Saturday, March 6, 2010
Our day started early with a 7:30 am alarm clock….Madrid doesn’t go to sleep until 4 am so it was a night of sirens, cars and people shouting! Yes, we woke up frequently during the night! But what excitement the city generates!
Be sure to take another look at yesterday's slide show...missed a few photos and have just added them to that slideshow. Also...did you guess that the fancy wide chair was a toilet? pre-indoor plumbing!
By 9 we were out the door looking for breakfast…nothing worthwhile opened before 10 so we used the time to walk to the empty Plaza Mayor for photos before the crowds arrived. Then back to an old favorite…MacCafe…the European coffee shop inside of MacDonald’s! A bit cheaper than Starbucks and just as good.
With hot coffee and croissants warm in our tummies, we braved the rain and headed for the Palace that sits on the cliff that drops off to the lower plains of Madrid. The lines were three blocks long and everyone agreed to do something different and climb the bell tower at the Cathedral that sits directly across from the Palace. We had some fantastic views of the palace from the bell tower and also enjoyed their Museum along the way. They have an elevator but it was more fun climbing the marble steps.
At the bottom we were able to walk through an inside door directly into the Cathedral instead of back into the rain to enter from the front of the church. A beautiful church where John Paul II said Mass once and they have recorded the event with a statute of him outside.
Headed back towards Plaza Mayor and home but saw a large grocery store…stopped to check it out and found that it was a farmer’s market style with tables for eating in the center. It was full of people; we purchased a beer as we walked around viewing the booths. Finally seats opened up and we joined a table with 2 Germans from Frankfurt and a couple from north of London. Stayed for half an hour sharing travel stories…fortunately for us…everyone spoke English!
Back to the hotel for an hour of down time before heading out for our Museum of the day: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The home of a Miss Spain and her husband, a German Industrial Leader; they began collecting art in 1980 and sold their home and collection to Spain 1992. We enjoyed many fine examples of art, a very small collection compared to the Prado, but varied and even two painting by Emanuel De Witte, a Dutch painter from the sixteenth century that Jim and Barbara believe is one their ancestors….not substantiated but possible on their mother’s side of the family. We spent a couple of hours there and then walked, in the rain again, to our favorite pizza restaurant across the street from our hotel for an early dinner.
We decided to check out the times for Mass before going to the hotel and found that a Mass was just beginning…so we stayed. Another day has ended as we tuck in for the night.