Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?

Yeah, I know that’s not how the song goes, but it was stuck in my head all week. So there, now it’s stuck in yours. Ha!

Sorry for the lag in posting. Internet accessibility hasn’t been great the past few days so I’m a little behind.

I picked up Jared on Wednesday and got up to Vail early enough to hit up the pool. I texted him this picture so he’d know where to find me:

I convinced Jared to throw on his suit and join me, and we ended up ordering lunch and eating it poolside. It was a nice way to ease into the vacation portion of our vacation, and to catch up after being apart for a week.

We had about a 6 hour drive to Santa Fe, but it was pretty much a straight shot down from Vail via highway 285 – which was incidentally also a gorgeous drive. We arrived energized from all the beautiful scenery and unpacked in the super cute casita that we’d rented for 2 nights. It was (as you’ll see) adorable and within walking distance of the main town square, and we were instantly charmed. Here’s a photo bomb of all the adorable touches. Seriously, we felt like we were on our honeymoon again!

this was the shower!

The best part though, was the bedroom that led out into a private garden. The whole place was so inviting and relaxing that we would have been fine just hanging out there for two days and not doing anything.

The first night we stuffed our faces with awesome Mexican food from Maria’s, and sampled a few of their 100+ margaritas. Divine.

The second day was kind of a wash for me because I went all over town trying to find a replacement charger for my camera battery (while Jared caught up on some work), convinced that I had left it in Denver. I got home with said replacement 3 hours later, only to remember where I had packed the original charger in the first place. Sigh. At least the replacement was returnable, and we had a nice lunch out in our garden followed by a bike ride into town to explore a bit.

When we got back from our bike ride we changed for dinner and walked back into town in time to catch the sunset from the rooftop of the La Fonda Hotel – with margaritas, of course.

On the way to the hotel I made Jared pose with this metal chicken, reminiscent of the famous Beyoncé (seriously, follow that link, you will not regret it). Her cousin, perhaps?

handsome man at sunset

…made handsomer by the presence of margaritas

ready to drink said margaritas

looking towards the main plaza

going…

going…

gone.

After happy hour we walked around a bit and then had a scrumptious dinner at Il Piatto, followed by a visit to an awesome dive-y bar recommended to us by our waiter, that had good music and cheap drinks (a winning combination).

this is foreshadowing for the next post…

Palace of the Governors

the plaza

dinner

The next day we packed up for a short drive to Williams, Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon…and that’s where all the fun began. But that’s for next time…

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Wide Open Spaces

Hello there!

I hope everyone had a delightful long weekend – we certainly did!

We set out early on Saturday morning after loading the bikes on the back on the car, courtesy of our new Thule rack (an excellent Craigslist find).

Adjusting and securing the rack required a bit of a learning curve – such as having to pull over as we went over Snoqualmie Pass because the side straps popped loose – but after a few days we’re pretty confident we’ve gotten the hang of it.

Our first stop was, as always, Missoula, MT (Psst- Jason! You made the blog!). We actually drove out to Missoula the prior weekend to surprise our friend Jason for his 40th birthday, so the drive this time seemed a lot shorter. This weekend was his wife Gita’s birthday, so we had another fun evening planned with tickets to the M. Ward show at this cool old movie theater called The Wilma.

We had such a fun evening that I think it took me 2 days to recover. Seems to happen every time we visit Missoula, but we’re not complaining 🙂

Our favorite part of the drive out from New York was the stretch through Wyoming, and we were really looking forward to driving through it again without a 16′ moving truck. We still had to get through the rest of Montana though, and when we got to the first mountain pass it was snowing! Then we were treated to several hours of intense rain and hydroplaning. Boo. Someone should tell Montana that it’s almost June.

We decided not to torture ourselves this time by attempting to reach Boulder in one day, so we set our sights on Casper, WY for the night. Since we weren’t in a hurry, when we saw signs for the Little Bighorn Battlefield, site of Custer’s Last Stand, we decided to take a detour. That’s the beauty of this trip! We had wanted to stop last time but we were trying to make good time, and detours in a large truck aren’t as appealing.

a nice sentiment for Memorial Day

The monument was really interesting, though we got there late in the day so we didn’t have too much time to explore. We did however manage to arrive during a fortuitously rain-free period. When the droplets started back up we hit the road again.

One plus about the rain: we saw a DOUBLE RAINBOW. All the way across the sky.

