This morning I went for a leisurely (and aimless) stroll down the side streets off Gran Via. It’s amazing how many squares, or I should say Plazas, there are all over Madrid. It is a glorious idea to put these open spaces to sit and relax all over the place. Edmonton you should take note! Anyways, I finished my morning stroll with my typical desayunado (breakfast) of a croissant and a cafe con leche, which is half strong coffee (or espresso) and half steamed milk. Seriously, I still cannot get over how delicious the croissants are here. They’re just so buttery and the crust is just slightly sweet… you get the picture, they’re perfect!
Once the Faja awoke, we headed out for the day towards our first stop, The Palacio Real de Madrid (aka The Royal Palace). The Spanish definitely like to do things a little over the top and super ornate but I love it! The grounds were spectacular from the outside and once inside we got to see all the royal armoury and a superb view of Madrid. Afterwards we headed inside the main living spaces of the palace. Words cannot describe just how much there was to look at. Ceilings were all either amazing pieces of art or elaborate bordering and gold work. The wallpaper was incredible – I wanted a lot of them in my room! Granted only for an accent wall, not on all four – that may be a tad intense. The chandeliers were rows of crystal and gold, in all different shapes, with beautiful flowers adorning many of them. The amount of detail on everything was incredible!
Once we finished walking through the Palacio Real de Madrid we headed to the Plaza de Oriente, which is between the Palaccio Real and the opera house. If we had more time, this would definitely be a place to sit and read a book and be in total bliss.
We went to Mercado de San Miguel for lunch. It’s this awesome market place where they sell tapas, desserts, coffee, wine, and beer. The Spaniards are ingenious, this market is the best idea ever. Except if we had one at home it would be my kryptonite and I would go all the time. We had some paella, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, and brie on a variety of breads and crackers with different toppings on them. I finished with a dulce de leche dessert of which I’m not exactly sure what it was but it was heaven nonetheless.
From there we headed to Plaza Mayor where we had some Sangria and people watched. Apparently we missed the king walking by us in the square (not that I know what he looks like) but this girl went running yelling “That’s the king!” and then all the suddenly a police car was whizzing by, sirens on in the same direction. Afterwards, from my eavesdropping, apparently it really was the king.
Anywhooo, now we’re in the room. We’ve just booked our train tickets to Pamplona (eek, exciting right?) and in not too long we’ll grab an early dinner (yes, eating at 8 has now become early) so we can rest up for… drum roll please…. LA TOMATINA tomorrow! Well actually we have to meet the bus at 2:30 am in order to get there in time so its kinda like tonight but hey, who cares?! I get to be 1 of 20,000 people to throw 130 tonnes of tomatoes. It’s going to be epic!