Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Slower Pace

Another great thing about our hotel room is that it has the best light-blocking blinds ever.  Let's just say we slept in this morning.  It looked like it may have been about 6:30 AM, but when the blinds were opened, it was obvious it was not 6:30 AM.  We were not too late for the breakfast buffet, but based on the picked-over selections, we decided to strike out on our own for breakfast.  We followed the hotel concierge's directions toward a grocery, but ended up finding a nice little panaderia (bakery) where we bought some meat- and cheese-filled pastries.  We then enjoyed these on our balcony when we returned to the hotel.  Note: it's hard to avoid cured meats and cheeses at any meal of the day here, but I found a pastry with chicken instead.

Luckily, since the Spanish do everything later in the day, leaving around noon for the day's explorations did not set us back.  Continuing our tour of Spanish cathedrals, I made sure we made a beeline for the gorgeous Gothic edifice we saw last night.  We actually got two cathedrals for the price of one.  The Gothic cathedral was actually free, but we had to pay for what we found was called the "Old Cathedral:" a second church built in the Romanesque style.  The Gothic cathedral was built in the 1500s, at the very end of the Gothic period, and so also contains Baroque elements.  Overall, it's a stunning blend of simple lines and ornate decorations.

 The Gothic/Baroque nave.

 One arm of the Romanesque cathedral.

 Andy in the cloister of the cathedral museum.

The Romanesque nave.

After touring both cathedrals and their museum, we got some lunch.  This included a little fruit we found in the city's main market, which we got right before they closed for the day.  I was thankful to get a little fresh fruit; it's hard to keep fruits and veggies in a tourist's diet.  I think we'll go back there tomorrow a little earlier in the day. 

We continued exploring, but by this time, many places had closed for siesta.  We did a little souvenir shopping but then returned to the hotel where we did some relaxing of our own.  Eventually, we decided to try out the hotel's pool before we went out again for tapas.  (Did we mention that this hotel also has a pool?) Having a nice pool and patio area is great, but Andy would now like to describe the pool.

Although the Puente Romano is a wonderful facility, I'm thinking it may have a direct connection to Dante's ninth level of hell via the pool vent.  As you certainly recall from your literature classes, the ninth and final level of the inferno was a giant sheet of ice.  That's the only way I can figure the pool got this cold.  However, once my darling wife gets an idea for fun activities in her head, nothing her will stop her, including hypothermia.  Thus, we submersed ourselves into what I can only assume is a Polar Bear Dive training run.  At least we'll be prepared if we ever do one of those. /end rant

(It took Andy much longer to get into the pool than it took me.  I actually did a little bit of real swimming; it was the only thing that would keep me warm.  Afterward, I felt really good, though!)

After we were dried and warmed up, we ventured out again for tapas.  Both places we went were recommendations of Megan's, and after we tasted their delicous selections, we would recommend them too.  Unfortunately, it started to rain and then storm while we finished our second round.  This cut our evening outing short, and we had to restrict our movement to the colonnades of the Plaza Mayor until it let up enough for us to make it back to the hotel.  As I write this, it is still thundering.  Overall, I'm glad to have had a more relaxing day.


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