Friday, July 13, 2012

Madrid in July . . . Toasty

We had a bit of an unusual exit from Zürich on Thursday as Laurie was on an 11:55 a.m. flight to Madrid on Iberia Airlines and I was on a 12:25 p.m. flight on Swiss Airlines. This happened because we booked our flights separately months apart.

As it turned out checking in was a breeze as in each of our terminals we were the only persons going through the security lines!

We were able to hook up again at the Madrid Airport as planned and by shear luck Laurie's plane, though an hour late (Iberia is Spain's airline afterall), got her to our meeting point just as I got there. The Swiss Airlines flight was, of course, on time, but it took 45 minutes to get my bags.

Madrid was warm as expected and we were concerned about the labor/economic rallies and marches in Madrid the last two days that led to police firing rubber bullets into the throngs of demonstrators. Our taxi cab driver assured us on the way to the hotel that nothing was scheduled for tonight, our only night in Spain's capital city.

Fountain near Atocha Train Station

Street Juggler, literally,
 by Atocha Train Station

After settling into our hotel near the Puerta del Sol, we took our two big bags to the Atocha Train Station because they have a long range storage area. For five Euros a day we can keep our two 23 kilo bags safely under lock and key while we just use our two carry-on bags for our 6 nights in Southern Spain.

Much easier!

Did I mention that it was hot?

At 7:15 p.m., the temperature still equalled 88ºF.

Retiro Park

Thus we opted for a stroll through Madrid's biggest park that has lots and lots of shade.

Near the entrance to Retiro Park

Also near Retiro Park

No Michael, it is not Padre Pio

Stay Cool Penguin

The ornate Retiro Park fence

Beat the heat skating in the shade

This guy was VERY good

Youngsters in a Skating Safety class

Such faces

Patrolling Retiro Park

But where is the other policeman?

Getting an ice cream it seems

Corruption in Spain?

There is a building in the park where you can post any message that you so desire. We saw everything from love notes to this lament on the state of the Spanish society.

Cuban Rhythms

They were playing a marching to the Afro-Cuban rhythms of the music in the park near . . .

This statue of a Spanish General

He was stationed in Cuba 20 years before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in the late 1800s.

I liked this sculpture on the base
of the General's statue

Not Real

Why was I being so overly enticed
to buy a lottery ticket here?

On Puerta del Sol

The huge coal miner's strike rally was there on Tuesday night.

Uh Oh . . .

A small crowd with bullhorns was starting to gather about 75 meters from our "coal miner." Was trouble brewing?

Anti-Franco March

Fascist General Francisco Franco dominated Spain from the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 until his death in 1975.

Even today, 37 years after passing, memories of his regime are still a very sore spot for many of Spain's senior citizens.

We were hungry so we continued on to . . .

La Taurina
just off Puerta del Sol

We shared plates of jamon iberico salad, croquettas and shrimp swimming in a garlic sauce.

The cañas were cold and refreshing too!

After a little more paseo time, we needed some dessert.

Actually, we deserved it!

Chocolateria San Ginés

Churros and chocolate . . . YUM!!!

Three Italian Students
learning Spanish in Madrid

These girls were seated next to us so, of course, we started up a nice conversation. They are from three different cities in Italy but met two weeks ago while starting an intense Spanish language immersion class in Madrid.

We had a nice visit with these three fine examples of Italy's future.

By now it was after 11:00 p.m. and time to get back to the hotel as we depart Madrid via a high speed AVE bullet train from the Atocha Train Station at 9:00 a.m. for the lovely southern city of Sevilla.


Julien said...

No Claras?

George said...

There will be MANY today in Sevilla!!!!!!!!!!

steveswindle said...

Auf Wiedersehn Switzerland, Hola Espana!~!!! Tienen mucha buena comida in Espana tambien...woohoo!~!

George said...

Si Esteban, SI!!!