Sunday, May 02, 2010

Trip: Madrid - Day 1 and 2

Welcome back!
Tonight I bid you warm hello from Madrid Spain. Our journey left off last in St Andrews, Scotland. Since then we have jumped on a plane and landed in this beautiful city. We are staying right down in the heart of the city in the Hotel Villa Real.

I happened to choose the split suite with the upstairs bedroom and balcony. Its not much a view at the moment as the square below is under construction. Still, it is in a perfect location to everything you'd want to see in Madrid within walking distance.
We got a ride from the airport by a gentleman who was well informed about the city and its history. He talked and talked about different things we would want to check out while we were here. Very friendly and very good spoken English as well.
For some reason that afternoon my ankle was KILLING me. It was not a good feeling. I don't know what happened or why but it caused a bit of a problem. We ordered some room service, hung around a little bit and then I popped some Percoets and decided if it was gonna hurt sitting there I night as well let it hurt walking around.
I'm glad I left. We walked mostly aimlessly towards a couple of squares that were close by. The streets here are narrow but friendly. Its not a crowded or cluttered feeling even though buildings are closing in on each side of you.

We passed through the Plaza de Santa Ana. Its a smaller square but has some personality. We pressed on, limping like a pimp and the swagger of a cripple.
We came to the Plaza Mayor. Awesome. It s full square with several arched entries/exits. The center holds a statue of disproportionally fat horse and rider. I have no history on the man or how the horse got that fat. There are shops and storefronts around the entire plaza. Some are restaurants that serve meals and 'tapas,' basically appetizers. We circled the square, it is full of people and random performers. Lots of stuff going on.
We walked away and my dad asked me if I wanted to buy anything. I told him I was looking for some new shoes, unique ones that people can't get Stateside. Literally within a minute of saying that we turned the corner and there was an Adidas store. Perfect! We went in and I found 2 super-fly pairs of shoes, shoes that I now own and will wear with fond memories.

It was later in the evening, probably 7pm and we made our way towards the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). We found a church and went in and I was thoroughly impressed. Beautiful stained glass arches. I took several pictures so here are a few to look at.

The palace was closed so we decided to make our way back to the Plaza Mayor where we ate tapas and enjoyed the passersby.

The next morning, we got a late start because that's what people do here...and I looked at a watch that was still an hour behind on UK time so I felt no urgency to get out of bed. We ate a small pastry shop and wandered back across the city towards the Prado museum.

The museum was closed because it is Labor Day in Spain, though it didn't stop the construction workers from working on the plaza outside the hotel. We journeyed on to the park. This is basically the Central Park of Madrid. It was very beautiful. Check it out. Here are some of my favorites.

We spent a few hours at the park because Labor Day ruined some of our other plans...not that we had many. After the park I needed to take in the culture to the fullest so we went back to the hotel for a siesta. It was just what I needed. After the siesta, about 6pm, I decided it would be good to go to a movie. Iron Man 2 came out here a week before the US so we found a theater, got some ice cream, and watched a flick.

I liked it just plenty and I feel good that I got to see it before any of you did.
Since 9pm was upon us it was time for dinner. You wouldn't believe how busy this place gets at night.

Here things are just starting at 9pm. We found a place down a tiny side street and I ordered the Ostrich steaks because I didn't know people ate ostrich.

FYI, it doesn't taste like chicken, which was fine with me. I don't want to describe it as “gamey” because I think that is a cop out. Surprisingly, it was a dark meat, it looked like beef and tasted more like veal than poultry.
So at 1030pm with dinner finished we ended up back here in my room. These stairs up to my bedroom have nearly killed me twice.

The steps get really tiny as they turn and I've lost my footing. Luckily I'm curious like a cat and agile like them too and I've saved myself with out harm.


Oscarson Photography said...

Dude, I took Emily as my assistant for a photography gig there just this last December. Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor, the crazy late nights and all. I really like that city. I am jealous you get to cruise around it without schedules. We got to see so little!! I'm traveling vicariously through you, so keep posting. Say hey to your Dad for me and drink the hot chocolate. And lets go see a European Futball match together next time!

brittany soucy said...

sweet shoes! You know I would have biffed it hard on those stairs. How I am loving reading all your updates. love you, love.