We got to Casper amid some pretty intense winds, but were assured by the motel clerk that was normal for the area. Fortunately, the next day the weather was beautiful for the rest of our drive through Wyoming. The landscape is just so beautiful and expansive. As Jared said, “it makes you quiet.”

We made it to Boulder late Monday afternoon in time to have some quality time with Jared’s cousin and his wife. Then yesterday I drove Jared up to Vail and dropped him off at his retreat (hence why I am a little behind on blogging). I’ll post some pictures from that trip tomorrow!

On the Road Again…

Hi there. I know. I KNOW. It’s been a while.

We made it safely back to Seattle (via a week in NYC), and so did all of our crap (not that we wanted to ever see it again after all that time).

We’ve been decompressing and adjusting to our new home city. It’s even new to me since so much has changed since the last time I lived here, but it’s nice to have so much to explore and re-discover about my hometown. It’s a bit of an odd time, because we’re so in transition. We’re living with Jared’s very accommodating and generous parents while we sort ourselves out, and a lot of our stuff is still in boxes in their garage and spare bedroom. That’s partly why I haven’t written here in a while – just not a lot to say. Things are good, and we’ve had a lot of great quality time with our families and friends, but it’s not exactly exciting to chronicle my trips to Target or Jared’s daily commute.

Oh, but we do have some bits of exciting news. We bought a car!

I’m pretty sure the internet demanded this picture.

it has a roomy trunk!

oh dear, this has gone pear-shaped…

And even more exciting: I finally got my driver’s license! Yes, I am 29 years old. I don’t want to talk about it. Turns out, I love driving! I still beat my grandmother by 11 years (she was 40 when she got hers, and my grandfather owned a car dealership), so I’m doing a-OK.

We’ve also been treated to some really spectacular weather lately, and have been on quite a few hikes. When we first talked about moving out here, hiking was one of the things we were most looking forward to, and it’s been a great way to show Jared around the area.

There are days where I am still surprised by how beautiful it is here in the Pacific Northwest. We’re both really psyched to be here. That being said, we’re leaving for a month! Today, our bedroom looked like this:

We leave tomorrow at the crack of dawn for a mini-tour of the Southwest. Jared has a conference in Colorado, and then a family reunion a few weeks later back in Colorado, so we’re driving out and taking the two weeks in between to hit up Santa Fe, the Grand Canyon (I’ve never been), and a few other fun stops. We’ve been wanting to do a trip like this ever since we got married…as you can imagine we are really excited about it.

So this is my welcome back to blogging, because you know I’m going to take a crapload of pictures and share all of our stops. And you’d better believe there will be some old-timey hijinks.

ROAD TRIP!!!

674 Steps

Yesterday, we visited the Holy Grail of Paris sightseeing. Sadly, the elevator to the top was still broken (boo), but we still had a blast and took in plenty of sights from the 2nd level. We had plans to meet up with my uncle Josh’s friend Nicole (another former Seattleite), at the École Militaire Metro stop – which is where we’d get off to see the Eiffel Tower anyway – so we opted to climb the tower after sunset and then head straight over to meet her. Plus, our camera is made for low-light, so I was really excited to go to town on some evening shots. The above photos are from last week when we visited during the daytime but opted to wait and see if the elevator was fixed.

Here’s one benefit to going in the evening: zero lines. This area was full last week, and this is the line for walking up the stairs! The line for the elevators was also markedly shorter. So there’s a pro tip for you. The stairs are open until 6pm and the elevators until 11 (later in summer), so you have plenty of time to visit after sundown.

The light show started as we were buying our tickets (you can see a hint of the sparkles in the above pic), which was really cute because everybody gasped and started cheering. It goes on for about 5 minutes, so the first part of our ascent was like being inside a rave…or trailed by paparazzi. Because we are hardcore (and cheap) we took the stairs up. It’s actually not that bad at all, and you really do save a lot of money – a stairs ticket is only €4.90! I’ve actually taken the stairs almost every time I’ve visited. I always think my legs are going to be so sore, but it feels pretty good to walk up, and it’s not as crowded and you get different views than you do from the elevators. Plus you get to be smug, and get a workout in. Win-win!

first level - you can see Montmartre in the upper right corner

progress

movin' on up

success!

It was a gorgeous night to see the city – clear, but with a bit of misty fog creeping in. Très romantique, as I kept saying to Jared (I’m sure that never got old).

