After spending the summer in the U.S., we decided to see more of Europe, beginning in Spain.
With our flights booked, we found ourselves leaving SV’s very tiny airport and heading to NYC.
Flying into New York in the middle of the night…Here’s a view of Long Island. If you look closely, you can see Central Park and Times Square.
We stayed in the TWA hotel at JFK Airport that officially opened in 2019 but was originally built as a terminal in the early 60’s.
They’ve done their best to keep the authenticity of the time frame in which the hotel was built, so red and white are the themed colors.
The amenities of the rooms…not bad, I must say.
The next morning, we went back in time and had breakfast in a 60’s diner.
Our flight to Spain wasn’t for a while…the bad news was that we had a long layover, but the good news was that we had a long layover.
The hotel had several restaurants, a museum, an airplane from the 50’s that was open for tours, and other one of a kind things that kept us busy until our next flight.
This Lockheed Constellation L-1649 Starliner was shipped to the TWA and was the last model of the Lockheed Constellation line of airliners, built from 1956 to 1958.
The red and white theme continued in the Starliner, which had been converted into a cocktail bar.
The cockpit had not been transformed, however, and is still in its original condition.
At the museum, an airline ticket from May 4th, 1954 was on display.
Still not quite done with the glamour of this place…there was a rooftop infinity pool that overlooked the runways of JFK.
And that’s all she wrote. It was time to head to Spain.
First impression of Spain: it was hot! From the airport, we took a metro to downtown Madrid and then walked for about a mile to our lodging.
Street view as seen from our Airbnb’s window.
Due to jet lag, we woke up very, very early so we were ready to begin exploring the city by 6 in the morning.
This is The Plaza Mayor, which was nearly empty when we walked through it at 7 in the morning. It was built in the 17th-century during Philip III’s reign and was a center for commerce, ceremonial events, bullfights, dramatic performances, knightly tournaments – needless to say, I’ll bet those walls could tell some good stories. Nowadays, the plaza is surrounded by outdoor cafés and restaurants.
Early morning view in Madrid near the Palacio, the 18th-century Royal Palace of Madrid.
Have you ever wondered what a few minutes in Madrid would sound like? Wonder no more 😉 Use headphones for a better listening experience since this video was recorded with a special microphone that captures sound coming from both sides, just as a human ear would.
The video was recorded as we walked this route shown in the map below:
We then came across the Almudena Cathedral (Santa María la Real de La Almudena) – a Catholic church.
People began talking about building it in the 16th century, but the cost of expanding the Empire was thought to be more important, and besides that, they really wanted to make the cathedral as big as possible. So, the church wasn’t actually built until 1879.
A bit of a more modern side of Madrid…discovered as we searched for a public restroom.
We realized we’d have more time and energy to see Madrid if we rode bikes instead of walking. For that reason, we rented these electronic bikes, which were simply amazing.
This lake is in the Parque Retiro and was built between 1634 and 1636. It was used to host water shows back in the day.
A straight on view of some typical apartments in Madrid. Spain’s buildings had a lot more pinks and purples than we’d noticed in other countries.
Although we were staying in Madrid, we also booked a tour to see the city of Segovia, which is an extremely old city (originally built in the 1st and 2nd century BC), about 2 hours north of Madrid.
The first thing that we saw when we approached the city was this: the Aqueduct of Segovia. This Roman aqueduct was used to transport water through the city 2,000 years ago.
The aqueduct originally spanned 9 miles long and took 10 years to build.
Passing by the aqueduct while on our tour. To my left, a woman from Poland and behind us, her boyfriend from France. Both of them spoke perfect English and we enjoyed getting to know them on the tour.
For size reference, the aqueduct was incredibly large. It’s amazing that they were able to build something so powerful such a long time ago.
The first part of our tour was on foot. Our guide walked us to several main attractions and explained the history in both English and Spanish.
This view of the countryside was taken outside a window of a Gothic Cathedral we were touring (in picture below, built in the mid 1500’s).
We also toured the Alcázar of Segovia, which was built around 1120 and influenced Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle.
Inside the Alcázar of Segovia
The Alcázar of Segovia can be seen on the distant hill.
Headin’ down a narrow street in Segovia with some people on our tour. The couple from Polland and France up ahead and to the right with the backpack, a woman from Argentina.
The second part of our tour was on electronic bikes and we were taken to some old villages and other parts of the countryside.
Behind Hunter is our 2nd guide, who lead us through the rest of Segovia on e-bikes.
Coming to the end of our tour, we headed back to the main entrance of Segovia where our tour van took us back to Madrid.
And from there we were off to another European country…
Follow the adventures!