Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)

06 February 2010

Madrid on a Friday

We LOVE gelato :)

Sora and I decided to take advantage of our home field advantage this weekend, and explore the city! We set off early afternoon, and decided to walk to our destinations instead of taking the Metro... a good way to save money and see the city above ground!

Our first spot was the Plaza de Espana. The Plaza is a very busy area, and has a pretty square in the middle of the traffic. We posed with the statues honoring Miguel de Cervantes, the author of ¨Don Quixote¨.

PETA must hate Spain, because Spainards love their fur.

With Sora, pointing onward on our journey.

Wedding pictures!

The area around Palacio Real.

Our next stop was Palacio Real, ¨Royal Palace.¨ This 2,000 room palace was built in the 18th century for King Philip V. Philip V was very influenced by the French, and wanted his own Spanish Versailles.

One word to describe the palace: ornate. Brilliant and enormous chandeliers hung in every room (with the gala dining room having 15!), and the tapestries and gold decor screamed royalty. I especially appreciated the fleur-de-lis symbol displayed everywhere. (Shout out to Kappa!)

Palacio Real.

We explored the palace with another guided tour by Rick Steves, who once again pulled through with random facts about the palace. He directed our attention to a fleur-de-lis shaped chandelier (I am ordering one for the Kappa house as we speak) and to the inches higher seats in the dining hall reserved specifically for the royalty.

Another pharmacy travel buddy!

After Palacio Real, we swung by its neighbor, the Catedral of Almudena. It was very unlike the previous cathdrals we have seen: colorful! The interior was in the Neo-Gothic style, and very contemporary. The main attraction of the cathedral is the tomb of Madrid´s patron saint, Isidro. Crazy thing: forty years after he had died, his coffin was opened and his body was found perfectly preserved. The pope thought this was pretty awesome, and canonized him.

Colorful dome and ceiling of the cathedral.

Next up: Plaza Mayor. Plaza Mayor is a big square of cobblestoned free space. Restaurants and cafes line the square, with the most popular tables being those in the sun!

Plaza Mayor.

Plaza Mayor was ¨bumping¨, as Sora would say, and there were quite a few crazy characters. There seemed to be a Disney theme among the street performers... but they didn´t quite capture enough Disney magic to be convincing...

My spidey senses are telling me someone has had one too many churros...

The final attraction we passed on the way home was Puerta del Sol, the bustling center of Spain (with a marker to prove it!). Sol is the definitition of busy, with more street performers, gawking tourists, and punky tweens.

Sora and I, at the distinct Sol Metro station.

How do you know for sure when you are at Sol? When you see the Tio Pepe sign, a major landmark of Sol. Tio Pepe is a brand of sherry, and the only billboard allowed in Sol.

My favorite part of Sol is the statue of a bear pawing a berry bush, the symbol of Madrid. The tree is of ¨madroños¨, a berry used to make a traditional madroño liqueur.

Yes, we definitely took a picture of myself as a tree, and Sora pawing...

Many hours and miles later, we were on the fast track back to our casas and hot dinners. It was a successful day exploring Madrid!

We had a lot of company on our walk home!

1 comment:

  1. Sad to see Tobey Maguire falling off the wagon so hard :( . He used to be able to fill out that spidey suit well.