I want to publicly congratulate Mr. King of Jamaica Plain, MA for winning our 13th Anniversary Giveaway. He should be receiving his brand new Gulftown system shortly and hopefully he'll be kind enough to share some pics and impressions with us when he does.

A number of other companies have shipped in giveaway goodies to celebrate our 13th anniversary as well as the launch of the new site. I will be overseeing a giveaway of one product per day starting later this month. Why the delay? I'm taking a vacation.

I've been going full speed for the past several months here on AT and am nearing the point where I need a short break. So later tonight, barring any ash cloud related issues, I will be boarding a flight to Madrid, Spain. I've never been, but everyone tells me it's a great place to go so I'm going. I'll be in Madrid, Granada and Seville if you have any suggestions on things to do, places to visit or deliciousness to eat. I'll be back by the 21st (again, assuming no ash cloud related issues) and hopefully fully recharged to handle things going forward.

The HTC Incredible review was the last thing I was able to get off my plate so I suggest taking a look at that. I have Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro in the lab as well as some more SSDs and CPUs to deal with when I get back. 

I'm leaving you all in good hands as we've got Jarred, Ryan and Raja manning the helm while I'm gone. John Campion, our web developer, will also be working on fixes and updates to the site code. We've got dozens of new features to roll out over the coming months so expect to see some appear while I'm gone.

Have fun guys, I'll promise I'll be back soon :)

P.S. For those of you asking for international giveaways, the feedback from our sweepstakes lawyer has been this: to focus on expanding the reach on a country by country basis. When I get back I'm going to go down the list based on traffic from various countries and work on adding them to the regions we're able to conduct giveaways in.

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  • Deiviz - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    OK, so you are in my city...

    You are lucky, because you have picked one of the best times for being here. Next weekend we celebrate the main local festivity in the city, San Isidro, who happens to be (was, better) the local only catholic saint of the city, so you will have plenty of stuff to do, if you are willing to give up some of your rest time. First of all, I don´t know if you are into that, but we have now the major bullfighting event in the world, well, we are very few countries who do that kind of stuff, but, worth seeing anyway.
    After that, I would recommend taking a walk (night walk) into the neighbourhood called Las Vistillas. Ask in your hotel, won´t be dissapointed. Music, drinks, and a different kind of party, all on the street.
    If you are into museums, well, we have probably one of the largest museum area concentrated just in the center of Madrid, ask for the Prado, Reina Sofia (with Picasso´s Guernica), Thyssen Museum, they are huge and just a few meters separated from one another.
    Then, if you like local things, make sure to visit the Old Austria´s Neighbourhood, plenty of little local pubs, when you can eat something and have a drink.
    For a rest in nature, well almost, we have the Retiro´s park, big for spanish standards.

    To eat, do try Jamon de Jabugo, and make special emphasis on 'de Jabugo' thing. There are many Jamones, but none like that. Try too Oreja al ajillo (Garlic spiced pig´s ear). If you overcome your first instinct when you read that, you will find a rare exquisite dish. No one leaves Spain without tryng spanish omelette (Tortilla de Patata), really good and kind of a national monument around here. One advice, go to little places to eat, cheaper and a lot better.

    If you want to go out at night in a most regular kind of local, like disco-bars, I recommend you Huertas St., or you can go to a place called Alonso Martinez, a little bit more far away from the center, more of a local place, as opposite to Huertas, crowded with tourists. if you want to step up the social class you want to hang out with, you can try Brasil Avenue, Guzman el Bueno, and some bars around the Serrano street. Boring for my taste but...

    Seville, uh, been there once didn´t like it. No offence meant. Really cheap. Dio visit Cordoba, near Seville and Alhambra in Granada if you have the time.

    Spend a nice time around here!
    Reply
  • Drazick - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    By the way, Next time you're after a vacation - Why don't you come to Israel.

    Best place to hang out guaranteed :-).
    Reply
  • cgramer - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Hi, Anand! I hope you have a wonderful vacation! Are you bringing any cool new mobile tech items to casually review while you're traveling? :-) Reply
  • jed22281 - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Please bring giveaways to Oz! (Australia)
    Or drop bears will be upon you! ;)
    Reply
  • Hlafordlaes - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Too bad you will not be in Barcelona... free round of tapas and glass of Rioja waiting for you in my tapas bar just off the Ramblas if you do make it, a small return for your long years of excellent articles. PM if you decide to make it here after all (worth it for all the Gaudí, Miró and Picasso).

    While in Madrid there are easy side trips to Toledo and Segovia, both really nice and local sites are all walkable.

    [Feel free to PM if you encounter any difficulties in your travels and need translation or guidance.]
    Reply
  • freezervv - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    If you consider standing and looking at art interesting, seconded and thirded and fourthed: go to Museo del Prado and Reina Sofia!