This is what happens when you ask a stranger to take your photo. The puff of fur in the corner is from her enormous sleeve. It’s a good photo of us though, so I’ll keep it.

fog rolling in

École Militaire

Les Invalides and the center of Paris

underneath the elevator (not a real person)

We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about what happened to Mr. Footlong, so we made sure he was with us on our visit to one of the most iconic sights in the world. He’s been a little camera-shy lately.

"My, what a paramount looking-glass!"

"Fromage!"

We made it back down just in time to catch another light show from beneath the tower:

And because we’re cheesy…

I like how incredibly off-kilter this is.

By this time we were starving, and very ready for dinner. Nicole took us to an adorable place near her apartment, and it was crammed with locals, so that was a good sign. It was pretty affordable and very tasty, and as soon as we arrived I realized that it was next to the hotel where my parents had stayed 12 years ago when they visited! My aunt and uncle are actually visiting in a few weeks and staying here too, so I was able to give them a good restaurant recommendation.

Le Petit Cler

We had a lovely evening of wine and conversation, and are hopefully getting together with Nicole again before we leave. We have been so fortunate to spend time with new friends here! It’s what we had hoped for when we set out on this trip. In this and many other ways, Paris is really working its magic on us.

Strolling Paris

Our first full day in Paris, I gave Jared a walking tour along the Seine so that he could get oriented. I originally wanted to take him to the Eiffel Tower to continue the tradition of going to the highest point in a city to get our bearings, but the elevator to the top was out for the week. We’re hoping for a clear day next week to go back. Anyway, we settled for a nice walk and planned out some museum stops for when the rain arrives (this weekend and next week – boo).

Le Pont Alexandre III

Place de la Concorde

Jardin de Tuileries

We wove back and forth across the river so we could catch a few points along the way. We also stopped to check out the love padlocks along the Pont des Arts. The tradition is that lovers write their names on a lock, then lock it to the bridge and throw the key into the river, thereby stating that their love is eternal. I particularly enjoyed the numerous combination locks that were affixed to the bridge. Keeping their options open, I guess?

On Monday, we did even more walking and visited two spots that I had never been in Paris. First, we walked through Père Lachaise Cemetery, which is a short walk from our apartment. Those of you familiar with Père Lachaise will know that this cemetery is famous for being the largest in Paris and the final resting place of numerous French legends (Balzac, Colette and Molière to name a few). It’s also home to several notable foreigners such as Oscar Wilde, Chopin and Jim Morrison. I’d like to say that we visited at least the people I’ve listed to pay our respects, but this place was huge and confusing. We got lost more than once. If I had known, I would have brought a map of just the cemetery (pro tip for next time). In the end, we only found Oscar, but the cemetery is beautiful and I found it way more peaceful than creepy. At any rate, it’s nice to stroll amongst the greats for a while.

it's so vast that it has its own street signs

I find this disturbing, especially that his crotch has been rubbed...

Next, we ambitiously walked all the way down to the Promenade PlantĂ©e, which I was very excited to visit. The Promenade is an elevated park built on the old Vincennes railway line, and was apparently the inspiration for New York’s now infamous High Line park (which we love). Naturally, this park really shines when everything is in bloom, but it was still fun to see a slightly hidden spot that isn’t that well-known by tourists.

We had a leisurely stroll and picnic lunch, and then walked to the Metro along the street so that we could check out the shops built under the Promenade. They were all closed, which was a tragedy because we wanted so badly to pet the CUTEST PUPPY IN THE WORLD that ran up to greet us.

this picture does not do justice to his wee-ness

but this one does!

OMGTHATPUPPY. I am still thinking about him.

So you can see how we’ve walked our a**es off in the past few days (especially yesterday at Versailles, which I’ll post tomorrow). We’re pretty exhausted, but it’s easy to wear yourself out looking at gorgeous places in Paris – especially when they’re free to visit.

Paris, Jared T’aime

We can hardly believe it, but we’re down to our last two weeks in Europe! We decided in the end not to go back to Croatia because it was easier and cheaper to fly out of Paris, and we’re just kind of ready to head back to some familiar territory for a bit. The truth is that moving around a lot gets pretty tiring, and we’ve pretty much seen everything we had set out to see. We’re heading back through New York in two weeks, and then we’re going to regroup in Seattle for a few weeks, buy a car and spend the spring and summer in the Southwest, Colorado and hopefully also California. We had originally planned an epic road trip for our honeymoon in 2010, but only ended up having a week off so we just spent some time in California. Now that we have some time, we thought we’d reprise that idea a little – and it doesn’t hurt that the weather will be gorgeous down there. It’s been cold in Europe so we need a little warming up!

