Today was our last day in Madrid and we made the most of it. We took the Metro back down to the oldest part of the city around the Plaza Major dating back to the 16th Century. For some reason these machines were bringing in turf to lay on the stones in the middle of this large plaza. We never did find out why.
Here are some photos of the pedestrian areas and buildings in this fascinating area. It's full of centruries old bars and stores, definitely a draw for tourists but never felt too crowded.
We popped into this bar for a glass of wine and the proprietor gave us some mussel tapas and wonderful olives for free.
This place was where we had our morning coffee and pain au chocolate. The napkins on the floor are from earlier customers who simply drop them. Some establishments have square metal waste containers to collect this but obviously this one did not.
Young people congregate in this area too, not just tourists.
This bookstall reminded me of Paris. So do the sidewalk cafes and the ornate addresses and signs. And the gardens and the ironwork.
We happened on this old market building that has been refurbished beautifully. Inside it was a feast of food and drink.
There were stalls everywhere serving sangria, tapas, wine, cider, champagne and more tapas. Plus the usual vegetables and meat and fish. Apparently people in Madrid love seafood, even though they are very landlocked being in the centre of the country.
People were obviously stopping in after work for tapas and a drink while they picked up food for supper.
This morning we visited the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, a Franciscan establishment dating from the 1500s. I couldn't take photos--although I would have loved to show you the amazing frescoes on all of the walls and the incredibly beautiful wooden painted statues and the paintings. If you're ever in Madrid, make a point of going.
Our last stop today was at a very modern museum, La Caixa Forum, in a renovated power station featuring a living wall and a very modern foyer. This has shows about social issues as well as history. Fascinating.
In case you think we did all this in one day I should let you know that some of these photos are ones that I took yesterday but had trouble getting off of my camera. I've fixed that little glitch now so you have the full picture of our four days in Madrid. We've seen a lot but only a fraction of the museums and sights of this fascinating city. Tomorrow we're off to Seville on the train for the next instalment of our Spanish journey.