1. Arriving in Madrid, which felt very much like a capital city. I'm not sure what the huge Tio Pepe sign is for.
2. Near our hostel. Beautiful colors and more density. (Not the same as Paris, though.)
3. These signs were in all the Madrid Metro stops. If you want to read it, let me know and I'll send you a higher-res shot. It discusses the historic, horrible nature of the terrorist attacks, their impacts, and what Spain was doing to ensure it never happens again.
4. "Peace for All" and "No More Death" signs near our hostel. In general, the people we met in Europe and Morocco were against the U.S.'s policies in the Mideast, and did not understand the Bush Administration's support for Sharon. More precisely, they did not understand what they perceived to be unfair treatment of the Palestinians. Iraq and Palestine are more linked in most people's minds here than Iraq and Al Qaeda. "If Bush wants peace, he should stop supporting Sharon and Israel's domination of the poor Palestinians" was a common refrain in discussions.
5. On a different note, the Spanish seem to be crazy about HAM! Delicious and ubiquitous (and good for you!), there are many degrees of ham, and finding the perfect ham sandwich is a worthy pursuit.
6. Here, we have just returned from Morocco, and are relaxing in the small town of Algeciras (on the southern coast), before catching the night train to Madrid. I was just getting over being sick, and Chris was trying to fight it off. Luckily, it was a beautiful day in this coastal town, so we relaxed in the town square.
7. Everyone else in the town thought relaxing in the square was a good idea, too.
8. We were there during Santa Semana, the week before Easter, and the entire town (really, the whole town) turned out for the big parade. People of all ages were involved, as band members, float lifters, or as part of the procession itself.
9. Getting ready for the procession.
10. After a loud knock on the church door, the parade started and the floats came out to much applause. This was a massive float, carried with much pomp on the backs of the local boys.
11. The next float, showing a triumphant Jesus and Mary.
12. Candles are lit, and the parade continues. (These guys look pretty spooky up close, until you see that the little kids and even babies in similar costumes! Very cute.)
13. A very formal, very serious parade in a small town, replicated across Spain that day.
14. Back in Madrid, we stopped by the Prado, the Sofia, and the Thyssen in one long Museum day. Before the museum staff told me not to take pictures, I snapped this one of... Santa Semana. This painting is from about 1910, and it looks exactly like what we had seen in Algeciras.
15. Javier Solana, in the early 1900s, self-consciously steered himself away from the avant-garde movement that was bubbling then to do many potraits of Spanish life. This one seemed to sum up our trip to this point!
16. Finally, we were back on the train, making our way through Southern Europe to get to Italy! This is a shot of the Coasta Brava, which looked incredibly beautiful... from the train.
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