Part One
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.4 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third largest in the European Union after London and Paris The city spans a total of 604.3 km (233.3 sq mi).

The city is located on the Manzanares river in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid (which comprises the city of Madrid, its conurbation and extended suburbs and villages); this community is bordered by the autonomous communities of Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political center of Spain. 

While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the Royal Palace of Madrid; the Teatro Real (Royal theatre) with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro park, founded in 1631; the 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives; an archaeological museum; and the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three art museums: Prado Museum, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.
The jet arrived at the Madrid Airport and all our little friends made their way through Customs.  Some, it appeared, were delayed.

I wonder why?!

Also, Boogie and Emma Y had taken their plan (to fit Dasher up with a girlfriend) very seriously!
Boomer and Nico had been finally cleared to go. (It appeared they had failed to declare some of their 'stuff', as Boomer put it.)  

After all, he couldn't help being a hoarder, and trying to get ALL his weird and wonderful souvenirs through Customs without questions being asked! And Nico had agreed to carry some of Morgan's collection of perfumes, cosmetics,  gowns and all the cameras and DVD players she was taking back for her family and friends at home!  It must have appeared VERY suspicious for Nico to be carrying all those things, as well as his own!

Anyway, they were all safely on board the coach and on their way to their hotel.

It was early, and no one wanted to waste time, so they took off in groups to explore this wonderful city. Some spoke Spanish, so that made things much easier. 

One group were outside the building named SANTA LUCIA  and Stella found this name confusing.

Others were more interested in the sculpture!

Wouldn't you just know that some of the girls would want to make straight for the SHOPS!  YEAH!

Kelsie D was 'In Like Flynn', getting all the bargains (if there were any to be got!) Poor Teddy got trapped into carrying her parcels, but perhaps he thought it was worth it!

Believe it or not, Morgan, who had got Nico into trouble with Customs, was buying MORE for the poor lad to carry around for her! 

Nico and Teddy exchanged pained glances as their girls emerged from the shop with triumphant looks on their faces - and cases full of souvenirs!
For those interested in the Aussie 'strine' in the story, here is a link:

As the evening drew near, hunger pangs began to hit empty tummies, and one group was delighted to find a familiar haunt. McDonald's!  All they needed now to feel right at home, was a KFC!
Back at the hotel, Jimmy, the Matador, was entertaining some of the girls. 

They had been asking him about Bullfights, and he was filling them in on what Bullfighting meant to the Canine Matadors. It was VERY different from what humans practised.

Quietly and firmly he gave his opinions on what was regarded by humans as a 'sport'. 

"Sport, "  he began, "is something that gives pleasure to all participants."  He paused to moisten his lips, then continued in that same soft tone.

"We are friends with the Bulls, and regard them as our equals. We do not carry weapons, but rely on skill in movement to score points."

He had the girls' rapt attention now.

"If the Bull succeeds in knocking us over three times, he wins the game." 

"What are points awarded for?"  asked Brandi L. The other girls nodded their heads with interest.

"Well,"  continued Jimmy with a smile. "Points are awarded to the Matador for each pass, and for each time he is able to prevent the bull from making physical contact with him.  If the Bull hits him, or causes him to drop his cape, he loses points and the points go to the Bull. If the Bull actually knocks him to the ground, he loses twice the points, and if he does this three times, the Matador is out, and the Bull is the winner."

"And how does the Matador win?"  asked Hannah.

Jimmy clapped one paw to his face and laughed. "Ah, now that is difficult to explain. The Matador has to achieve 100 points. If he reaches the 100 before the Bull can bring him to the ground three times, then HE is the winner!  The worst that can happen is we both get a few bruises and scratches! No killing, no pain, no maiming and no advantages taken by one over the other. The bull does not gore his opponent, and the Matador does not carry weapons of violence. We regard it as a sport, and we part as friends after - sort of like a football match!"

The girls said they wouldn't mind watching THAT kind of bullfight. Then, to their delight, Jimmy took a photo from his album and passed it around for them to see. It was of his last Bullfight in Madrid before he retired to live in the US. It showed him with the Bull he had just defeated. They were showing mutual respect for each other's skills.

