Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Madrid & Toledo

A few days ago my mother came to visit from Argentina to spend Luc's b-day and the holidays with us.
She came with her boyfriend Osvaldo who drives (neither my mum, nor I do), so he took us where I never go: Madrid.
It's a 3 days holiday, so it was a little bit crowded and it was raining, especially yesterday.

When we arrived at Madrid it was 5pm., so we didn't do much; I rather start visiting a place I don't know early in the morning,
but it wasn't me who was driving.
The first thing we did, was buying an umbrella because it started raining the moment we parked the car.. orz

We started walking and went to the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun), which was full of tourists like us, but we managed to take some photos.
This is the place where the people of Madrid gather to receive the new year and eat the 12 grapes.

Puerta del Sol, Madrid 01
Puerta del Sol, Madrid 02
Puerta del Sol, Madrid 03

It was funny because I suddenly spotted three guys with funny wigs, then I run to take a pic of them, later we found out that every-fucking-one was wearing one.

People with Wigs

I couldn't leave the place without a photo with the bear, symbol of Madrid.

Bear Statue 02
Bear Statue 01

On our way to the Plaza Mayor we run into the Deputy Congress, and since I always see it on the news I took a photo.. xDD

Madrid's Deputy Congress

Luc and I were starving since we didn't eat, thinking they haven't eaten either; pretty much the incommunication I experienced with my mother the first week.. xDD
So we bought some donuts at Dunkin' Donuts, which I wish I've gotten some photos, but we were too hungry and there were too much people around to stop and take a photo xD

We finally made it to the Plaza Mayor, which was really near, but like I said it was really crowded, so everything took an eternity.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid 01
Plaza Mayor, Madrid 02

It's a tradition on these holidays, shops with x-mas stock, to be placed in the centre of the square, and since Luc wanted something, we took a look around.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid 03
Plaza Mayor, Madrid 04
Plaza Mayor, Madrid 05
Plaza Mayor, Madrid 06

There was also a merry-go-round which I wanted to ride, but didn't; Luc did.

Plaza Mayor, Madrid 07
Plaza Mayor, Madrid 08

On our way back to the parking, I spotted a building with a sign that said "Sanatorio de Muñecos" (Doll's Hospital), which I found super cute! And reminded of something of my childhood.

Dolls Hospital, Preciados Street

All Madrid was dressed for X-mas, but most of the photos came out really crappy..

X-mas Decoration 01
X-mas Decoration 02

Back in Toledo we decided to go to a restaurant. It's name is "La Abadía", apparently is a very "in" place right now.., but I found it crappy, and the service sucks! Not to mention the food which also sucks.. xDD But since everyone loved it I kept my mouth shut, well, no.., not really.. xDD

La Abadia Restaurant 01
La Abadia Restaurant 05

I forgot to take a photo of the food, but really, you are not missing anything. I did remember to take some of the desserts. At least the ice-cream was good.

La Abadia Restaurant 02
La Abadia Restaurant 03
La Abadia Restaurant 04

On our way out I took a photo of my clothes; I wore my MILK dress.

La Abadia Restaurant 06
Street, Toledo 01
Street, Toledo 02

Friday, May 7, 2010

Trip Day 7: Tsukiji Market, Roppongi, Asakusa & Ikebukuro (March 26th) -part 2-

Well, here I am with the second part of yesterday's post! It's all about Asakusa, a place full of temples and tourists!

Public transport is very expensive in Tokyo, especially if you want to visit lots of places connected by different train lines or metro; so instead of paying overpriced tickets but arriving at the exact station we wanted, we paid less a walk a little so we got to see a little of the area instead of taking the train for everything..

So on our way to Asakusa, we walked by the Sumida-gawa (or River Sumida) where we saw quite a few homeless people.
We walked for a while, and as we were approaching Asakusa district, the Asahi Beer Building (AKA The Poop Building) was getting bigger and bigger.
We all love the golden poop, don't we? xDDD

Sumida-gawa 01

Sumida-gawa 02

Asahi Beer Building (AKA The Poop Building)

Once there, the sun started making its way through the clouds, which we thanked A LOT!
And I don't know how to explain this.., but I think this place has some kind of magic, good vibrations all over the place, everyone looked happy and were so nice despite all the people cluttering the streets and the shops.

Here are some photos of the shops and Nakamise-dori (or Nakamise street).

A cook making noodles..

Noodle Making 01

Noodle Making 02



Geta shop.., take look a the man, after talking to the other guy, he left running down the street..

Geta Shop 02 Geta Shop 01

This was a sweets shop, and they were also selling 'ningyo-yaki' (you can see the machine in the photo), and even if I'm not too fond of Anko, they were delicious!!

