night's sleep in our comfortable bed, we dressed and walked out into the chilly morning air in search of Martin's Holy Grail, the daily paper, with the coveted Holy Grail cryptic crossword tucked away safely inside.
We had a delicious 3-course breakfast, intelligent and fun conversations with our hosts and the other couple at the table, tucked away our things in the car and drove the few minutes to the free all day parking lot at the Tom Patterson Theatre.
Then, of course, Balzac's Coffee.
Saturday, October 12.
We're back in Stratford, Ontario. You guessed it, more plays at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. This time we see, "Mary Stuart", "Othello", and "The Merchant of Venice".
We drove here on Wednesday, the 9th. This was a day earlier than planned, so on the drive searched Trip Advisor for a B&B for just one night. I decided to read some reviews for the #1 B&B. A room was available, we called, and 'eh, voila!', we were booked into it. (Be damned, oh extra expense - just this once.)
We stayed in The Sandringham Room of the Birmingham Manor. All British sounding, isn't it, which is kind of amusing since the proprietors are Italian.
To make a long story short, we arrived just as owners and guests were going out yo the theatre. No matter, we settled into our spacious room, had a shower, and went out for dinner at the Raja Indian Restaurant.
I hadn't seen "me sainted husband" and Sherpa for 2-1/2 months. While I was gone, he'd spent a month in Chile (landing where else but Santiago), with shorter trips to Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Oklahoma and more.
We've known each other for 31 years now and were married in 1990. We decided that if we wanted to actually spent time together, I'd need to not have a 9 - 5 job to be available to go on the road with him.
It's worked well for us over the years. I gave up my singing career and allowed my art to take the stage. I can take my easel anywhere, well, except on the Camino, where it would be too heavy to carry.
So, I am on the road now again with my Sherpa. This is my beloved home state. I grew up about halfway between Baltimore and Annapolis on a deadend road, on a 300 ft. wide creek where we spent summers swimming, fishing, crabbing and imagining. Where I am now is about an hour and a half drive north of my childhood home.
Elkton sits near the top of the Chesapeake Bay and has nothing to offer, so I was told by the desk clerk. No reason to walk into "town". The nearby town of North East, home to Woody's Crab House, was the place recommended for Maryland Blue-fin steamed crabs. I was excited, but after receiving my beer I was told, "We have no crabs." BOO HOO!!!!!
We had a good meal, but . . . Maybe tonight. I drew the only crab I saw last night.
Finally it was our last evening, and we were dressed in some of our new duds and heading for a Flamenco Show at Corral de la Moreria.
It cost €50 each for the show and included one drink. If I'd booked the show and dinner, the price would have doubled. I should have booked the dinner. Our seats weren't bad, but would have been better with dinner, and the food looked marvelous.
The dancing, singing and guitar playing were worth the cost, and it was a magnificent way to end a trip to Spain.
I had a hard time defining a concept fot this large wooden tunnel with a huge fan at the end. The public seemed a little confused as to what to do with this whole thing.
There was a freezer with a sign that instructed you to open it and take a piece of ice (there were two different shapes). Monica told me to put it in my mouth. Into my mouth went the swirl-shaped ice piece; into the tunnel I went. When I almost reached the fan, which didn't blow air on me or anyone else, I got the taste of salt. I waited to see if anything would happen. Nope.
I went back to the freezer for the sqiggle-shaped piece of ice. Monica said it was sweet. The people in the tunnel were just holding the ice, so I tried that. I figured that they spoke Spanish and might know something more than we did. Nope, nothing happened.
I never got an inklig of a concept from this. But I did really like the large wooden structure.
The third photo????
Both of these installations involved sound. The pier had the sound of water. The money covered tee pee had what sounded like a chain saw and also had a smell to further involve your senses. What the smell was ???? Not a great smell.
I was impressed with the candle wall and the diamond patterns in it.
What do think?
This was my last view of the Palace, which had a lovely freize of painted tiles. The next building we came to had some nicely clipped trees and more than one large tile painting.
We went in to use the bathroom, but stayed in to look at about 6 large rooms of installation art.
I wondered what the Crystal Palace was, or had been, used for. Just art exhibitions, or was it also a place for concerts, dances and other events. It seemed a little run down, maybe could use a little cleaning to bring back a little sparkle, but who has money for that?
There was a pond outside with black swans and ducks, but the jewels in the crown were the turtles! Especially the huge one whose shell was about 12" long.
We left the Palace and continued our walk.
I've been back in the USA since Aug. 6, and many times, I have gotten home from a trip and never get back to blogging the last day or two of my trip. Not this time.
