Monday, May 30, 2016

Footnotes to Madrid

Stuck for a topic this morning, I am going to put up little observations that have come to me.

Europe is a complex place with a lot of history and, consequently, a lot of layers of civilisation. I was talking the other day about Spain being a constitutional monarchy, the last major country where a member of the House of Bourbon sits on the throne. This is indicated by the current flag of Spain:

That coat of arms is the emblem of the King of Spain and as the Royal Standard also hangs in the entryway of the Palacio Real. I took a picture of it the other day:

I was travelling via train through London some years ago and saw flying over some ancient castle what seemed to me to be rather an odd flag with golden lions on a red background. I later realised it must have been some version of the Royal Standard of Queen Elizabeth II:

It was flying over one of her palaces, residences or properties. I admit to enjoying some things about these constitutional monarchies (as a Canadian citizen I am one of the Queen's subjects as she is the sovereign of Canada). For one thing, they serve very well to curb the arrogance of elected politicians which in recent years has been becoming unbearable. I recall a scene from the film of a few years ago on the death of Princess Diana when Tony Blair comes for his first audience with the Queen, played by Helen Mirren. She comments that he, Mr. Blair, is her tenth Prime Minister since her coronation, the first being Winston Churchill. Now that will trim anyone down to size.

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I read somewhere that Spain's most important export is not wine or olives, but ham. This is certainly not true if you consult the data: number one seems to be vehicles followed by fruit, nuts, vegetables and meat. But you certainly get the feeling that ham is very big here. Take for example these two delicatessens I took photos of:

Yes, that is the Museo del Jamón, the Museum of Ham. Not to be outdone by this one down the street called El Paraiso del Jamón:

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Here is a concert I would like to attend, but it is just after I leave:

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And finally, near my hotel is what is becoming my favourite restaurant, Terramundi. I got some photos yesterday. Here are some folks waiting outside to get in:

It is only open for lunch, but is nearly always full:

Here is a main course of roast chicken in lemon sauce with french fries and little roast peppers (not hot):

A nice bottle of wine:

Yes, in Spain they do know how to live...

Some suitable music: this is La Maja de Goya transcribed for guitar from the piano original by Enrique Granados and played to perfection by John Williams:

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