    The former holds some late Renaissance stuff that, hands down, is the finest art I've seen in the world. Superior to the Louvre in Paris by far. The Netherlands was ruled by the Spanish crown during that period, and suffice it to say that in the divorce Spain got some amazing art. The Caravaggios alone are worth the price of admission.

    The Reina Sofia has Guernica. Suffice it to say, I never "got" the painting studying it in textbooks. Seeing it in person changed that. You'll see what I mean if you go. They also have a nice collection of paintings by Dalí: specifically some of his earlier stuff that he's (sadly) not as well known for (as it doesn't feature "cool" dripping clocks).

    I believe both were within walking distance of each other, but I'm a big walker. And in Madrid, every stroll tends to take you past breathtakingly beautiful architecture as well, so there is that. The Thyssen is also nearby, but I would give that one a pass (small, good art, but time better spent exploring Madrid).

    Other than art: a warning. Eight o'clock at night is not dinnertime for Spaniards. They're just waking up and getting ready to go out at that point. A lot of restaurants won't *open* until nine or ten at night. And people are still having dinner at midnight. This can be disconcerting when an American at first finds a seeming lack of available food during normal dinner hours.

    And try the sangria. It will make you weep when you return to the States, because you won't find its equal, but it will also make you weep in Madrid, because it is the most delicious beverage you'll have ever tasted.

    Enjoy the time off. :)
    Reply
  • jensend - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Unfortunately I had trouble entering the giveaway because I couldn't post a comment due to site errors. Reply
  • jensend - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    Hey, it's finally working again! I was just entering that last one as a test. Reply
  • javipas - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link

    It's nice to see you've chosen a nice place such as my home town to have some rest ;) Deiviz has made good points and recommendations, so I would suggest:

    1. In fact on Saturday 15th is the local holidays in Madrid, San Isidro. If you want to see typical costumes, dances and music from the old days, you should pay a visit to the Pradera de San Isidro (Marques de Vadillo Subway station). From there just follow the people: tons of madrilians go there to spend the day at this big park, where you can enjoy also typical food.

    2. The center of Madrid (Sol subway station, alternatives, Callao, Gran Vía, Opera) is beautiful. You can visit the Puerta del Sol, where lots of people celebrate new year's eve with our famous "campanadas" (a countdown from 12 to 0, each one accompanied with the eating of a grape).

    3. A 5-10 minutes walk from there takes you to the Plaza Mayor, one of the typical tourist attractions, where you can take a seat and eat something or just enter bars such as Casa Rua to ask for one of the famous bocadillos de calamares (squid sandwich, more or less).

    4. From there I would walk the Calle Mayor to arrive at the Catedral de la Almudena (Almudena's Cathedral), and from there visit the Plaza de Oriente with the Royal Palace (Palacio Real, Palacio de Oriente), the Royal Theater, and the Sabatini Gardens. It's a 20 min walk and its nice. You should spend an hour or two to see these places.

    5. Then you can take again the metro, but you can also walk to the La Latina neighbourhood (same name for the subway Station), with old streets and lots of nice places to rest and grab a beer and some of our famous tapas.

    6. Other suggestion, as someone has said before me, would be to go from Plaza de España (near the Royal Palace) and then walk the Gran Vía street all the way to its end in the Puerta de Alcalá. Again, a beautiful part of Madrid.

    7. The Paseo del Prado is a really nice option to have a nice walk, and you will see from there points of interest such as the Museo del Prado, the Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) or the Real Jardín Botánico.

    8. Not far from there is our own "Central Park", which in our case is the Parque del Retiro, really big and full of nice places to walk around.

    These are just some of your choices, and if you need a cicerone, just ask :) would be really great to meet you and know you. I'm a technical writer myself (editor of www.theinquirer.es, writing also at PC Actual magazine, and my own blog, www.javipas.com) and a long time Anandtech reader and admirer. Enjoy your stay in Madrid and your visits to other cities, I'm sure you will.
    Reply
  • KaRRiLLioN - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link

    I just got back from Spain. Flew into Madrid, stayed a day, took the AVE to Seville and stayed in the old town for 3 days. Rented a car and went down to Castellar de la Frontera near Gibraltar and stayed for 2 days. Took the ferry from Algeciras to Tanger Morrocco and stayed a day there, then flew to Barcelona.

    If I had any one city to recommend, it'd be Barcelona. Absolutely amazing city with lots to see. Sagrada Familia was probably one of the most interesting sites, and the Gaudi park had some cool stuff too.

    Food-wise, I enjoyed Seville and Morrocco the most, but since I was only in Spain for 10 days, I had only a limited window to enjoy it.

    @Hlafordlaes, wish I'd known about your bar while in Barcelona!

    My only problem with Spain in general is the lack of a breakfast option with Pancakes, bacon and eggs. =)

    Donde esta mi desayuno?
    Reply

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