“I would do what I pleased, and doing what I pleased, I should have my will, and having my will, I should be contented; and when one is contented, there is no more to be desired; and when there is no more to be desired, there is an end of it.” Cervantes, Don Quixote
So we are on the streets of Madrid…finally in the daylight hours. Our hostel is in the city center so we walked everywhere. Note* We keep joking about being on “The Biggest Loser: Euro Edition” because we are barely eating and walking, walking, walking. I think Ryan is already wasting away… he’s failing to wake up for breakfast so he’s getting even less to eat. Maybe he’s ultimately going for the waif look.
Francisco is a local San Diegan we met in the hostel and he becomes our tour guide for the day since he just did the same route yesterday. Giancarlo, from Canada, joined us. It’s funny that by the end of the day we kept forgetting Francisco wasn’t from here… Madridian we say. We have no idea what Madrid locals are called. I think Madridian works. 🙂 I took a million and one photos, which I am finally uploading at the moment. Yay!
We started on the west (I think) end of the city. Saw the opera house and the Palace. There was a bit of a line, but we were chatting with a couple locals about the history and listening to the accordion being played. I was interested to learn that the Spanish royalty traveled around the country as there was no capital city at that time. They also didn’t have courts. Wow…so this giant palace was just for the royal family. Huh. The palace was amazing. I was really upset they wouldn’t let us take pictures at ALL. I could outside, but not inside any of the rooms…even if we didn’t use flash. I’m bummed because the rooms were so extravagant it is hard to describe them all. Every room was even grander than the former. Giancarlos and I enjoyed pretending we were on a real estate tour of the palace. Remember, after Versailles, I’m in the market for a castle. Most of the rooms seemed to have no purpose. Oh, this one has a clock in it, it must be where we go to see the time. Oh, this room has porcelain on every surface of the room…so it quickly became our ceramic room. I think I shall remodel a bit, but I would be comfortable in this palace. We wanted to inquire about renting out the coronation room for a party. Can you imagine!? Ok, ok…silly I know, but it was fun to pretend. The palace armory was fabulous for me. They had an amazing full collection of medieval armor, shields, helmets, and swords… complete with the horses armor, which was equally impressive. Seeing it in person makes it hard to imagine that the men (and young boys) wore this heavy metal. I don’t know how they could see through the small straight slits in the eyes either.
After the palace we walked more and more and more. We stopped in an amazing cathedral, Almudea. I have never felt as peaceful and relaxed as I did in this church. It was huge. They had soft music piped through the building. I sat in one of the pews and just relaxed. The music, combined with the low lighting and beautiful cool, smooth, white marble walls was the definition of peace. Maybe I need Jesus! I was overcome with the ambiance…or maybe I was just physically and mentally exhausted from walking and drinking and I was finally able to sit down here. Yeah…perhaps that was it. 😉
The gardens in Madrid are fantastic. We saw three. By this point, Ryan wasn’t much more than a walking zombie. He was exhausted and we continued to pull him along the streets. He’s a trooper though…as he believes he is getting pneumonia. Of course he’s not…but he thinks so. He slept sitting up in the park like an old man. Yep, grandpa Ryan. He couldn’t leave us because he didn’t know how to get back to the hostel. Aren’t we mean? We ended the sightseeing with the Egyptian temple that was gifted to Spain from, you guessed it, Egypt. We passed the Don Quixote statue on our way back and enjoyed some delicious ice cream. It was a great day and I think Madrid is fabulous.
More time at the computer to update the blog and Facebook, then it is time to get ready for the evening. We are going to a Flamenco show tonight! I must do the obvious Madrid experience, since I failed to do the cabaret show in Paris. Shhhh…don’t tell my friend Chrystal, she will be pissed to know we passed on Crazy Horse.