Click on the photos to see the larger version!
Today started at a very late 10 AM...that is when I set the alarm to go off...after the previous 36 hour day, I was afraid I might sleep all the next day! I decided that I wanted to just go out into the city and walk through the streets...just see and hear the city, firsthand.
The first thing I noticed is that folks in Madrid love scooters and motorcycles. They are everywhere! Young and old, male and female...all kinds of people.
I particularly liked this photo of a man wearing a business suit and an 8 ball helmet on his Harley.
I passed by this very ornate building and thought this must be some sort of royal building or maybe the Spanish president lives there...
Nope...it's the Palacio de Communicaciones - The Post Office!
As I walked down the street I came across this archway. It is called the Puerta de Alcala. Click on the link to learn the fascinating history of this arch!
Up the street a bit I entered the Parque del Buen Retiro. Translated, it means "Park of the Pleasant Retreat". Click on the link to read more about it...it was very interesting and very peaceful! Here are a few pics...
This is a monument to King Alphonso XII located on a large artificial pond, called the Estanque. This boating lake is one of the parks oldest features (built around 1631) and in the days of King Filipe IV it was the setting for mock naval battles. Now you can just row a rented boat if you like.
This fountain is called Fuente del la Alacachofa...known here in Madrid as the "artichoke fountain". It was designed by Ventura Rodriguez and made of Sierra de Guadarrama granite and Colmenar stone. Sounds pretty fancy, huh??
This last featured photo in the park is of the Palacio de Cristal...the Crystal Palace.
After many hours in the peaceful park, I ventured out into the noisy and very busy city. Everywhere you look there is amazing architecure and statues! I am not even sure what this statue is, it just looked neat!
Along the way I came across the Iglesia de San Jeronimo el Real. It is a former monestory of St. Jerome the Royal. It was closed when I was there, but the level of detail on this old church was amazing!
The next stop on my unguided walking tour was to the Royal Palace of Madrid. It is the largest royal palace in western Europe! I had a picture of the Palace yesterday on my blog, but today I paid to go inside and tour it. They don't allow photos to be taken inside, but if you click this link, you will see TONS of pics!
It was so amazing! Every room was more opulent than the previous...giant frescos on every ceiling and everything "gold colored" was really gold!
Well, the day isn't really over...tonight we are going to go 1/2 block from where my friends live and we are going to watch the victory parade for the Spanish Football team. They defeated Germany to win the coveted Euro cup and tonight the team returns to Madrid. I am sure I will have lots of neat pics of the celebration!