Well, I had a little cry last night… I don’t know if was relief, loneliness, frustration or just that the reality of what I’m embarking on has truly sunk in. There was the San Sebastian ordeal, then last night I didn’t get to my hotel until midnight because ( lesson #1 – trains don’t always run on time in Europe.) Good to know! I wasn’t sure if THIS hotel also had closing hours, so I was a little worried on my way there from the train station. And trying to have a conversation with the cab driver, so painful. All I could understand him asking me was if I was traveling alone, with this kind of look in his eye. Maybe Melissa is right about her Spanish men theory ( she said that women traveling alone are often thought my the men to be on a “sexual adventure…”) Not THIS woman! This language barrier thing is huge. I’m getting by, and people are generally nice about it, and even embarrassed that they don’t speak better English. This blog is actually keeping me grounded. It kind of feels like a lifeline to my world back home, and through sharing my little anecdotes, I feel like I’m still hanging out with my friends and family, and I think that’s kind of cool! I felt much better after a good night sleep, and headed out to the streets of Madrid. What a cool city! It’s so vibrant and colourful. Football (soccer) is obviously HUGE here. There are souvenir shops and stands selling anything REAL MADRID that you can imagine everywhere. And the shoes. Oh, the shoes. I’ve never seen so many show stores in one place. Haven’t bought any yet, I’m looking for just the right ones. I’ll know them when I see them.
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This is Santa Cruz Church. For an atheist, I’m sure spending a lot of time in church these days… I think I’ve actually spent more time in churches in the last 2 1/2 weeks than I have in my 39 years all put together! As you can see, there is a parade of gypsies waiting for handouts. Maybe they think the religious are more likely to give? Out of respect I didn’t take any photos inside, since it’s a smaller church and there were many people praying. Since I’m not religious, I’m not familiar with a lot of the customs. There was this plexi-glass box in the front of the church holding a wooden statue of Jesus. There was a little hole for your hand to fit through at the bottom. There was quite a lineup of people waiting to touch it. Some put money in the coin slot before they touched, others didn’t. These weren’t looky loos, these were devout people. Many of them would kiss their hand, then touch, then do the sign of the cross. Other had pieces of paper that they were rubbing all over the statue. So, if anyone can enlighten me, I’d appreciate it. Is this some sort of Lourdes type thing, where they are asking for a wish or prayer to be granted?
Look away Vegetarians! Even as a meat eater, this I simply don’t need to see. Sorry Wilbur, Babe and Piglet!
Now this is my kind of Cafeteria!
I just liked this guy!
Mecado de San Miguel. What an incredible market! I had a kind of disappointing lunch, and right around the corner 10 minutes later I find this. There was everything from food you buy to take home and tapas and pinchos to eat standing at the bar. I was going to go there for dinner tonight (yeah, it’s open until midnight!) but this thunderstorm came raging though and it was torrentially raining! I had come back to my room for a little rest, but decided to just wait out the rain. Well, the rain didn’t stop until 10:30, and by then I was starved so I (NO JUDGING!) went to McDonald’s! ACK! I know, in MADRID! But it’s just across the street from where I’m staying and I guess I just needed something quick and something comforting after the last couple of days. I’ll eat better tomorrow, I’m sure of it!
These are a few of my favourite things! Fruits!
This is Catedral de la Mudena. This cathedral is young, being built in 1879. Work on it stopped over the course of the Spanish civil war, and it was only completed in 1993!
Pope John Paul the second consecrated the cathedral, so here he is.
It looks OK from the outside, but the inside is what got my mouth watering. It was so luscious, colourful and has this modern, fresh feel about it. The ceiling just blew my hair back!
This guys was playing classical music with his wine glasses. He was amazing!
This was a group of crazy horn blowers! So much fun! I loved their rendition of “Hot Stuff” by Diana Summer.
There seems to be a proliferation of headless street performers. There must be a reason. Anyone know? This woman muttered at me as I was walking away after taking her picture. Probably cursing me, like that Stephen King book” Thinner”.
Hanging out in the park across from Palacio Real. I saw a guy getting arrested there, I’m assuming for pick pocketing. I saw some tourists talking to the cops close by.