Poised between Europe and Africa - this proud - passionate - hauntingly beautiful land bewitches more visitors than any other country on earth.
Glittering beaches - bullfights - fiestas and tragic gypsy music have become the source of travelers´ legends - yet beyond the sun soaked resorts and dramatic spectacles lies another Spain of tranquil fishing villages and windswept castles - and still another - brand-new Spain of avant-garde nightlife - modern cafés and inexhaustible vitality.
The days are too short now to truly enjoy a trip - so - until this changes - we will spend our free time exploring Madrid.
In the 1920s it was Paris - in the 1960s London - but Madrid seems to have been designated the stylish European capital of the end of the 20th century. There is much to tell you about Madrid - so we will only describe the Royal Palace this visit.
The Royal Chapel, showing the dome ceiling.
It is almost impossible to describe how large - opulent and beautiful this palace is. It was constructed between 1738 and 1755 and became the residence of Carlos III in 1764. Inhabited until 1941 - the palace is now only used by the Royal family for state occasions.
An informative Site about The Royal Palace of Madrid.Back to top of newsletter
Luna y Bombé
It is interesting the different personalities cats have. By our experience - they all have a unique character - you never find one quite the same as the other.
As T.S. Eliot remarked "The great thing about cats is that they possess two qualities to an extreme degree - dignity and comicality".
"I am glad you have a cat" - TSE wrote to his godson - Tom Faber - on 20th of January 1931 - "but I do not believe it is so remarkable a cat as My cat ... "
If you have time - re read the Old Possum´s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Elliot - or listen to his poems interpreted by Andrew Lloyd Webber in the Musical titled - CATS.
"But when the day´s hustle and bustle is done - Then the Gumbie´s Cat´s work is but hardly begun. And when the family´s in bed and asleep - She tucks up her skirts to the basement to creep. She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice - Their behavior´s not good and their manners not nice - so when she has got them lined up on the matting - She teaches them music, crocheting and tatting." - The Old Gumbie CatBack to top of newsletter
Our Favorite Recipes (and Restaurants)
Sobrino de Botín (Madrid) - Since 1725 - this restaurant has been celebrated for its roast suckling pig - prepared in a 200-year-old tile oven. Hemingway mentions it in The Sun Also Rises. The roast Segovian lamb is equally delectable. There is little subtlety of flavor here-only food prepared by time-tested recipes that have appealed to kings as well as Castilian peasants. The aromas waft clear across Madrid's old town.
Restaurant Sobrino de Botín is reportedly the oldest operating restaurant in Europe having been established in the 17th century in an old house that was built in the 15th century.Back to top of newsletter
THE WINTER SOLSTICE
As you know - in the winter the days are short and the Sun - low in the sky - produces the shortest day of the year - the winter solstice. This is the day when the Sun is the lowest in the southern sky. During the short winter days the Sun does not rise exactly in the east - but instead rises just south of east and it sets south of west.
Each day after the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21st, the Sun's path becomes a little higher in the southern sky. The Sun also begins to rise closer to the east and set closer to the west until we reach the day when it rises exactly east and sets exactly west. This day is called the equinox. In the spring we have the Spring Equinox about March 21st. There is also a Fall Equinox on September 21st.
Many - many cultures the world over perform solstice ceremonies. At their root - an ancient fear that the failing light would never return unless humans intervened with anxious vigil or antic celebration.
A side view of the trilithon horseshoes at Stonehenge
An utterly astounding array of ancient cultures built their greatest architectures -- tombs - temples - cairns and sacred observatories -- so that they aligned with the solstices and equinoxes. Many of us know that Stonehenge is a perfect marker of both solstices.
More about StonehedgeBack to top of newsletter
What to do When You are Down
Take a few minutes - or more - and call a good friend. Do not mention a thing about what is bothering you. Listen.
Take another few minutes. Look up at the sky - enjoy the spectacle of a single bird in flight.
Now - another few minutes and enjoy asking a person in need if you may help them.
The world is moving too fast. Are we truly a superior society? 1,000 years from now - How will others define our perishable chips and speed? In Spain - we live amongst standing symbols of the past. The Caves of Altamira - (for example) - host sophisticated paintings dating 15,000 years ago.
Take a few minutes and put all of this in order - do not waste time thinking about your problems - there are too many more important things to do! Read about the past - learn where you came from and where you are going. Contribute to changing what is not good. Above all - stop saying - I do not have time.Back to top of newsletter
We Love to Hear from Our Friends.
Please write to us. If you like we will publish your correspondence in our next newsletter and web site. Tell us about yourself - your needlepoint "addiction" - what you would like us to add or remove from our newsletters ... or any of your favorite anecdotes! If you prefer to remain anonymous be sure to include this at the end of your note. Just click below and write - it is that simple. Take some time. firstname.lastname@example.orgBack to top of newsletter
Nice Thoughts from Our Friends.
*How delightful to get your news letter on my computer this morning. I look forward to exploring your web page. Here it is windy, cold and dry as winter comes. I stitch and sell needlepoint (among other things) in my store in Wheatland Wyoming. We will try the recipes (we love new food here) and we will do the *grandmother* part ... bragging about 2 yr. old grandson. (His web page is : www.caringbridge.org/wy/rustle )
Best wishes to all of you (especially the cats) from us at the Wheatland Mercantile, Wheatland, Wy. USA*
PLEASE TAKE NOTE - Rustle - left - - soon after we received this note. A two year old - victim of cancer. We are very sorry.
Sent to us from a Friend in Connecticut - please read this - it is very funny:
Single black female
*The following ad appeared in the Atlanta Journal:
Single black female seeks companionship - ethnicity unimportant.
I am a very good looking girl who loves to play.
I love long walks in the woods - riding in your pickup truck - hunting - camping - and fishing trips.
Cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hands. Rub me the right way and watch me respond. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work - wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me and I'm yours. Cal xxx-xxxx and ask for Daisy.
Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the local Humane Society about an eight week old Labrador Retriever.*Back to top of newsletter
Another Gift From Us
... we would like you to have a Samantha Taylor Calendar for your desk. To receive our gift - please e-mail us - requesting the calendar and your mailing address:
Now - do not feel pressured to make a decision - we will be offering this gift throughout January - to give you time to make the proper choice - yes or no - please think about this seriously.Back to top of newsletter
*Di me de que presume - y te diré de que carece*
*Tell me what he brags about - and I will tell you what he lacks*
This saying is often used in Spain to define a person who is not humble - or who is a hypocrite.
This saying is used when a person tells you ( for example ) how honest he is - or what a good person he is. They prefer to see the act and not hear one brag about it!
This is all for now - - ¡Hasta Pronto!Back to top of newsletter
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