It was a nice ending to the day.

A close view of Jimmy's photo
The following morning they set out to see more of the sights before the big concert that night, when Scooch and Jimmy would be dancing on stage, and the Ballerinas would also be performing.

Some of them found a challenge in ascending and descending some steps by an ancient Roman Aqueduct in Segovia, just a 30 minute train ride from Madrid.
Vamos a brindar con un trago? 

(You win! Let's go for a drink?)


The "El Alcazar de Segovia" or Segovia castle is a prominent and important landmark in Segovia and in many battles has been the last refuge of the people of the city. For a building that has seen off invaders and revolts alike its architectural aspect is one of beauty and many locals lovingly refer to it as the inspiration of the Disney castle (not that Walt Disney ever knew of the existence of El Alcazar when drawing up Snow Whites castle).

For visitors to Segovia the castle offers panoramic views accross the city, the plains of Castilla y Leon and the mountains of the Sierra de Guadarama. On the inside El Alcazar de Segovia contains some splendid examples of middle ages armour and an insight into how life inside the castle was during times of royal visits throughout the ages.

Another group were keen to look at the 'El Alcazar de Segovia' - which was a castle of great beauty. It was like something out of a Fairy Tale!   Below is a brief description:
The children couldn't wait to see inside the Castle. Keeva and Buddy took them to see the Armoury Room, and of course, being kids, they just HAD to get up on the horse where the 'Knight in Shining Armour' was seated.

Little Lola was singing an old nursery rhyme, while Barnaby imagined being a Spanish Knight.

It seemed that Havisham had been doing a bit of clairvoyance on the side, and Luke was patiently awaiting his turn on the horse, while Hurley did what Hurley did best!
If you've been thinking that the four 'Cheeky Lads' have been quiet and well behaved of late, you're likely to change your opinion when you see their latest escapade.

No words necessary!
Everyone was looking forward to attending the big concert in Madrid. Five of their favourite entertainers would be performing. Scooch, the Flamenco dancer with Jimmy as her partner, and then, the three Ballerinas.

It promised to be a most exciting evening.

They took their seats and waited for their friends to come on stage. Scooch and Jimmy were the first to make an entrance.

The Spanish guitars began to play and Scooch looked captivating in her outfit. Jimmy was so handsome, and all the girls in the audience sighed as he demonstrated his dancing skills.

As always, Scooch was fantastic!

The audience LOVED them!  They remained for an encore, and several of the girls were considering taking lessons in Flamenco Dancing!  

After the applause died down and everyone was back in their seat, the programme continued.  The other items were good, but our friends were counting the minutes until it would be time for the ballerinas to come onto the platform.

They had quite a wait, as the ballerinas were the last on the programme. 

No one knew just what they were going to perform this time, as it was not indicated on the programme. It was to be a surprise.

After the second last act finished, there was a buzz as the curtain was lowered to prepare the stage. They could hear the stage hands moving props and then - it began. The curtain was raised, and the spot light focused on Brandy G and Darcy as they flitted onto the stage. They were wearing pink tutus, and appeared to be waiting for Khaki, who made her entrance in white.  The music was THE SWAN by Saint-Saens.

Khaki was performing THE DYING SWAN - accompanied by her attendants, Brandi G and Darcy.

The performance was beautiful beyond description!

Brandy G, Darcy and Khaki in the photo taken by Hurley at the end of their magnificent performance.
It was so beautiful, and so moving, that even the four cheeky lads had tears in their eyes as they sprung to their feet, and clapped and cheered these beautiful girls who had touched the hearts of every person in the audience.

Everyone admires a Swan, and dogs are no exception. The composer, Saint-Saens, had captured the pure elegance of these lovely creatures, and the Ballerinas had portrayed them with such sensitivity and delicacy in that oh, so perfect choreography, that the mood remained even after they had left the stage and the concert was over.

Surely that is the mark of true Artistry - when you can be so moved, that you take the beauty away with you, .... in your heart.


The next morning they would be leaving Madrid, and setting out on their way to the historic ASTURIAS