We think we spent today, Sunday 2, in many ways like the Madrilenos do. To start off, we woke at 9.30am. Now that’s not quite the same. You see very little action around Madrid at the weekend before midday. Anyway late for us.
This blog may not be of great interest – except for us as a reminder of what we did. The photos will be the best bit for you. Our feature photo today is a 30x20cms brass plaque in the pavement, we think advertising a service – like gas. It is so beautiful and intricate that we had to photograph it. It would make a lovely rubbing.
We did a bit of washing and did something we have never done before and that is lean out of a window – in this case on the 4th floor – and hang out our washing. It is slightly disconcerting mainly as we were not sure what we would do if a pair of our knickers dropped. They didn’t so we will happily do it again.
We left the apartment around midday and wandered for the day. A beautiful blue sky, probably around 20 degrees. It is always amazing what you see when you walk – nothing huge, but all the little details of life. (Nothing huge a except the largest mobile crane right in the middle of the Calle Grande Vue junction to repair air conditioning equipment on the top of an eight story building.). We always love it in a new city. So we did a big circuit aiming at reaching Plaza Mayor. In the process we popped into one church – Iglesia de San Antonio de los Alemanes. We got there in the middle of mass and stayed for a while watching the priest holding the congregation capture. We then came back later to have a good look. It is a 17th century church, covered all over – and we mean all over – in scenes depicting the life of St Anthony of Padua. It is in extremely good order. As it is Easter, Christ is down from the cross and laid flat in each of the churches in which we have been. We will be in Seville for Easter when it will be interested to see when Christ is returned to the cross – usually at the front of the church.
We attempted to enter a couple of other churches but they were closed. We have photos of most as the outsides are quite beautiful. One was Iglesia San Placido which was founded in 1622. The early history of this church involved scandal with rumours of sexual misconduct among the novices, the chaplain, the abbess, and the founder of the order. It was even rumoured that the King made nocturnal visits there. It would have been good to get in as it is apparently beautiful inside. We then looked for the Iglesia (Church) of St Barbara, founded in the 1750s by Barbara of Portugal, the wife of Ferdinand VI, the King of Spain, along with the Royal Salesian Monastery. The convent continued until 1870 and sometime later was converted to the Palace of Justice – we think that means it is something like the Justice department, or maybe even the Supreme Court. Plenty of security around.
While wandering along, and with a prompt from the guide book, we came across Palacio Longoria. It is regarded as the finest example of Art Nouveau architecture in Madrid. The architect was Jose Grases Riera who was a disciple of Antoni Gaudi. It is fantastically restored and the decoration is beautiful and intricate with suggestions of plants, flowers and tree roots. It is now either owned or used by the Association of Writers and Editors. Very appropriate we thought. It is in Calle de Fernando VI, 4 if anyone is visiting. So we have our intro to Barcelona now.
We found a place around 4pm for lunch, and it was again of a high standard. To begin a salad, slices of eggplant dipped in a very light mixture and then fried. Then we had pork belly, and a chicken dish – shared as we have done before so we got 4 tastes each. And the usual bread roll, bottle of red wine, and an espresso. Each cost us 10 Euro. Address was Calle de Hortaleza.
We then spent some time in Plaza Mayor, probably the most beautiful plaza in Madrid. Lots of photos of that. It reminds us a lot of Piazza Navona in Rome. In fact a lot of our wandering today took us back to Rome – steep narrow streets, beautiful old buildings, lots of interesting little shops. The plaza had lots going on, and a huge number of people. There are a lot of tourists around but our impression is that many of the people out enjoying themselves are Madrilinos.
Last we visited a region (barrio) called La Latina, which we had heard is a lively spot especially on a Sunday. Very true. It was teeming with people, mostly young. We must have stuck out like sore thumbs as no one of our age was there. They were sitting at tables drinking, as it was a bit early for tapas, and the noise level of chat was deafening. We are concluding that the people of Madrid, young included, are immensely sociable, and just love to be with others. Seldom are they on their mobiles either. No room for that when you are talking 9 to the dozen. Quite fascinating.
Then home by 8pm via a supermarket for a few things. Pretty sore feet. We have given each other a foot massage. And a good sleep is much looked forward to.