Sunday, January 8, 2012

Monday, continued...


Doesn't that sound awful? Monday continued...as though Mondays aren't bad enough already. Well, if you are in Madrid though, it isn't so bad.

We left the park. It was sad, but we had to do it. I really wanted to see the Plaza Mayor, and we had reservations for a Flamenco show that night that didn't start until 10:30, dangerously close to the "Michelle would rather be in bed" time zone. Okay, SMACK DAB in the middle of that time zone, so I was hoping to get in a nap in the afternoon.

That, and we were kind of hungry. When is that never the case? So, off we went. Here are some random street shots to tide you over.

A building in Madrid.

Another building in Madrid. There were far less people on scooters in Madrid than there were in Barcelona.

Getting to the Plaza Mayor involved another Metro ride. Yippee! I really did enjoy riding the Metro. I liked checking out people's shoes and occasionally there was a musician on board. Amplified and everything. When I really loved about the Metro though...was that one of the stops actually had a little art gallery, there below the city. An exhibit of photography. How cool is that? We only had a few minutes to enjoy this before the train came. Then it was back to checking out people's shoes.

Art gallery in the Metro Station. One of the best surprises I've ever had while riding public transportation. Sure beats the suspicious puddle on the bus the other day.

As I've said, we headed over to the Plaza Mayor. We almost missed it. We knew we had to head down a particular street. I think we sort of thought it would hit us over the head, but it's a plaza...surrounded by buildings...so you have to actually turn down another street and then there it is!

The Plaza Mayor, where now you enjoy a nice meal, but where once, if they didn't like you, you would burn.

Back in the day, they burned heretics here. Now, it is a square lined with restaurants. As you walk through, the waiters greet you and hold out their menus, hoping to lure you into their dining establishment. Frankly, any of them would have been fine. Outdoor dining, you can't beat that!

Did I mention they executed people here? Where is this morbidity of mine coming from?

I'm sure we picked the place we did because it looked just fine and we didn't want to walk all the way around the square. It's hard for me to say no to people and I didn't want to have to say no to a bunch of different waiters. Of course they all had a menu of the day (menu del dia), where you choose two courses and then either coffee or dessert. We also, of course, had wine with our lunch, because that is what you do when you are on vacation.

Honestly, I don't remember what we ate too much. I probably had gazpacho and I know I had the Spanish Omelet, which was okay. I'd had better. But just sitting in this plaza that has seen so much history, on a beautiful fall day, with the best companion ever...Nothing could be better than that. And...our waiter was delightful, as many Spanish waiters are. I'm not sure how much English he spoke, but he was very friendly. When it came time for the check, I nervously got his attention and then asked David how to ask "la cuenta or el cuenta"...and then looked at our waiter and said, "la cuenta, por favor" and he smiled at me, the most genuine smile, and said "Muy bueno" and bowed at me. Ah...so sweet! We left him a nice big tip. Maybe he didn't say "muy bueno"...but I am pretty sure he said, "very good" and was appreciative of my crappy Spanish.

The Plaza Mayor has also hosted numerous festivals and other happy events over the years as well.

Where to next? How about the palace? It wasn't something I had planned, but we were in the vicinity and I had heard wonderful things. The Palacio Real is supposed to be incredibly beautiful. By the time we got there, I was also looking forward to using the restroom!

Alas, when we got there it was closed. There was some sort of actual event going on. So, we just stood and looked into the great, big, huge gate. It was only closed for a bit, but we didn't wait around.

Oh dear, I had hoped to use a royal bathroom.

I really had to pee.
Let's get a picture and find someplace with a public restroom. Quick. Hurry.

Luckily, the map we had was apparently sponsored by the Golden Arches, so we headed to a nearby McDonald's, got a coke, and were on our way. I really should have taken the chance to order something unique to Spanish McDonald's, but I already was feeling a little ashamed to be in a McDonald's at all. They of course had some kind of Iberian Ham sandwich, which I suppose would have been lovely.

It's a HUGE palace. Really wish I could have seen the inside.

We wandered around a bit, but by this point we were kind of tired and decided to head back to the Metro and to the apartment. When we arrived back at the apartment, Alan, Erin, and Kelly were all in the little bard downstairs. I was sort of in the mood for a nap, but the ladies wanted to head over to El Corte Ingles to find an English-language book for Kelly to read on the way home. Since my sister's mother-in-law had highly recommended I go to El Corte Ingles, I joined them.

Kelly did find a book in the very small foreign language section. El Corte Ingles is just a massive, high-end department store. Most of what was sold in there I could never afford, but I did get a cute purple dress. Then, I'd had enough. Erin and Kelly did a little more shopping, but I tried to take a nap.

It was flamenco night, afterall. And I will write about that in another post! Ha! I know what you are thinking! Come on Michelle! It is January! You took this trip in OCTOBER.

Sorry, I can't help it. My writing attention span is very short tonight. Mostly I just want to crawl into bed and read Harry Potter. Yes, I have read Harry Potter before...but I am reading the entire series again because David is reading it for the first time. He's on the Goblet of Fire right now. I am reading the Prisoner of Azkaban. We are having a lovely time, pretending to be surprised ("OH NO! The goblet of fire is a PORTKEY!")

So, dear friends...you'll have to wait just a wee bit longer for the conclusion! And then I'll be blogging about cooking, eating out, the books I am reading, and maybe knitting.

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