We walked down Calle Atocha from our Hotel Catalonia Plaza Mayor with the destination of Retiro Park. We passed a really good bakery and stopped in for breakfast.
The first photo is of Vicent's favorite dessert. The second are three of the four pastries we ordered that morning, the fourth pastry was already in my daughter's mouth.
We had never walked on this piece of road and were surprised to find we were near "the block" as it is called in Baltimore, MD. I am not sure it's exactly like the block, but it was something selling sex toys and also a "cabaret show". If you've been here, you can tell me.
We reached the park and headed for The Crystal Palace. We turned left at the angel fountain with the cool gargoyles at it's base, and soon found ourselves there.
Those colored discs are an art installation. Should I tell you the concept, or let you find it yourself?
The Dali retrospective was extensive, again, no photos allowed. He had been kicked out of the Madrid art school at the beginning of his career. Later, he received the highest honors, not only by the world of art, but also by the King of Spain near the end of his life.
He crossed over into theatre design, book illustration and movies. He designed the dream sequences in Hitchcock's "Spellbound".
He knew how to work the media, and invented and reinvented his personality over the years. He worked tirelessly and was always experimenting.
There were several clips of films with him speaking about his work and ideas, a short animated film he made with Walt Disney and an interesting and fun film of a party. One of the guests was a young Bob Hope. He was at the dinner table sitting next to a man I didn't know. They raised the huge dome lid off the large platter before them, and there was a plate of frogs. The look of surprise on their faces was priceless. I had the feeling the men weren't sure if the frogs were real since they didn't move. Hope picked up his fork to try and get one and it jumped, and so did he!
I suppose Dali was made for Hollywood, and wouldn't you like to be invited to a party where Dali wore a cardboard headpiece that had his real face in the middle, and photographs of his head looking to each side?
Below is a very short You Tube link on this record breaking exhibition.
We had a lie in this morning as we didn't get back to our beds from The Lion King until 2:30 am.
Reina Sophia Museum was on our agenda for a retrospective Dali exhibition and Picasso's Guernica.
The exhibition was free at 3:00 pm, but we had an hour and a half wait. Just as luck would have it, the young, tall, gorgeous and kind young man in line in front of me was a dancer in the New York City Ballet. He was in Madrid visiting his family. Time passed quickly as we had lots of intetesting conversation with him.
No photos allowed, again. This evidently was
Blouse and shoe shopping unexpectedly took over our morning, and our plan changed totally.
After lunch we finally took a stroll to the Edificio Belles Artes, paid €3 each to get to the roof for views of Madrid. The views were good, but not as good as the best siesta in Madrid: a glass of white wine and some ice water, and a bed under a sunscreen. Just pick an empty bed with cushions and relax! It was a great break from the city 7 floors below, the heat from above and all the walking and museums. If you go to Madrid and need a break, this is a nice place to take it.
We left with the idea to just take a walk up the Grand Via, lined with spectacular buildings all the way. We stopped in any stores we liked, had a scrumptious dinner in a sushi place, and continued to saunter along until we reached the theatre showing "El Rey Leon", "The Lion King".
I suggested we see if they had tickets. I've never seen the animated film or the musical in America. I asked if seats were available for that night and they were: row 15 center of the orchestra. Monica was shocked! We had 1-1/2 hr. wait, so we stopped at the cafe two doors down where I had a lovely raison pastry.
Then off to the magic of theatre. We're amazed that you can get popcorn and drinks and take them inside these beautiful theatres, but you can, and we did.
The show started at 10:00 pm. Wow! What imaginative costumes, scenery, sounds and colors. The actress playing the baboon sang powerfully with her commanding voice! The drummimg and the African tribal chorus singing were such a pleasure to hear. The two you actors who played the young cubs, around 10 years old, were superb. If you've never seen it, you won't regret going.
I'm having a bit of trouble remembering this day. Got to check my book.
OKAY! You'll like this, I did. The Teatro Real Tour, Cerralbo Museum, Templo de Debod, break and a beer, then the Emitas de San Antonio de Florida with a fabulous ceiling by Goya. Pluse he's buried there! Whew, lots of walking and no siesta.
The theatre tour started at 11am and went on until 1:15 pm! Finally a place to take photos! The bass fiddle cases in the hall, cleaning the huge chandelier that hangs over the orchestra seats, the balconies, me sitting in the hair and makeup room, wigs ( you know how much I love wigs, right), a posrer showing a makeup transformation, Monica in the Queen's box, and the Queen's sitting room with her portrait. We should never had been allowed in this area, but our guide didn't care.