Monday, 15 July 2013

Hola Madrid!

After the fun of the Festival of San Fermin, which finished last night with a far more impressive fireworks display than Sydney's (they let the fireworks all go at once and for 20 minutes, and it sounds like a war zone), we boarded the 11.30 train for Madrid, and arrived at 2.40.  Within the railway system in Madrid, a lot of the employees speak English.

We found our hotel with little trouble.  We're pretty much in the centre of town, at the Puerta del Sol.  After settling in, we went for a walk.  We ventured west down the Calle de Arenal, just wandering aimlessly.  After buying a small tub of ice cream each, we wandered further and discovered the Palacio Real.  It's a very impressive looking palace.  I asked a cop in broken Spanish if King Juan Carlos lived there.  The cop indicated that he was somewhere else.  But I don't know yet if he was telling me that the King just isn't home at the moment or he doesn't live there.  We had a quick glimpse of the Jardines de Sabatini, but I didn't think these gardens looked anywhere near as good as those at Versailles.

We then went a bit south, but then east again along the Calle Mayor.  We entered the Mercado San Miguel (Market of San Miguel), which boasted impressive food displays.  Mountains of stuffed olives, tapas, three-inch long Atlantic oysters, a massive monk fish, an octopus with a 45 cm circumference, and many other goods.  

We found the Plaza Mayor, a very large square in the centre of town with several access points, which we'd heard was the place for dinner.  I had a mixed salad, consisting of lettuce, tomato, onion, egg, tuna, asparagus, and olives.  Jean had a magerit, including rucula, smoked salmon, sunflower seeds, shavings of parmesan cheese, and citrus vinaigrette.  Hers was 10 euros, mine was 7.50.  An old musician played pretty music, and then came looking for money.  Jean wanted me to give him a euro, but while my hand was in my pocket, the waiter told the guy to get lost.  The elderly musician departed, abusing the waiter.  I felt sorry for him, and was going to go after him, but Jean convinced me to let it go.  Here in Madrid, many of the restaurants are outdoors, like in other European cities.  But here, the large umbrellas that shade the diners have piping attached which emits frequent mist, providing a bit of cooling.

We're in Madrid now for five nights.

Palacio Real
Stuffed olives at Mercado San Miguel
Monk fish at Mercado San Miguel
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor

No comments:

Post a Comment