After inhaling a new set of energisers after our paella last night, my energising pink bunnies have recovered and I woke up invigorated with mojo restored and ready to conquer Madrid, the capital of Spain.
And conquer I did, with vigour and pleasure.
I enjoyed France hugely, however can’t help but love the Spanish people. I love their dark skin, their rough and readiness, friendliness (always ready for a laugh and a chat regardless of language barriers), their loudness and general bonhomie. The French were much more dignified, well dressed, painfully thin, extremely formal and not willing to be put out or interested in interacting out of their formal circumstances, whereas the Spanish are out there and I’m having such fun with them. We gel!
Robyn was still in Madrid for another day so I invited her to join me on the Sandemans free walking tour (thank you again Evan for introducing me to this great institution so many years ago) which did not disappoint. We had an Irish guide, loud, noisy, extremely humorous and knowledgeable which he shared with us by play acting using volunteers, I was a Spanish King at one stage.
Madrid is steeped in history and full of interesting and attractive sights, however the way he shared his knowledge of Spain’s history, was memorable and fun. He talked about the Spanish Inquisition, the religious aspects, the Muslim influence and how Madrid got its name, and then had humorous tales in between to keep the story alive. When one of the horse statues was pulled down by one lot of rulers who disagreed with it, they discovered it was full of dead birds which over many years had flown into the horses mouth and got trapped inside causing a nasty smell around the statue for many years 瀞? Funny anyway.....
He pointed out Hemingway’s favourite bars (as well as a bar which has a sign outside saying not one of Hemingways drinking bars as we all know that Hemingway virtually drank his way around Europe and made all bars famous for his alcoholic tendencies) and the oldest continuously running restaurant in the world (it has a Guinness book of records certificate in the window to prove it), there are older restaurants, however not continuously running.
I love the Plazas (actually old Bull fighting Rings with the boxes surrounding them now converted into units for locals) lined with restaurants and many outdoor drinking and eating areas around the edge of the plazas. The drinking laws, or lack of them mean that you can sit down at any of these great outdoor places at any stage for a quick beer, juice, coffee and of course being in Spain, they always serve a small free tapas (olives etc) with your drink and it’s cheap. Always a great atmosphere and plenty of lively Spanish activity.
After a 2.5 hour walk with our Irish Madridian, Robyn and I hung out together for a while revisiting The Temple de Blood, donated by the Egyptian Government in 2nd century BC. How they ever delivered it is beyond me, massive rather ugly stones (now there’s a challenge for Australian Post) however it is atop a hill providing panoramic views over the City and especially Grande palace and Cathedral.
We had lunch overlooking the cathedral and although I’ve said no more cathedral viewing, our Irish Madridian advised that it was stunningly beautiful and free. It was and intensely over the top opulent, I did love these two huge silver vases of silver flowers which would look stunning in our Lane Cove abode (Australian post - are you up for it?).
After a while Robyn had superseded her energy levels and we made our final farewells ( you better make up another bed at Laurieton please Cameron as Robyn is coming to visit me) and returned to the hotel whilst I enjoyed the best afternoon/evening exploring Madrid on my lonesome.
In the evening, the Sol Plaza exploded (omg I do hope Trumps first cousin got rid of her explosives before flying back to her uncle) into the funnest place with live bands, people and so much stuff happening.
By about 8 pm and after I had done almost 12 hours straight exploring this dazzling, attractive fun city, I decided to return home.
I dumped my bag and went out for a Spanish omelette for dinner (a bit lonely without my Intrepid mates) at a little local outdoor cafe and then headed over to the Matedero where the local neighbourhood was hosting a massive African Festival of some kind. I met some interesting people, had my hair braided a glass of wine and crashed.
What I call a great day, I learned a lot, saw a lot of curious sights, interacted with some fascinating people and totally exhausted myself yet again but in the nicest possible way.
Nadine, please let Maddie know that Gannnys special ‘make all things better’ smarties are in the pantry, middle shelf. How is her cold, please send photos of her.