Madrid at night… So gorgeous!

Ok so when I arrived yesterday I thought Madrid consisted of a bunch of modern high rises… Then tonight I walked over on the other side of town…OMG!!

I also learned that Madrid is one of the most pedestrian friendly cities because most of the major roads are under the city. It was also voted one of europes most livable cities.

gorgeous parks that need to be explored tomorrow!

I did a walking tour today and this is part of the old city walls

Guinness book if world records… Oldest continually operating restaurant

plaza mayor… Many executions were performed here long ago… Having to do with religion of course. Now a vibrant square where people meet and socialize.

finally i met this family from Georgia (the state). He just retired at age 36 and they are traveling around the world until the kids are college age! They have only just begun!!

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Madrid…olé!!

I made it to Madrid this morning and it’s huge and awesome!!

steps at the metro station in Madrid

cute little pool on the 15th floor of my hotel. Thanks capital one points!!

these guys are all holding strings that are attached to each corner of the sheet their goods are on… To make a quick escape I think. They did that in Italy too and ran when the cops came.

the cave restaurants… I’ll be there tomorrow

art class

very cute side streets

the Royal palace

the church across from it which I think is written into dan browns new book, origin

and he wrote about this altar also!

changing of the guards

beautiful fall colors

ok this place!!! Mercado de San Miguel. Amazing!! You can get tapas for 1€. And they are all gorgeous! I ate my way through this place. A woman in Lisbon told me about it.

olives olives olives

drinking wine in the market at noon

sausages to go

A type of baklavah… So flipping good

oh my gosh…. Burrattas with blueberries and almonds…. To. Die. For.

nasty fish

i might get brave tomorrow

barnacles!

pulpo for dinner!

famous churro and chocolate place!!

and then I found a place who sold tickets to flamenco at the last minute for 11€. It was absolutely amazing! Spanish guitar, a guy singing who sounded like the guy in Gypsy Kings, and three amazing dancers. The guy moved his feet so flipping fast it was a blur!

I saw flamenco…. In Madrid…. In Spain!!!

Dubrovnik

I was once very close in proximity to Dubrovnik while visiting Medjugorje but didn’t visit this lovely city in 1999. That was “Pre” Game of Thrones obviously. I wish I had visited it then because it was a little crowded when I was there this time but well worth it none the less. What a gorgeous city it is. The walk around the top of the wall really gave me a feel of what the old town looked like. Always go to the highest area of a town immediately upon arrival to get a lay of the land. A woman told me that long ago while visiting New Zealand and I’ve never forgotten it.

I was inside of a midevil walled city! It didn’t take much to imagine what it must have been like long ago.

It is also well worth a walk to the bus station, beautiful cliffs and a gorgeous harbor to keep an adventurer well entertained.

How I found a great destination… Matera, Italy

Right now I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a flight. Although it’s not a flight to some far off land, it’s still exciting to me… And my mind wanders… To my last big vacation.

The last trip I took was to Italy but the places I went were not so typical. I had previously been to the “Biggie’s”, Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena, and a lovely hilltop town in Tuscany. On that trip, I fell in love… with Italy. Six months later I was back on a plane for more. I knew I wanted to go to southern Italy but where, I wasn’t sure. The way I found the town of Matera is a little strange.

I was watching a documentary about a couple accused of a murder in Italy. The man accused was from the town Bari, Italy. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up, saw some pictures, and started my research on the area all because of something that was totally unrelated. Bizarre, but it eventually lead to my amazing discovery.

While researching, everything I came across pointed to Matera and the surrounding region. My interest was piqued, I bought a ticket and off I went.

This was my first view. My jaw dropped. Matera is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities. It has been inhabited since the 10th millennia, b.c. The main attraction are the cave like dwellings called “sassi”. The Sassi are habitations dug into the rock itself. Around every corner was a picture to be taken.

It is a photographer’s dream! Matera is situated in the “arch” of the boot. Now is the time to go because it has been declared the Italian host of the European capital of culture for 2019. A lot of Europeans don’t even know about it. I was eating dinner next to an English couple and they were curious as to how I found it because they had never heard of it and they were in their 70’s.

These are some of the undeveloped sassi. Airbnb has moved into Matera and the prices are going up.

There are some that you can explore on your own. This is how people were living in the 1950’s along with their farm animals. The Italian government cleared these people out because of disease and squalor. In the 1980’s, they had a thought about the possibility for tourism. Then Mel Gibson moved in to film, “The Passion of the Christ.”

This was my Airbnb.

The restaurant next to my Airbnb. So awesome!!!

The second largest cistern in the world!

Matera at night, spectacular!

The modern square just above the sassi. If you go anywhere this year, make sure you stop in Matera. It does not disappoint!

© 2018 Stacie Tanner. All Rights Reserved.

Saddle mountain!

Another big hike today! Only 5 miles and 1,640 feet of elevation gain, but the hikes continually kick my butt. The Eastern Sierra are super duper challenging but the last few hikes here in Oregon have between pretty darn steep. But when I saw 3 kids under the age of 10 complete it… Well, the challenge was on!

A whole lot of picture taking was going on between Tim and I! Pretty cloudy up top, gotta go back. Wildflowers were amazing!

Friends, Kings, Masons, and peanut butter…

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What a great weekend! It started on Wednesday with a visit from my neighbors in Mammoth, Jeff and Kelly.

We hiked and ate pasta. What could be better?? Then on Friday my friend Kurt from Mammoth was also in town and we had a great dinner at Red Onion Thai on Northwest 23rd. No picture though… Bummer. On Saturday morning after the perfect almond croissant and coffee from St. Honoré Bakery, it was time for a mild walk down the Wilson River trail. Tons of wildflowers.

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Foxgloves!! If you don’t know how these are tied to Vincent Van Gogh… Click here

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Sick and wrong!

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Wild roses!!

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My friend Tim and I decided that the hike was nice but we needed more of a challenge, so we headed for Kings mountain…

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It is a 5 mile round trip hike with 2500 feet of elevation gain. This cat, bugs, did most of it, but in places where a rest was in order, hitchhiked on his owners shoulders. I tried to climb on Tim’s shoulders but he wouldn’t have it for some reason…

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I thought this was Indian paintbrush but it’s something else…. Any guesses?

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Bear grass… So cool

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Bear grass up close…. Gorgeous

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Fungus??

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Gorgeous view from above with a curtain of rain approaching!

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The ferns at the bottom of the trail were amazing… At least 4 feet tall. Very prehistoric looking!

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Crazy looking mushroom…

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Then it was onto McMennamins Grand Lodge. This was a Free Masons Lodge that was built in the 1920’s. The hidden details at the McMennamins properties are always so cool and fun to find.

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The weekend was finished off with homemade bread and peanut butter a la Tim! The food processor that the peanut butter was made with took all of 3 minutes to whip up smooth creamy (or chunky if you prefer) peanut butter. Cinnamon was added to the peanut butter to give it a special kick! //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=staciesblog70-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B005I6ZKCE&asins=B005I6ZKCE&linkId=f659992c3cde20b718cda49a1fae6ec6&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>check out food processor here!

The breadmaker that was used is quite the beaut! The bread was amazingly fluffy and the best part about it…you know what’s in your bread when you make it yourself. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=staciesblog70-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B0067MQM48&asins=B0067MQM48&linkId=7277427953370ff967228d957b1c31e1&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Check out breadmaker here!

I hope you had a great weekend too! 3