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Por que? Porque...

Por que (Why)? Porque (Because)...

Por que are we heading to the train station? Porque we're hopping aboard the AVE for our stay in Spain's capital and largest city, Madrid. We enjoyed a very smooth and rapidamente trip through the Spanish countryside, making it from Barcelona to Madrid in just under three hours. Part of the ride took us through the plains of La Mancha, the land of Don Quixote, Sancho and Dulcinea. (No ferocious windmill sightings occurred.)

Upon our arrival in Madrid, we took a quick walking tour of the city — stopping by the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun), considered not just the center/heart of Madrid, but of all of Spain. From there, we took in the street performers of the Plaza Mayor and strolled past Madrid's Palacio Royale, home to Spanish royalty since the 18th century and the site of royal residence since the Middle Ages. 

Our free afternoon saw some visiting museums, some touring the palace and some sampling local tapas (small bites, or apps) and the be-all, end-all of Spanish sweet treats — chocolate con churros — wonderful, warm donut sticks dipped in a thick, rich chocolate sauce. Por que are your pants so tight? Porque the most famous churros stand is open 24 hours. 

Tomorrow we'll enjoy a visit to the pride of Madrid — El Prado — Spain's incredible art museum rivaled only by the Louvre. Por que is the Prado so great? Porque we will marvel at masterpieces by Diego Velasquez (including Las Meninas), Francisco Goya and will visit a sister museum of modern art, La Reina Sofia, to view Picasso's famous protest work, Guernica. 

Por que are so many locals dressed in costume? Porque the celebration of Carnivale is still in full swing. We've strolled sidewalks next to The Incredibles, aliens, a Phantom of the Opera and even a baby's stroller decked out like R2-D2, just to name a few! Several other revelers go the route of wearing masks, wigs and tutus. There are certain Spanish expressions we all planned on using this week:

- Hola, soy Americano/Americana. (Hello, I am American.)

- Donde estan los servicios? (Where are the bathrooms?)

And so on. 

There is one Spanish expression we didn't plan ahead for:

- Miren a estas chicas vestidas de girafas! (Check out those girls dressed like giraffes!)

Por que? Sometimes the best answer is simple - Porque. 

Por que? Porque...