Sorry for the extension, I can't figure out how to scroll on the iPad.. I know, fewer words would help. Lol
July 27, our last day in Guatemala.
After out glorious walk, we packed until Don Alejandro retrieved me and carried me to Guatemala city where Maria del Carmen and I met with the dean of the school of education at Francisco Marroquin. Our conversation centered on what constituted their new program and what contributions I could make. She offered me the opportunity to return in the future and teach either seminars or short courses with them. Of course, I was thrilled and suggested to her that the chains of command would have to be considered, and she said she would wait for me. O wad pretty exciting. Maria del Carmen and I were like two small girls when we left, giggling about then plethora of possibilities for research, program exchanges, etc. Needless to say, if all goes well, the next few years could be filled with great academic excitement.
When I returned to the apartment, Tom was way ahead of me for packing, so I hurried to catch up, since we had a lunch date with the administrators and board members of Colegio Boston. We made it and had a lovely time, on the porch of on of our favorite places in Antigua, epicure, watching a steady, cooling rain. Tom was right in then flurry of the rapid Spanish being spoken, but I as not quick enough to jump in, so listened, enjoyed the banter, and relished this last, glorious time, knowing we were appreciated for our love of the city, education, and friendliness. Back at home in then late afternoon, we hung out, then went out for our last hoorah. We waited until the rain slowed and wandered over to Welton for a bottle of champagne and snacks. We closed the place and walked around the puddles for a quick sleep before our early, early pick up.
We got bumped to first class on our way home and stayed in that state of mind through our three, hot days in Dallas. Adam and Catherine met us and hung out with is all afternoon Thursday. Friday I tried the DART rail/A train into Denton which is a bit of a mess at present, met with great folks, and Tom visited with Paul from work, then shopped with Adam most of the day. We danced the night away with AC at southern junction, then spent the day Saturday at the sonny Bryan bar b que stand, circus, and sali's, adding my mom and rosa and flor to the mix. It was a blast. Sunday we rode around white rock lake, which Tom did every day we were in town, met Louise AC at barbec's then settled in to pack for Spain.
We flew out on aug 1 for Madrid, arrived aug 2, and hit th ground running after a subway ride to our cute hotel near then opera. We took a upper deck bus tour of Madrid, during which time we promptly snoozed, while on the bus, so decided a nap was in order. Back on the bus later we took in the sights, acted like tourists, and took far too many pictures of this magnificent, baroque place. Later when we walked around we noticed in the grand plaza, the Sol, there were riot police gathering, preparing for a large protest, which did occur the next day. We slept until almost noon the next day, but spent almost seven hours touring the Prado Museum. Needless to say, we only saw some parts, but it was glorious none the less. We chose to see only Spanish art and were duly impressed to be standing in front of el greco and original work. It was an incredible experience. On the way back, we stopped and purchased tikets for a performance of the opera Carmen set to flamenco dance. We got a drink and a snack, then went to the show. The treatment of the opera, as flamenco was extraordinary. We sat on the fourth row from the stage in this small theatre and were overwhelmed at the interpretation and dancing. We decided to eat dinner like spaniards, at 11pm, and found a nice place on the way home. Both of us had fish, which was terrific, but we learned that we are not cut out for this kind of late night eating.
On our last day in Madrid, we spent the better part of it in the train station activating our eurrail pass and arranging for reservations for various days of travel. It was mostly spent in long lines. All as not lost because we subwayed ourselves to Retiro park, on a par with central park, and went rowing on the small lake, walked around, toured a modern museum, then found a menu dinner near the opera, which was tasty and light.
We were off to the train station early, and boarded a short train to Toledo. This walled, mediaeval, winding town, contrasted considerably from the urban sprawl and speed of Madrid. Our first stop was the el Greco museum, followed by lunch, and a tour of the Jewish synagogue, both of which are in the Jewish quarter of ancient Toledo. We attempted to visit the Alcázar, but were too late. A large tin and tonic and paella later, we crashed and called it a day.
We hit the ground running with a whirlwind tour of six churches, four catholic, one Jewish, and one Muslim. WOW. We had read so many books by Spanish authors regarding the distinctions and mixing of these three religious groups, but the walk around the city, up and down narrow streets, over hills, and through portals, gave us a much better sense of what this was about, both the separateness, and the challenges of mixing three monotheistic religions in such close proximity. After a short break, we took on the Alcázar, a fortress built by the Romans in the third c AD, which underwent various structural changes, finally ending up as the military ,museum for all of Spain in 2010. Much of the museum is a modern structure that reveals the original structure, as well as layers of other additions. After several hours of listening and leaning about Spanish military, we worked our way back to the Jewish quarter, where our hotel waited for us, found a gin and tonic, some tapas, and let our feet rest after the nine hour abuse we had applied. Unfortunately, I hankered for churros con chocolate, so up the hill we trekked, and in the end, it was worth it,and the walk back pleasant. We are nestled in for th evening, dreaming of our next adventure in córdoba, knowing that more history, fabulous art, and interesting times lie ahead.
I hope all is well for you and yours. Jt