Ningyo-yaki Making


A masks shop.., we wanted to buy one, but they were so fragile that we were afraid it would break in the suitcase.. We wanted the crow one,sadly it's not pictured here.. ;_;

Noh Masks

Finally we made it to the Kaminarimon (or Thunder Gate), the first gate that leads to Senso-ji Shrine.
In this photo you can see the south face of the giant 'chochin' (or lantern) that hangs under the gate and reads 'Kaminarimon' and the upper tablet reads 'Kinryū-zan' (or Golden Dragon Mountain) and references the Senso-ji.

Kaminarimon South Face

There are four statues under the gate, two on the south face and other two on the north face.
On the south face there are the Shinto gods Fūjin, the god of wind, located on the east side of the gate, and Raijin, the god of thunder and lightning, located on the west side.

I don't know why I only got a photo of Fujin, if Raijin is cooler looking.. ¬.¬

Kaminarimon South Face: Fūjin

And here you can see 'Kaminarimon' North face, with the lantern and the other two statues.

Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon)

If you pay attention, the writing on the lantern is different than on the south face, that's why on the north face it says 'Furaijinmon', which is the official name of the gate.

Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon)

On this side of the gate, the statues are of the Buddhist god Tenryū on the east, and the goddess Kinryū on the west side.

Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon): Tenryū Kaminarimon North Face (Furaijinmon): Kinryū

And here a photo of the giant lantern's bottom, where a dragon is carved in wood.
All the people that passed under it touched it, so I wanted to do the same, only I have to jump to reach it! xDDD

Kaminarimon Lantern's Bottom

We finally reached the 'Hōzōmon' (or Treasure-House Gate), the second gate that leads to the Senso-ji.
In this gate there are three lanterns and two similar statues located on the south face.

Hōzōmon South Face

These statues represent 'Niō', the guardian deity of the Buddha. Because of these statues, the gate was originally called the 'Niōmon' (or Niō Gate) before it was renamed the 'Hōzōmon'.

Hōzōmon South Face: Niō Hōzōmon South Face: Niō

And here is one of the two copper 'Tōrō' (or lantern), it's so beautiful!!!

Hōzōmon Copper Tōrō

On the north face of the gate there are the 'O-Waraji' (or straw sandals).

O-Waraji O-Waraji

On one side of this gate there is the 'Goju no To' (or Five-Storied Pagoda) founded in 942, later rebuilt in 1648; and reconstructed in 1973 due to the fire that burnt it in 1945 during WWII.
A beautiful Pagoda, if you ask me.. ♥

Goju no To (Five-Storied Pagoda)

Goju no To (Five-Storied Pagoda) Goju no To (Five-Storied Pagoda)

Here is Luc leaving his Omikuji at the shrine..
And if you pay attention, you can see a white wall at the back.., well, guess what, this shrine was also being remodelled!! WTF?! U.U


Luc in the 'O-koro', which is not a big ashtray.. xDD
It's a big thurible that's said its smoke healing illnesses and giving strength to the weak.


Here's the 'Senso-ji', and the only photo you'll see since I couldn't take a photo of the outside because of what I stated before, and the inside was too dark and all the photos came out blurry.. U.U
But this shrine is the oldest shrine in Tokyo, being built in 645.

Sensō-ji Shrine

Behind the shrine there is this beautiful ground with trees, plants and water running under the bridges..

Sensō-ji Grounds

This is me portraying Raijin.. xDDDD

Raijin (me) and Fūjin

And one of my happiest moments was when we found this Taiyaki shop!!
Ahhh, so many taiyaki in different flavours.
What makes me mad is the fact that I bought this taiyaki pan almost 2 years ago and my husband isn't capable of buying the correct plug to be able to use it! >.< Taiyaki Making 01

Taiyaki Making 02

Taiyaki Display Taiyaki

I went for the 'soft custard kurimu' one, 'chokoreeto' for Luc and 'sakura' for my husband.
So yummy!!!!! ♥♥

Taiyaki Eating 01 Taiyaki Eating 02

After eating the taiyaki, we left Asakusa and headed out ways to Ikebukuro, but in our way, we passed by Bandai building and these cuties were on the outside.. :DD

Bandai Building: Doraemon

Bandai Building: Cinnamoroll Bandai Building: Mametchi (Tamagotchi)

Bandai Building: Ultraman Bandai Building: Gundam

When we arrived at Ikebukuro, we went to 'Sunshine City' a BIIIIIG mall with aquarium, observatory, zoo and many more things.
Sadly we didn't visit any of this, we just bought a few things (not without a further fight) and went back to 'Baba'.
Here's a fountain inside the mall..

Sunshine City

And here is the Amlux building (or Toyota building), so beautiful at night!!!

Amlux (Toyota Building)

Well, I hope you liked it, and didn't get tired of all the explanations about Asakusa.. xDDD
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