Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spain Series #5

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.

A funky display on the Plaza Mayor.

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.

Plaza de la Cruz Verde.

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.

The dome of San Manuel y San Benito.

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.

Looking down the Calle de Segovia (Segovia Street).

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.

I think this is San Andrés (St. Andrew's) Church.

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.

Hurry, get Collette off the grass!

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 Church of Santa Maria.

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...

A view of central Madrid.

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.

El Teatro Real, the Royal Theater, across from the Royal Palace.


  1. The subway system in Madrid is excellent, although the escalators do seem to have a disconcerting habit of stopping abruptly.

  2. Everything does look very different from France, doesn't it? I do like the lively colors.

    May I ask, what was Sue doing in Spain? Was she there for language-learning, or for business? (I don't mean to pry, just curious.)

    This series of photos is fun!


  3. Just like in Madrid, many of the oldest buildings in Nice, France, are painted in bright colors, especially in the old town. I don't think that would be appropriate for northern cities like Paris.

  4. This is making me want to go back to Spain. Very nice pictures!

  5. My only visit to Spain was in 1973 in summer when it was very hot. I was struck by how stylish the cities seemed and also by their late night lifestyle.

  6. Judy,
    I'll fill you in on Sue... (she is my best friend not to mention my 1st cousin).

    Neither business nor language...

    She was newly retired and went on a semester abroad program with the local community college near her home in Northern Calif.

    What freedom! No grades to worry about at retirement age... if you don't show up for class, what can they do to you? Happily there were a handful of women of "a certain age" along with the 20-somethings. So she was not alone in her adventures.

    She certainly enjoyed her time in Spain (except for the day of the Madrid train station bombings when she was planning to travel). And I know she appreciated that Ken and Walt and Collette made the trip to see her.

    She took great advantage of opportunities to see Western Europe.

    Thanks for asking!

  7. susan, I hate when that happens...

    judy, France is just so familiar, since it's home, that other places seem exotic.

    chm, I agree.

    mark, time to schedule a trip!

    victor, I guess they're up so late because it's cooler at night in Spain. We don't have that problem in France!

    evol, it was short, but fun.

    cheryl, a font of information! Thanks :)


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