Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 2 in Madrid

We are starting to get into the hang of things here in Madrid - sleep in late - lunch around 3 - 4pm and dinner around 10pm (that's when most of the good folk of Perth are in bed but do note that it is still nice and light at 8pm here in Autumn). We are staying in Calle Mayor which is pretty well in the heart of Old Madrid and we are so impressed with how clean the city is - no rubbish anywhere - the streets are so clean - not like Paris or London for sure. This is the Plaza Mayor - it is so clean - they hose it out at 3am every morning - I could hear what I thought was rain in the middle of the night. it s full of people wandering, sitting, eating, entertainment etc all the time. first laid out in 1619, it has been used for many different purposes from burnings at the stake to public hangings to bullfights (up to 50,000 people would cram in) to now a place of beauty really. There are sme wonderful frescoes on one section.
We have been doing a lot of walking - well wandering - it is easy to get around on foot and there are little laneways everywhere. We went to the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia mainly to see Picasso's Guernica which was much bigger than I though it would be. There are also lots of his studies leading up to the painting. It is a very powerful painting and we are bursting to read more about the Spanish Civil War but that will to wait as all the books I found are in Spanish and since we now only know about 3 words.... One thing though - man never learns from history.

Just behind our apartment building is the Mercado de San Miguel - the last surviving example in the capital of a marketplace constructed from iron. It is extremely popular as a market where you can but a glass of wine and various tapas and enjoy yourself. We went about 9.30pm and it was heaving. You can but fresh fish, fruit and vegetables and flowers to take away but also a great little array of tapas and desserts of course. And coffee too... The Canadian couple from Toronto we met on our 11 hour bus trip asked why they didn't have something like that in Toronto - I think it would be fabulous anywhere.

Our knees and tired legs from sitting on the bus have finally recovered and we are so much enjoying walking around and the general ambience of Madrid. More excitements to come. up in our apartment late at night it is great to sit and watch the world go by.


Heather said...

The Plaza Mayor looks amazing - so much space and no traffic! When you aren't a city dweller it's fascinating to be in a city and watch the goings on. I did that yesterday in Bristol in the quiet times when I was stewarding an exhibition. We live at the end of a leafy cul-de-sac so nothing goes by apart from a few dogs, pedestrians and a squirrel or two.

RooneyB said...

Hi Ian and Dale
Sounds like you are having an awesome time......I have spent many days in Madrid and then on to Barcelona............
Cheers Rooney

Robin Mac said...

How wonderful to be able to sit in your apartment and look at all that. Glad to know that your legs have unbent and you are able to walk, the whole experience sounds so exciting. Cheers, Robin

Dorothy Gibbs said...

Hi Dale,
I think you would enjoy El Escorial if you got a chance to go there. It used to be the Summer place of the royal family and is very splendid. Apart from the buildings I saw the most amazing illuminated manuscripts there. It is outside Madrid some distance. Not sure how you would get there... a group of us went by taxi when I did it.
Have fun. Dorothy


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