|We started the day with a regular food here. Fresh fried pastry sticks that are dipped in warm chocolate. Well just this once...or twice. With coffee of course to balance the food pyramid thing. With gusto we went off to the palace to tour what is the third largest palace in Europe. At the entrance was a Spanish guitar and piano duo. These two were great and as we walked through the large outside closures of the Palace the sounds would echo like some movie soundtrack. All that was missing was the royal coach pulling up with a trumpet fanfair.
They let you walk through 22 of the over 2000 rooms and it was good to see how the money was spent. Each room filled with tapistries, rugs and chandelers from around the world were a bit much at times but interesting. The servants traveled through passages between the walls but don't look behind a door to see this cause the ever present security get very tense...in several languages. We head for lunch in a bookstore that is packed with locals and have some real food. The bullfight is not till 8:30 so we spend the afternoon in siesta mode. Sheri who had been a little under the weather slept 2 hours as I caught up on the journal. Up and ready we leave 2 hours early for the bull ring and wonder as we exit the subway how we will find it.
It found us as it is all you see across a plaza that surrounds the arena. The place has the feel of a ball game with vendors selling nuts, t shirts etc. It looks like a smaller version of the Roman Colliseum. The ironey is not lost on me as we walk around waiting to get in. We are sitting in the shade row 11 and the marble is hard so we rent two cushions for 1.20€ apeice which is a good investment. We stayed for almost two hours and the cushion was necessary.
First this sport is a tradition and a way of life for a lot of the Spainish. It will never be what it was but it is here to stay. I watched, through the binoculars, the family of one of the madidors as they held his hat he had thrown to them. Their faces held every move he made and his joy was theirs with all the emotion you could imagine. The drama, the machismo in motion and the pagentry all paint a living picture of a time past for most of the world. Having gone I might not go again but it was a part of the trip that was important to experience.
We left early because the trip back to the hotel involved getting food for the train tommorrow. Such a slice of any city I have not had on this trip. Madrid was a easy to handle plate full of Spanish life.