We arrived in Paris on Saturday morning, after a 12-hour overnight train from Barcelona. This pretty much sums up our train ride, if there were also a picture of us sprawled out in reclining seats with sleep masks on, rambunctious toddlers behind us and gangster rap blaring (honestly, who does that?? I was thisclose to walking over and handing them my headphones):

Barcelona Franca Station

bar car!

As for our place in Paris, we really lucked out. It could have been a total disaster because we left things to the last possible minute; we weren’t sure we’d be able to afford to come here, and we weren’t having much luck finding a place to stay that was within our budget. When Jorge and his friend Valerie cooked us a lovely dinner on Sunday night, they also invited their friend Georgina. Georgie used to live in Paris and contacted her friend on our behalf, who then contacted her cousin who happens to have a spare one-bedroom apartment! We never would have found this place on our own because they normally don’t rent it out – it’s just for visiting friends and family – but they made an exception for us.

Georgina saves the day!

This place is really a find too: it’s in the quiet 20th arrondissement, has everything we need within walking distance, and on the 10th floor of the building so we have KILLER views of the city. I like to think it’s Jared’s proper introduction to one of my favorite cities, and Paris is doing everything it can to make him fall in love. Even more than that, our landlords are the nicest people we could have imagined. They live across the hall and have been so welcoming and sweet. we feel so lucky to have met them!

Jared helpfully points out our location

living area

kitchen

terrace

comfy bed

BAM.

It’s hard to tell from pictures, but when we’re sitting on the couch the Eiffel Tower looks like it’s right outside our window. It’s just there, casually chillin’ in the view, no big deal. I know it’s kind of a touristy thing to think the Eiffel Tower is cool, but I don’t care. It’s a gorgeous structure, and it’s stunning at night – especially with the hourly light show.

Do you like how I even managed to get the très French emergency siren in the background?

We’ve had a few days to get oriented and we’ve already done miles of walking. This is my 5th visit to Paris and though it changes and I change, being here never gets old. I love this town and I always feel at home here. I am just excited to show Jared all my favorite spots! The weather is supposed to be clear and sunny this week, and then rainy next week so we’re doing all the outdoor stuff now and saving all the museums for the rain.

For now, I will leave you with gratuitous shots of our view at sunset.

Barcelona: Land of GaudĂ­

We made it to Barcelona, and it’s FREEZING! We were expecting it to be colder, but apparently it’s unusually cold here right now. Europe is going through a cold snap in general, and all the locals here are freaking out because it’s so much colder than usual. Nobody is used to heating their apartments for real winter temperatures so we are making due with space heaters and extra socks. Luckily, our bed is super warm and we have a great mattress so we just watch a lot of movies in bed in the evening. Our apartment doesn’t have internet, but it’s been kind of nice to have some quiet time together without the distractions of being connected. It’s frustrating too, but we’re looking on the bright side.

It was a bit of a rough trip over here because two days before we were supposed to leave, I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible case of the flu. I barely managed to get packed up, and then on the day we left Jared had to carry all our bags downstairs in several trips while I guarded them at the cab stand. Our train ride was 11 hours and I slept for 9 of them! I toughed it out and saw some sights this weekend and am feeling much better today, thankfully. We met up with our friend Jorge on Saturday morning, and the poor dear was also sick! We were quite the pair this weekend. He was such a trooper and showed us around the Barcelonetta neighborhood, all the GaudĂ­ stops, and helped us get oriented to the city.

Jorge was great because he is a designer so he had a ton of knowledge of GaudĂ­ and told us what we had to see and what we could skip. We took a quick stop at Casa BatllĂł to view the exterior (the interior tour was rated overpriced by Jorge). The design is meant to depict the story of St. George and the Dragon, and sits in a row of other apartment buildings designed by other important modernists of the time. In fact, the building next door was designed by GaudĂ­’s closest competitor.

scales of the dragon

even the sidewalk tiles were designed by GaudĂ­

Next we walked up to La Pedrera (Casa Milá). Jorge had seen it a few times and he insisted we had to experience the interior, so he paid for our admission and met us when we were done (so sweet!). It was pretty spectacular, and we learned a lot about GaudĂ­’s methods and inspiration through the museum in the attic.

