Day 69: Something Special Has Sprung…

SPRING has sprung, silly!

You and your dirty mind had to go and get all imaginative. What do you think this is, a blog about creativity? …For crackers’ sake!

So, anyway, have you beautiful friends of mine been to the gorgeous city of Madrid yet? If you have, I bet you made it to Parque del Retiro, it’s one of the busiest places in the city, and with good reason too! I’m always amazed at the coexisting Madrileños and tourists as I wander among the fountains, peacocks, and palaces. I have logged countless hours in this park and I am sure there is still more to discover.

Here is a series of snapshots to bring some spring into your day and to offer a bit of travel inspiration if you haven’t made it to the shores of El Estanque de Retiro yet.

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What’s Mother Earth doing where you are? Have your trees been graced with their first colorful blossoms yet? Have the robins arrived? Are your gardens full of the pregnant promises of flowery friends? Which “Spring Thing” do you love the most?

Mine is — by far — the chance to sit in the sun, sleeveless and sweaty, in a Spanish plaza while drinking something cool.

Here’s a spring song I cannot stop listening to:

Also, sorry to the Southern Hemisphere, hope you guys don’t feel marginalized, Autumn is cool too. Go rake some leaves.

Day 63: Carnival vs Carnaval

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During the rule of the dictator General Franco in Spain, the traditional end of Winter celebration called Carnaval was prohibited in all but one small village. Since the oppression ended thirty-ish years ago, these celebrations have come to represent something more than the Carnaval of antiquity and the energy level is intense. The magic lasts for more than a week and is best described as some kind of Independence Day-Halloween-Mardi Gras combination. Every town has some kind of celebration but the smallest pueblos are known for their all-out dedication to the festival.

These are photos from the parade in the village called Navalmoral de la Mata in Extremadura. Together they captured the energy of love, joy, and camaraderie that was in the air.

Day 61: Nature & Architecture

I adore when architecture and nature coexist harmoniously.

This weekend I went to a small pueblo in Western Spain to figure out what this whole Carnaval fuss is about. Extremadura is known for its week-long fiestas but what captured my attention today was the pueblo’s architecture (of course) and more than once I was almost left for dead by my friends who speed-walked the tiny, winding streets while I lingered behind snapping photos.

Here are my favorites:

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the past 24 hours including: a fool-proof way to painlessly avoid conflict, how we were almost forced to sleep in the street after partying with smurfs, cows, aliens, and politicians, what chocolate, churros, a mountain and a sunrise have in common, and how I discovered just how many toddler dance troupes one Spanish pueblo can have.

And I’ll do it all in 300 words. Stay tuned.