Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dad's visit

Last week, Dad came to visit me.  He arrived Thursday morning, and I brought him home before letting him rest while I went to work.  Thursday afternoon we had Italian food and then visited the monastery, which Dad was quite impressed with, as well as walking all over the park and down to the lower town.  On Friday morning, Dad came into work with me, and the kids were misbehaved.  Oh well.  I couldn't be too upset, because that afternoon we were heading to the best place in Spain: Salamanca.  Dad wasn't able to visit me when I studied there before, so this would be my first time sharing it with him.
Castilla from the train
us in Plaza Mayor (the best Plaza Mayor in Spain)
Dad in front of the cathedral.
After walking around the old town a bit, we also headed to the river.  Salamanca continues to be gorgeous.
the old Roman bridge and I
the two cathedrals over the Rio Tormes
Dad and the cathedrals... this is the same spot where a very sleepy and jet-lagged me came to watch fireworks on one of my first nights in Salamanca.  Cities like to celebrate my arrival with fireworks!
We walked around some more, and then decided to get some dinner.  We started with gazpacho and salmorejo (cold tomato-based soups, the later thickened with bread), and the waitress laughed at how clean Dad's plate was.  The main course was the Iberian sampler, which was this beauty: steak, pork chops, lamb chops, lomo (pork loin), and sausage.  It also came with a big plate of roasted potatoes.  Only one piece of steak survived, and we took it to go and played a game of pretending to offer it to people for their dogs before we eventually left it in a little park for some doggy or kitty to find and enjoy.
Naturally, I was so hungry that I ate almost everything myself.  Poor Dad.  Look at him up there, hungry and just wanting a piece of meat!  (Note to any non-family readers: whenever a meal has bones, Dad likes to pile all of his bones onto either my or my sister's plate.  It's a running joke.)
After dinner, we wandered Salamanca some more and enjoyed the beautiful Plateresque city in the cool evening.  This is the new Cathedral.  Salamanca has two, and the new one was literally built around the old one because they didn't want to knock it down.
me and one of the Cathedral facades
This sign says, "Salamanca, a city which bewitches all who have enjoyed the pleasure of living there to return."  It's true.  I've written a lot about Salamanca before.  It was my first real experience abroad and in another culture and language.  I really think it majorly shaped who I am today.  I'm always so sad to leave it.  This time, though, I wasn't sad, because I'm going back to Budapest at least semi-long term.  I know I will see Salamanca again.
Plaza Mayor and the Moon
me in Plaza Mayor
Dad in Plaza Mayor
After watching one of the Die Hards on Spanish TV and getting a night's rest in our (admittedly awesome and quite cheap, I was pleased with the find) pension, we were up Saturday morning for chocolate con churros at my old stomping grounds of El Colonial.  After that, we headed to the Cathedrals for a bit of sight-seeing.
new Cathedral
old Cathedral
a chicken for LuLu
We spent a long time visiting the Cathedral and then, of course, stopped by the university so that Dad could find the little frog carved onto the facade, a tradition meant to bring good luck.  For lunch, we had a Balkan Platter at my favorite kebap place in town.  We also saw Mike Wyzowski from Monsters, Inc.
I made sure to bring Dad to the Museo del Toro, which is a fun little museum basically consisting of a crazy bull-fighting aficionados' personal  collection, all crammed haphazardly into a few cluttered rooms.
A toro... note the missing ear.  If the bullfighter does well, one or two ears or even the tail of the bull will be cut off and rewarded to the bullfighter.  These are typically mounted on little plaques, several of which can be seen at this museum.
Dad has also, apparently, learned the art of photo bombing.  The final shot of this series is me with his jacket on my head, thrown perfectly as I took the shot.  After some more wandering, and a few siesta frustrations, we headed back to San Lorenzo.  I made us stir fry for dinner so we wouldn't die of scurvy after too many consecutive meals in Spanish restaurants, and we chilled out and watched Archer.  Archer is a very, very funny show, by the way.
On Sunday we headed into Madrid and did the full sight-seeing round.  It was a very hot day, and by the end we were quite worn out.  Here is Dad in the Retiro Park.
We saw some unhappy police horses nervously going down the stairs in the park.
After the park, we wandered toward Sol, checking out the dirty hippies while drinking lemon slushies.  We got Indian for lunch in Lavapies while Dad laughed about how he was going to exaggerate his description of the area (it's an immigrant-heavy area) to torment Mom.
After lunch, we headed to Plaza Espana.  Here is Dad with Quijote.  Dad essentially is Quijote, so I found this photo fitting.
We also checked out the Temple of Debod and the view from there.  Finally, we visited the outside of the Royal Palace, popped into the Cathedral de la Almudena, and saw Plaza Mayor before surrendering to the heat and the siren call of more episodes of Archer and heading home to relax a bit.
On Monday morning while I was at work, Dad climbed the Abantos mountain behind my house, unwilling to let Balint have been my only guest to have done so.  I had planned to perhaps visit Segovia or Toledo in the afternoon, but we were worn out from so much sightseeing that we just relaxed and played cards, as well as continued to torture Mr. Yoichi cat with the catnip mice (this time on a fishing rod!) that Mom sent for him.  I also helped Dad pack his suitcase with a ton of my belongings to bring home.
Last night's dinner: Dad's tuna.
My sardine fillets with potatoes and Padron peppers.  Cheesecake was also involved.
On Tuesday morning, it was up early to head to the airport.  Happily that went painlessly, except for poor Dad who had to deal with my suitcase that is missing a wheel.  We had breakfast at the airport, and then Dad had to go through security.  It was a great visit where we saw a ton, ate delicious food, and had a lot of fun.  I really, really enjoyed the visit.  It was also so different from Mom's also great visit, so it was fun to experience my parents individually in separate visits.  Dad's visit was also basically my last "thing" here in Spain, and marked the beginning of the end.  So so soon, I will be in America and then in Hungary again, but first it was wonderful to show Dad "my" Spain.

1 comment:

Dad said...

I'll never forget the visit--it was awesome. A touristic rampage!

One of the best weeks ever--thanks again.

Love ya and see you again soon, Dad xoxo

Maybe next time you'll share the meat platter. it looked delicious.