On our second full day in Madrid we decided to stay in town and do some walking around. We picked Sue up from her morning class and headed into the center of town. It took a little driving around but we found a place to put the car so we could walk.
We ventured through the Plaza Mayor and through some of the small streets in the center, then around to where the royal palace is. Madrid was much bigger than I had imagined with many more tall buildings than I had expected.
The mix of old and new, ornate and plain, and that recognizeable feel of Europe was at once familiar and strange. Most of the time I didn't know what I was looking at. Sue knew some of the buildings and monuments and plazas, but she had only been there for a month or so, so she was still exploring as much as we were. I was able to identify some things using our map, and some of the rest on the internet after we got home.
Madrid has a large subway network that I didn't get to try out, even though Ken and Sue said they wouldn't mind if I went for a short ride. But I didn't. If I ever go back, I'm sure I'll have another opportunity to check out the subway.
Another thing that struck me about Madrid was that many of the buildings were painted in bright colors. This is in stark contrast to France, where stone grey, white, and beige are the predominant colors.
At one point we found a grassy spot and thought Collette would enjoy the soft ground as opposed to the hard streets and sidewalks, so we took her onto the grass for a stroll. It was only after a few minutes that we saw the sign. Perros No. We knew what perro meant from our lunch on the previous day, and even if we hadn't, there was a nice graphic to help us out. Oops. We got off the grass quickly.
After a lot of wandering around, we were getting hungry for lunch, so we checked out a few places near where the car was parked. We weren't in the mood for a huge lunch, and nothing was jumping out at us. Eventually we found a little bar/sandwich shop that looked good. We put Collette in the car for a nap and went in.
The only thing I remember is that I had two sandwiches, one made with chorizo sausage and another made with marinated sardines. The sardines were so incredibly good that I think I'll have that sandwich memory with me for the rest of my days. I washed it down with a tasty Spanish red wine. I don't remember what Ken or Sue ate...
After lunch we needed to walk some more, so we took the car over to the big center-city park called Retiro. It's near where the Prado museum is, another attraction we only saw from the outside. But Collette enjoyed the park a lot.
Les années passent et les vignes repoussent
7 hours ago