The third day of our tour in Madrid (31-March-2014) took us to places that were not originally planned. After our breakfast near Puerta del Sol we walked our way via Calle Mayor towards the Almudena Cathedral, having a brief glance at Plaza Mayor, which we had planned for the earlier day and missed it. Even though we were early enough there were enough organized groups walking their way towards the Cathedral. It is a big and a beautiful Cathedral to visit. It is dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena. It was quiet and calm there. We walked around taking photographs and after that we sat down to pray (I don’t know the procedure but I could pray to any God with my own set of words now can’t I ?) After that we walked to the other end of the Cathedral which opens up to the Palacio Real de Madrid, the Royal Palace of Madrid. Both of these buildings are so white and so huge it really amazes us. The size of them also is another thing to wonder. By the time we walked to the entrance of the Palace, we found some TV Crews setting up their stations and starting to report about something and we didn’t understand why. I don’t know if we did figure in that day’s news because we were walking right between them 🙂 The one time I might have been in TV on a foreign country and no one knew 😦 Bad timing.
Then came our visit to the Royal Palace. Here too the camera is not allowed along with the backpacks. So we had to keep them in the locker room (which are very safe and you need to have one Euro with you for that) and then started our tour with the guide book that we got along with the ticket. There was heavy checking also going on because one part of it was closed for some renovation and so they had a temporary security checks. After seeing each room in that palace, with so much grandeur and color and items in it, the one I saw in Hyderabad, felt very poor 🙂 My God, it has all types of painting on the walls right from Chinese to Spanish to what not. Why do they have to color the walls like that ? Too much color I say 🙂 and the dining room is something to really admire 🙂 I had one doubt though, why are all the beds in the bedrooms (not only here in other places also) very small ? I bet that I cannot fit in that and I am 5’6″ only. That is totally weird. The chandeliers , oh God, the light, it really blinds you. I kept thinking, I can’t even keep my room which is not even 0.000001% of this clean, how many people would have been there to keep it in such a clean and non dusty shape. And one more thing that came to my mind when we were almost done is, I wouldn’t want to stay in such a place. I would get lost 😦
Then walking around we saw the Armory which is again sort of two leveled and it comes out to the other side of the palace, but that place is closed. By the time we did complete the place, we saw so many limos parked in the entrance to the main door and there were security personnel guarding and all that. We knew that something was happening because of the news crew outside but this looked like some one very important has either come or they are going to. There were almost 5-6 limos with enough security personnel in the bikes. I was afraid to take their pictures actually. What if they snatch my camera ? Totally not worth it. Then we crossed and left those important people to their own jobs and walked our way outside to the Sabatini Garden. I did not go down because I was already tired of all that walking around with my excuse of a shoe I kept wearing. But A and C were relaxing even before that near the other statues and garden on the way out and myself went to the garden entrance for a photo and to rest for a while , whereas B went down and walked around a bit and came back.
After that we couldn’t decide where to have our lunch because it was already 2 pm by then and so kept walking back to Puerta del Sol. On the way near another small church near the junction there was a restaurant which looked very local. So we decided to try it there. It was run by a family I think and the environment was very homely 🙂 and we were the odd men out. We looked very much out of place from the people who were lounging there and having fun over a beer in the front. This is where I had my first Tortilla Espanola (without knowing that it has egg in it) I didn’t knew it was known as Spanish omelette. The old guy was very upset when I told him that I wouldn’t have any meat or fish or egg and he sort of made us some nice vegetarian salad. But when he placed this , he did say something which none of us understood, but since it tasted more of potato I ate, a lot 😉 I was also happy that I could eat something to fill my stomach with after all these walking I am doing.
After that we walked back to Puerta del Sol and took the metro for Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia This was on the other side of the Retiro Park where we had been the previous day. It started drizzling as soon as we entered. Here too the backpack is not allowed but camera is allowed in some places. In most of the rooms, they don’t allow you to take photographs though.There are almost 3-4 levels to see. I was exhausted with a capital E. But some of them were too good to miss. Even though most of them were modern art, there were some contemporary sculptures too. And there were regularly scheduled events like something on Feminism that day with audio and visual medium and in another floor some old movie was playing on. Like that. We went to the terrace and relaxed for a while, but it got very cold very soon , because of the rain outside and we walked back down. Once we were done with as much as we could and it was already around 6 pm, we had to wait for sometime for the rain to come down. And then we ran to the cafe opposite to the museum , had a hot cafe con leche and after some time started our way back to the hotel through Metro.
Again the plan for Tapas hopping got cancelled but we decided that we will have a late dinner and relax. After relaxing a while in the hotel, went back to Puerta del Sol, walked around (sort of forced actually 😉 ) and then came back to another Cafe and Te restaurant there (how many did they have in and around that place, I lost count) and allowed C to get drunk 🙂 as per his wishes. We were making, cracking jokes and generally passed time. The waiter there was happy that we (excluding me of course) tried to speak to him in Spanish and he was surprised that A wasn’t a Spanish lady. According to him, she definitely looked like a Spaniard. After hours and hours of chatting and after 2 bottles of wine for C and 2 huge beers for B, we decided to call it off and walked back to the hotel only to spend some hours singing to the songs on the TV and almost after midnight passed off. Yeah I think we did pass off, even though I did not have much to drink. I was just too tired with all the walking. But definitely worth it. It makes the places much more interesting that way I think.