Donna and Norbert’s Eclectic...
March 12, 2010 to March 23, 2010

It had been six years since Donna and Norbert last visited Spain, so when they learned that Isidro, Norbert's son-in-law and husband of Sarah, was going to have a retrospective exhibition of his art in Madrid, they seized the opportunity to plan a trip to attend. 

As usual they waited until a week before the planned arrival date to purchase tickets and make hotel reservations in Madrid.

Day 1:  Donna and Norbert arrive at the Madrid airport in the mid-morning where Sarah and the grandchildren, Olivia and Sidney, were waiting.  Sarah had invited Donna and Norbert to spend two days with her "family" where 21 years ago she had been made an honorary member as a student living abroad to learn the language.  This reunion was an almost annual event. 

The five drove south in a rented car and arrived in time for supper (always after 8PM) at the home of Mari (her "cousin") and Gallego.  They live in Sabiote, a town of less than 10,000 in the midst of miles and miles of olive tree groves that boasts an ancient church, a medieval castle (under renovation) and an olive oil factory.

Lodging was at Mari's rental house which was unoccupied at the time. 

Day 2:  Visited the olive oil factory before the fiesta in honor of Sarah's visit.  Eating, drinking, talking and card-playing.  Norbert and Donna were treated like family. 

Day 3:  It was Sunday and a pre-Semana Santa at the town church.  Breakfast at  Juanita's and a drive down to Übeda.  Back to Mari and Gallego for a goodbye.

Day 4:  Drive to Majadahonda to drop off Sarah and kids and then to Madrid and check in to Hotel Senator Spa with time for wandering around Plaza de España area.

Day 5:  Touristing and Isidro's show in the evening.  This retrospective was a major event in the art world of Madrid.

Day 6:  More walking around Plaza de la Punta del Sol and Plaza Mayor.  Ended the evening with Zarzuela "Doña Francesquita".

Day 7:  To the north with a stop at Burgos visiting the cathedral which has the tomb of El Cid.  And then a romantic evening at Posada Santa Maria la Real in Aguilar de Campó. 

Day 8:  Back to Burgos to recover the famous Yankees cap that had been left at the church mercado.  After driving around Santander bedded down at Posada Sobosque in a not-on-the map town Mortera just to the east.

Day 9:  Along the coast of Bay of Biscay with a stop at Roman ruins and a secluded beach.  Finally arrive at Bilbao and with the help of  tourist information get lodgings at Gran Hotel just across from the Guggenheim Museum.

Day 10:  The Guggenheim in Bilbao is of highly imaginative design and is the repository of grand and outrageous installation art.  A forty-foot high puppystatue planted with blooming flowers guards the entrance.  Then a ride up the tram and a snack in the "old city".

Day 11:  A drive along the coast with a stop at Ondarroa then south ending at Tarazona and the Hotel de las Brujas (Wiches).

Day 12:  On the way to the airport a quick stop at Guadalajara. 

...and these are Google Picasa links to the rest of the pictures

El Norte