April 3 - HopOn HopOff in Madrid
Our original plans for the day were to do the HOHO bus in the morning, see the Changing of the Guards at the Palace at noon and then do the second route of the HOHO bus in the afternoon. As it was quite cool again, we took our time getting started. We started off with the Historico route which we were able to pick up right in front of our apartment building. It was slow moving as there is some major street construction going on about four blocks from us and it took about 15 minutes to go two blocks! Convinced we would miss the Changing of the Guard due to our late start and the construction delay we settled in and enjoyed the ride. However, we lucked out as we approached the castle, our street was blocked due to the parade. So we got to see the whole procession as they were leaving the Palace - it went right in front of our bus! The first Wednesday of the month is the Solemn Changing of the Guard, which is the one we witnessed! Other days are all Wednesdays and Saturdays weather permitting, if it’s not a holiday, etc.
Returning to the stop in front of our apartment, we opted for lunch as we were both quite chilled and hungry - an Italian restaurant where we shared mushroom lasagne and asparagus/shrimp risotto with wine! They comp’d us with some limoncello (just like in Italy)!
Now it is time for the second bus tour, but first Judi Bailey needs another jacket as her arms are cold! So another hour touring Madrid by bus. Upon arrival to our bus stop, Plaza del Sol, the crowds were thick! Trying to walk down the street to our apartment the police (out in full force) were rerouting everyone and had our street blocked off. We followed the crowd for awhile and finally cut back to our street and home to our apartment! We believe it was nothing, as when we questioned the receptionist at the apartment they indicated the police told them all was okay!
One of the sights we wanted to return to was the Temple of Debod, an ancient temple given to Spain by Egypt in 1968. Egypt was grateful for Spanish dictator Franco’s help in rescuing monuments that had been threatened by the rising waters of the NIle above the Aswan Dam. So off we wander to revisit the Temple of Debod using the GPS on our recently updated phone with the European SIM card! I currently have a love/hate relationship with this electronic devise! There is a public park with the temple in the middle, that the locals like to visit - the public park also has a great view over Madrid and the back of the Royal Palace! On our way home we stopped at the nearby gelato shop and did ‘take away’ for later - no chance for it melting in the block and a-half! In case we have not mentioned it, it has been on the cold, windy side!
We both were full from lunch and still cold, so had a little cheese, some fruit and wine and stayed in for the evening! Although most restaurants do not open until 8pm patrons have a tendency to start wandering in about 9 or later! Having a difficult time adjusting! jc