HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m Helen Julia Lafollete Culley Burdet Mansfeild Culpepper the 3rd!!!!! (Or I’d like to be, what a grand title to boom out into the ears of my cheering fans!) I’m the youngest, most interesting, and cutest of the entire Culpepper family, by far the best (Also not a scrap of modesty). But putting that aside, in this blog I’ll be covering the funny and unique animals, also any intriguing musicians we hear, as well as some of my fascinating journeys, fighting demons and monsters (Fine, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit).
My first entry will be on our first lovely day in Madrid! I woke early in the morning to find that I had the horror of JETLAG!! DA DA DAAAAAA!!! (Big dramatic music!) I was in bed the entire morning with a pounding headache, no interesting things there, so I’ll skip to when we exited to hotel into the crowded street. We had a great muffin at a café that had doors that slide oddly so we couldn’t figure out how to get in t first ¡AWKWARD! So then we ran a few errands and went into the glorious train station!!!!! With it’s beautiful Ironwork it is truly one of the grand sights of all of Madrid! Especially because of the huge sentries standing guard over all of the tiny humans, and they are the first animals I will wright on. These mystical beasts are half lion, bat, worm, and Capricorn! I call them Batawormions! Well maybe since their metal they don’t count as real lions or animals, but what’s a world without stretching the imagination!!!! J
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it;s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities” – Dr. Seuss
However, one of the best parts was the inside of the Train station! Besides a unique and pretty market, tere was an atrium and a pond full of…… dramatic pause……….. TURTLES. They were flopped on logs, sun bathing, swimming and playing, and climbing to the top of each other making a big stack of reptile, like Yertile the Turtle himself! So after that, we went to an interesting Chinese place, had a sweltering walk, and finally went to 2 museums. The first one was the Prado where we saw paintings of the royal family members and princesses by Velasquez and Goya (in my opinion, the full painting of the royal family was beautiful, but Goya was quite the shady character in the background hiding in the shadows……. BOO!)
While we were there we saw guitar and xylophone street performers! They were very good and seemed to be friends. The guitarist even played some American tunes.
Outside of that first museum we saw another amazing animal that I’d never think to be in Madrid! Green parrots! Their nest was settled comfortably in one of the tree’s large branches. The nest was enclosed like a giant 9-fooot pouch with a tiny opening at one end to fly through. I couldn’t get a good picture of the green birds, however they were VERY noisy! I even found a green feather on the side walk. (See below) So these mysterious parrots turned out to be Monk Parrots, which have spread rapidly through Madrid. Probably introduced as a pet, the Monk Parrots are as I said before, EXTREMELY noisy and breed a lot, so it amounts to a huge amount of sound! The people of Madrid are actually quite angry at this parrot for disturbing the calmness of parks like the Buen Retiro. They also push out other native species and feed on newly-seeded lawns.
Raccoons, another species that was sold as pets, have even become a bigger problem than the parrots! Because of their carrying of rabbis, parasites that attack the human nervous system, they eat bird eggs, they eat the young of protected species, and have spread like wildfire! War has been declared by the people of Madrid against these black masked burglars! The city authorized “the capture and death of any specimen” of raccoon, but don’t want to use poison.
Moving on, we went to the Reina Sofia museum and saw Picasso’s Guernica. A heart wrenching depiction of the fire bombs that raged through the town, slaughtering many. A powerful image is one of the paintings the Picasso painted of a devastated women after the bombing. Her mouth was open in silent rage and her eyes spoke of unspeakable terror.
On a happier note, I saw the exact place, a bench, where I lost my sketchpad 4 years ago! A kind Spanish English-speaking professor picked it up for me and sent it via-post to our house only about a month after leaving Spain. Someday I hope to say thank you.
We went to another café and saw yet another street performer! An Accordionist! He would walk up and down the street of cafés and serenade each one with music and then the people would drop money into his hat. There was always a jolly smile on his face.
Anyways, I’m writing too much so I’ll come to an end. We walked back through the heat at 8 and everyone was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!!! The Spanish know how to stay up LATE! I was impressed! So then we had room service while listening/watching Sponge Bob or Bobe Sponga in Spanish (Sponge Bob has a REALLY deep voice in Spanish!). Then we went to bed.
Today was good, Today was fun, Tomorrow is another one.