GaudĂ­ designed the chimneys and water towers on the rooftop to look like soldiers in the battle between good and evil. GaudĂ­ was fanatically religious, so a lot of his architecture incorporates biblical themes, but he took most of his inspiration from the beauty of nature and incorporated it heavily into his forms. We kept remarking that that he was like John Muir in how he experienced God through the natural world.

GaudĂ­'s signature TrencadĂ­s treatment

The attic that houses the GaudĂ­ museum is made up of a network of complicated arches. Even when creating structure, GaudĂ­ believed in incorporating beautiful design.

The museum also showed how he created some of his forms, and showed clear examples of some of the natural elements from which GaudĂ­ drew inspiration.

this network of chain was hung above a mirror...

...to map out the arches for this cathedral

The next part of the tour was a walk through one of the apartments in the building (the Pedrera portion of Casa Milá). It was decorated to show what it would have been like to live there as a bourgeois family in the early 20th century. It was interesting to see how the rooms were divided into asymmetrical flowing units that mirrored the curves of the exterior, and how the furniture was placed to adjust to that design.

a dollhouse taller than me!

children's room

laundry

hallway

view

one of the bathrooms

office

dining room floor

master bedroom

So you can see that Gaudi is everywhere here. Tomorrow I’ll share our visit to Parc GĂĽell. In the meantime, happy Valentine’s Day!

Carousing in CĂłrdoba

I’ve already posted on our visit to the Mezquita during our trip to CĂłrdoba, but we did a lot more than that in our short overnight. We took the train and it was a short 1.5 hour trip, so half the travel time than our trip to Granada. We knew from that trip that the train station was probably well within walking distance of downtown, so we walked to our hotel since it was still only midday.

We stayed at the Hostal Alcazar, which was half the price of everywhere else in town. It definitely lived up to it’s budget reputation, but our room had a powerful heater and that was all that really mattered. CĂłrdoba was FREEZING. It was probably the coldest place we’ve been so far (though sadly, I hear Barcelona is going to be pretty chilly as well). We set our bags down and went to explore the old Jewish Quarter.

Our first stop was the Casa Andalusi, a 12th-century house decorated to evoke the spirit of Andalusian Islamic life during that time.

medieval paper-making tools

The house was pretty but not much to see, really. We also went to see the medieval synagogue but it was tiny so there’s not much to report their either. It’s really true that the sight to see in CĂłrdoba is the Mezquita.

At that point, we were getting pretty cold, so when Jared found out there was an Arab bath in the area, we were there! After going to the one in Seville on Sunday we ended up liking it better, but the one in CĂłrdoba wins for biggest lifesaver. The baths were gorgeous and really warmed us up. When we were done, we wandered around to find some tapas for dinner (you can easily make a meal out of tapas, and we did).

Jared finally got his small beer

As we were walking around, we ran into an Australian tourist who was looking for his hostel. We pointed him in the right direction, and actually ended up running into him and his friends later in the evening. We had a great time hanging out with them and it was nice to just talk and hang out with friendly people. Apparently the bar that we were at was attached to their hostel and one of the employes was an awesome guitar player. He also took our requests for The Bed’s Too Big Without You (he was wearing a Police sweatshirt), but I preferred his more traditional selections.

The next day after visiting the Mesquita, we walked across the Roman Bridge and visited the Calahorra Tower and the Museo Vivo de Al-Andalus.

The museum by all accounts is a bit odd, and nearly fanatically proclaims that Islam is responsible for every great thing in the world (and was apparently founded by a controversial figure). The reason it is worth the money is that they have on display these spectacular scale models of the Alhambra and the Mezquita in its original form. They were SO COOL, and it was particularly interesting to see the Alhambra from above and better understand its layout.

It was also really helpful and interesting to see what the Mezquita looked like when it was solely a mosque. It’s a hard thing to picture when you visit and there is a giant cathedral plunked down in the middle of it.

They also had some cool mini models of daily life in medieval CĂłrdoba, including what looked very similar to the bath we had visited the previous day!

The tower also afforded some beautiful views back at CĂłrdoba. So in summary, weird museum but still worth it.

The Cold Reality of January

Jared contemplates this month's budget

While Whitney and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in France, there’s just something about Spain (and Sevilla especially) that touches my soul. It’s a small big town, if that makes any sense. There is a big city vibe here, but you can walk across most of it in about thirty minutes, so it feels small. And the place where we are living has an East Village vibe, with lots of cool little stores, tapas bars (LOTS of tapas bars) and bodegas where all the people from the neighborhood hang out. Basically, all the people here stand around tables and drink these tiny beers all day. I don’t think anyone actually works. My kind of place.

