|Lunch in the Irish Pub|
After arriving here around 11 a.m. on Friday, it was a day of walking in a beautiful park in sunshine and mild temps, having a few Murphy's Irish Reds over a late lunch in Howard's Irish Pub around the corner, and non-stop catching up with each other. We all have red in the papers and mags about Spain's economic woes, but it is another thing to talk to the employee of an Irish meat importer/exporter who sees it all from the inside. What about an unemployment rate of 48% for young college graduates? Howard's three children are in that very age group (20 – 26), and all of them still live at home. Jobs are very tough to come by, even for smart, bilingual individuals like them.
|The buddies in front of the monastery of El Paular|
After talking the night away in Spanish fashion (dinner at 10 p.m. and us old fogeys hitting the rack at 1:30 a.m.—Sandra made it home from her night on the town at 7 a.m.!!!) we were off to a slow start this morning for a field trip to the monastery El Paular in the hills to the north-west of Madrid. Along the way we stopped in a sleepy little town, Lozoya.
|Saturday morning coffee in Lozoya|
|Cherub, resembling the monk who guided us|
After another walk through an adjacent park that during the summer months is packed with Madrillenos we hit a nearby restaurant, Los Calizos, for a late lunch. We started with artichoke hearts and I followed that up with the most tender lamb that I've ever tasted. Howard explained that the poor little sheep was slaughtered before it ever got to taste anything but mother milk, thus the name cordero lechal asado.
|Tender artichoke hearts with shrimp|
|PETA probably has put a price on my head for eating this baby lamb's shoulder|
|View from the Morcuera Pass going back to Madrid|
|Lidya and Howard showing off the good stuff|
|That's the 2001 Rioja for special friends|
|The black-footed Iberian pig and assorted goodies|
|The master carver at work|
|Beautiful women simply are attracted to me... ah, the lovely Sandra!|