We arrived at Madrid’s Barajas airport. The last time we flew into the older part of the airport, but this time we arrived in the newer part, which is beautiful. A bit of history: The airport was originally built in 1927 and of course has gone through numerous remodels since then. This newest terminal was built in 2004, so it is quite new. The architecture is very attractive!
This time while in Madrid we decided to try out a different hotel. We really liked our stay at the Hotel Plaza Mayor last time, but just wanted to stay somewhere different. We picked the Hotel Victoria because it was located in what seemed to be an interesting side street very close to Puerta del Sol.
See what a cool side street?
There were all these awesome tiles decorating the exterior walls of shops and restaurants.
…and it was right down the street from the Museo del Jamon!
Remember? We went there on our last trip.
There were quite a few photo opps just within the block outside the Hotel Victoria. Here is Curt being oh-so-serious in front of another set of tiles. (We did NOT go to another bullfight, by the way. Once was enough for us, I think!)
Even though we were feeling under the weather, we decided to stroll around Albox and investigate this quaint town. Every town has a “Plaza Mayor” and this one was really lovely.
There was a beautiful church at one end of the plaza, and we went in to see the architecture and take some pictures. It was truly beautiful. It always amazes me to see how intricate the design of a small town church is in Europe and here in the States our modern churches are so “cookie cutter.”
Eglésia de Santa Maria
We left the church and sat on a bench in front on the Plaza Mayor to relax. A lot of people started arriving and we wondered what was going on because it seemed an odd time for Mass. Soon we realized people were arriving for a funeral service and so we left the bench and walked around the town. Albox is a typical little Andalucian town, with beautiful winding streets covered in mosaic tile.
Tiles on the wall of a building along one of the side streets in Albox
This picture below is the coat of arms for the city of Albox. We thought it was very interesting because it depicts the fruit trees which are so abundant here, but it also shows a representation of the river which is now a totally dry riverbed. The only time there is water in the riverbed is during a rain, but then it quickly dries up again. We were baffled by this because it is said that long ago people came and fished on the banks of the river Almanzora, but now it is only a dry and dusty rambla. How did this happen? One woman told us that Franco dammed the river to stop the peasants from having access to water for their crops, but try as I have to validate or dispute this, I can find no information one way or another. Anything I read tells me: “The river used to be full, but now is at most a small trickle.” and that is that.
Maybe we will find out the story behind the dried up river some day.
Albox coat of arms
Driving in the dry riverbed!