A few complaints (to keep it real): while it’s warm here, as soon as you get out of the sun, it’s pretty damn cool. And our apartment is almost impossible to heat up, so I always seem to be cold. It’s like a San Francisco cold: there are definitely colder places, but the cold here kind of gets in your bones.

Also, we are having problems with our bed, so we don’t seem to be able to get a good night’s sleep. My head and neck are killing me (I think it’s the cheap pillows we have), so that’s been a bit of a drag.

All that being said, Sevilla is one of my most favorite places in the world. Just walking around here brings a smile to my face, and since I came here five years ago with my family, it’s been a dream of mine to come back, so I’m happy I have the chance to really get to explore it with Whitney.

On to finances. There’s no sugar coating it, January was a tough month for us financially. There were a couple of reasons for that. First of all, the south of France is simply not cheap, so it really shot a hole in our budget. Second, we have had a really hard time coming up with other sources of income, so my one part-time job had to cover us completely. I was able to get a few small jobs the past few months which really helped bridge the gap in our budget, but everything we had hoped would come through this past month (friends and family renting out our spare bedroom, Whitney babysitting, various other schemes) didn’t happen.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been frustrating, because I’ve been so close to picking up another remote job, only to have all of them fall through my fingers. We can make it on my one part-time job, but it really limits what we are able to do on this trip, and we’d both love a little breathing room at this point. I’m waiting to hear back from two jobs, so cross your fingers!

So here’s the financial breakdown, for those of you who are interested:

Our income this past month was $3340.

Our expenses were as follows:
Rent:
$863
Food/Household/Shopping:
$1026
Entertainment:
$723
Travel Expenses:
$585
Misc:
$1334

Total Expenses: $4531

So we were over by about $1200 this past month. Fortunately, we broke even the first two and half months here, so after three and a half months, we’re only over $1200. Food and rent we’ve been able to keep under a grand each. The harder part is keeping everything else to under a grand. No matter how much you keep to your budget, inevitably there are things you don’t know about, or haven’t planned for. Such is life.

The good news is that if I don’t find additional work, our plan is to stay in southern Spain, which is probably the cheapest place we’ve been yet. Food and wine is half the price it was in France, and we know we can find another cheap place to stay.  We’d like to go to Barcelona for a few days and then Paris for a week, so hopefully our budget will allow it.

A Ride In the Park

Last week we were graced with a nearly 70-degree day so we agreed that it was best spent outdoors and spent the day in Maria Luisa Park. I had been told by more than one friend that the park was amazing and we HAD to visit it ASAP. It’s located just south of the Alcázar, so it was a manageable walk and we meandered on down.

We’d read in advance about the Plaza de España, but we weren’t really prepared for how grand it was. It really surprised us! The Plaza was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, and features intricate tile work depicting each province of Spain, and a small moat that you can rent boats and row around (sadly, Jared was not up for rowing a boat).

the provinces represented

It was pretty fascinating to see something so grand that had been built for the world stage. It doesn’t really seem like that’s done anymore. Jared and I were reminded of one of our favorite books, The Devil In the White City, that describes the enormous undertaking to built the structures for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

The Exposition was held throughout the park, so there are other interesting spots and buildings dotted around, but the Plaza de España is by far the most spectacular (for good reason – they had to represent!).

After we picked our jaws up off the ground, we began to explore the park a little and found a stand renting bicycles. Jared used to ride every day in New York, so being off a bike for 4 months has been torture for him. We rented 2 bikes for 5 Euros each and figured it was a bargain to be able to more easily cover the enormous space.

I told him to look happy...he looks deranged.

I have to admit, it was really nice to be on a bike. We were pretty giddy riding around the park on such a nice day. We stopped and had a nice little picnic lunch and Jared did his best to make all the birds in the park love him.

lunch spot

The Mudejar Pavilion

the monument to poet Gustavo Adolfo Becquer

Sadly, Jared’s back tire had a spectacular blow out (it sounded like a gun shot), so we ended up having to walk our bikes back to the rental stand. It wasn’t a huge tragedy since we were due to return them in 15 minutes anyway, but it was a little deflating after the glee of riding around (um, sorry for that tire pun).

If you’re ever here, I highly recommend seeing the park by bike. There are local stands all over the city that you can use if you don’t feel like renting the ones in the park, but it’s totally worth it to hop on a cycle!

this was just before Jared's tire blew