A Travellerspoint blog

Even Bridges Have Off Days

Puente de Segovia

I was so excited about seeing it. The photos online and in the free guide magazine looked amazing. So I took my camera, gave myself three hours til sunset, and headed to the metro with my map.

The afternoon was lovely, perfect for photos. The bridge was downhill from the metro stop which made the walk easy. When you cross the bridge you can't really see under it. I know, surprising, right? I suppose I imagined that as I approached it I'd see all it's splendor*. I stopped in the middle and looked out at the Manzanares River, or should I say mud? It's similar to the L.A. river.

Once across, I asked three Spanish people taking their afternoon stroll if this was the Puente de Segovia. Two of them said yes and the third said there was a viaducto up ahead. Then they talked amongst themselves (in Spanish): "She wants the bridge. Yes, but she's probably thinking of the viaduct because the bridge isn't very impressive. Yes, but she said 'bridge'." I understood everything they said and checked to make sure I got the directions to the impressive viaduct. Straight ahead, two of them raised their arms to a 90 degree angle for the national "straight ahead" gesture. Pretty easy. I thanked them and continued ahead.

But first I turned right to get a better look at the bridge from the side. It felt like catching the movie star you have a crush on in a housecoat and curlers... I passed a couple of little, tiny improvised homes and saw more mattresses, realizing there was a community here. The view of the bridge was no better and I was uncomfortable with my camera in hand. I didn't want them to think I intended to photograph them. I put it in my pocket and headed back up the street, trying not to stick out anymore than I was.

Past the park with the bocci ball players, and the dog walkers, and the people on benches enjoying the afternoon. I saw climbers on the wall Tameka had mentioned earlier.
I realized I must be near the Palace. I hadn't put those two together. Suddenly, there it was, the viaducto. IMG_4863.jpg This was what I'd seen in the April pop guide madrid beneath which was a description of the Segovia Bridge. No wonder I was confused! I just reread it and it says, "El Puente de Segovia is the oldest bridge in Madrid. Ordered by King Felipe II, it was constructed by the architect Juan de Herrera..." and they have a picture of the viaduct - hmmm.

I enjoyed the view of the arches, and the gorgeous greenery. More mattresses under the viaduct, a man had just arrived with two single mattresses and was setting them up. It is really cold right now and I just tried not to think about the bone-chilling nights they spend.

I crossed Calle de Segovia and made my way to the top of the viaduct and Calle de Bailén.

At the top a quaint outdoor bar awaited me with a hot cafe con leche and a gorgeous view of the sunset miles and miles away.
The perfect ribbon on the gift of the day.IMG_4901.jpg

  • ******

Since writing this I have heard that the river's been dried up because there are plans to clean and improve it. I'm so happy to know this. I'm not sure where they are in these plans but here's a site with more info.

  • Night shot of bridge - it's "headshot", if you will. The photo is not mine, but was an inspiration.

Posted by gottaleap 23:49 Comments (0)

Waltzing in the Palace

Palacio de Cristal

I've been working indoors all day and notice that it's already 18:00 (6pm). The day has flown by. I need to see the sun so I check with Zani, she's ready to get out of the flat too. We take bus 34 to Parque del Buen Retiro. (see previous entry) The walk up is delightful. It's absolutely gorgeous every time.
I just don't get tired of the green, the trees, the birds. What a gift.

Today we'll check out the Palácio de Cristal.
"Modeled on London's Crystal Palace of the 1850s, Madrid's greatest wrought-iron and glass-domed Industrial Revolution structure was launched just 30 years later to stage an exhibition of Philippine tropical plants. It stands in the heart of the Retiro Park, reflecting charismatically in a small lake inhabited by ducks, grey lag geese, and black swans, and forms one of Madrid's most enduring bucolic images. Exhibitions of modern art are regularly held inside the building…" (taken from www.frommers.com)
We enter and see A Space for an Island Universe, Josiah McElheny´s five part sculpture made from hand-blown glass and chrome plated metal.

I imagine a candlelit reception with long gowns, waltzing, champagne and romance. Dreamy...

The waltz record scratches to a halt as a little tot runs by, knocking into my leg. It's afternoon again and I'm in my jeans and Mickey Mouse tank top with my sister. Okay, that's cool. She's really cool. And my waltz is pretty rusty anyway...

Posted by gottaleap 23:46 Archived in Spain Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Sunday In the Park - In Style

Parque Del Retiro

This was my first short using my Flip camera. I included pics from my digital camera as well.

Parque Del Retiro in Madrid, is only a 20 minute walk from where I'm staying in Lavapies. It's an amazing place. I'd forgotten how big and beautiful it is. What a wonderful day.

Posted by gottaleap 23:42 Archived in Spain Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

One Week

The Countdown

I have this wonderful talent for forgetting unpleasant things. It makes life so much nicer. But the down side is I'm just a bit surprised when I encounter them again. For example, moving. Whooo Doggie!!

Last week I loaded boxes onto a flat dolly, pushed that down the hallway to the stairway, carried one box at a time down 27 stairs and 12 steps to the van parked in front of my building til it was full, then 17 stairs and 20 steps to the truck park out back. I managed, slowing just a bit after a dozen trips, alternately being thankful I don't do this for a living, and wondering if doing this would give me those nice arms I've always wanted. Nah, I decided to get some help for the next load in two days.
Rav4 Move

Rav4 Move

I took a quick trip to Amoeba Records in Hollywood to get some cash for my CDs, then on to the library to donate books. Next I drove 85 miles in Friday afternoon traffic which could have been a nightmare except for a call to catch up with a friend and another to update my sister in Madrid. I will miss my unlimited cell minutes...

After unloading, I had some soup and a nap. Six hours later I woke up and returned to my place at 1am. I have had four days to get rid of the rest of the accumulated stuff of life and my absolutely fabulous mom returned today to pack me up for the trip.

I truly can't believe it's happening! My sister did this six years ago when she moved to Paris, and assures me I'm doing great. My mom keeps saying, "This is huge and you're doing an amazing job." So I guess I'll just listen to them, 'cause I just feel like I'm plowing through it all.

Time to hit the pillow. They come for the bed in the morning.

Posted by gottaleap 11:18 Comments (0)

Valentine's Day

My Broken Heart

First Day Home

First Day Home

Today my wishes for a wonderful, loving home for my cats came true. Although my mind knows they're safe and that they'll be happy and loved and cared for, my heart is broken.
You have to be an animal person to understand the grief I'm going through. A piece of my soul was ripped out when I put each one of them in a carrier and heard their howls of unfathomable disagreement. It felt like death. The new people buckled the cats in the back seat and I knew it would be all right.
I think they've moved up in the world, they've gone to Hermosa Beach, which I would move to in a heartbeat, if I weren't already headed to Madrid. I really like the new person, she was so patient, kind and understanding, giving me time to tell my stories and let go. I'm relieved that they didn't need to go to a shelter. Two close friends recommended Pet Orphans in Van Nuys, they're a no-kill shelter. I finally filled out an application on Thursday, because I was almost losing faith.
Tonight's my first night without them in a year and a half.
Something's just not right. I close the door quickly so they don't run out, I reach up on the shelf for the toilet paper (they were fierce TP shredders!), I move around the apartment carefully, but they're not there. It won't be the same in the morning when I wake up without Hannah on my chest, crushing my lungs, or Sydney sniffing my face to make sure I'm still alive...
I thank all my friends, and their friends, and so on, for the help with finding them a home!

Posted by gottaleap 11:16 Archived in USA Tagged animal Comments (0)

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