Saturday, May 22, 2010


Located about 45 minutes south of Madrid via train is the town of Aranjuez. Originally the site of a royal summer retreat, it's now a bedroom community of Madrid. The official highlight of the town is the palace and surrounding gardens, which are very impressive, but, I've discovered what the true highlight of the town is. More to follow but first...

This is a shot of the palace that shows just how big and grand this thing is:

I like this shot that shows the side of the palace that faces the gardens and river:

As I mentioned, the gardens are impressive, probably more so than the palace (to me). The gardens seemed to be divided into three distinct areas. The first is in the area between the palace and the center of the town. It's full of fountains and lots of flowers. Very pretty!

The second and third areas are "behind" the palace and are made up of the "small" gardens and the much more extensive "large" garden. This shot shows one of the many pathways throughout the grounds:

For me, the highlight of the palace and grounds was this fountain and sculpture of Baco, the god of wine. It's nice to know that, no matter how big you get, you can still have a six-pack if you drink enough wine.

I mentioned that I encountered what the true highlight of the entire Aranjuez area is, and no, it's not Baco. In fact, the highlight(s) is Paco and his wife Alicia. Wow! Paco had some (probably like 100) secret, unlabeled bottles of wine that he kept pulling out of nowhere and serving up along with the amazing food he kept making. Forget Baco! PACO IS THE GOD OF WINE!!! Here they are in their place serving up an amazing paella that Paco had made:

A super big thank you to Alicia and Paco for having me at their place for a few days. The food, the wine, the conversation, the trip to Madrid, and the trip to Toledo (the next story) were all outstanding. You guys are amazing hosts, great folks, and, along with a bunch of other people I know, make me enjoy life! Thanks also to Diana for the introduction. I owe you a big one too.


  1. Quedas nombrado El Mesías para que divulgues la Nueva Buena: solo hay un dios -Baco- y Darren es su profeta.

    Amigo, un abrazo muy fuerte. Te esperamos muy pronto para seguir compartiendo lugares, risas y mesa.

  2. Hi Darren!!! We have enjoyed your story, though it isn`t our better photo :)

    We enjoy your company and hope that there is a next meeting.. The God Paco will provide of food and good wine for us (It´s part of the secret of our love)

    I hope that there are many opportunities to continue celebrating and enjoying the essential of the life...

    Thanks to you.

  3. And here I thought paella just existed in my Spanish language


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