Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Spanish National Holiday and the Opening Game of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Basketball Season

Wednesday, 12 October, 2016:

Today in Spain they celebrated the Day of the Hispanidad. In America we call it Columbus Day.

It is a day for Spaniards to show their pride in their country so military parades and wrapping themselves up in the nation's flag is the must thing to do.

Because of the National Holiday, the Osos would not practice in the evening so I had a rare free day to meander about.

Who doesn't love a military parade? I was thus off to my first venture via Metro from Arganda del Rey to the Plaza Colon in downtown Madrid to review the troops.

Of course I had no idea when the parade started so I opted to start my trek at 10:30 a.m.

I needed to first make the ten minute walk to our local Metro stop and then board the first of four Metro trains that would eventually deposit me at the Plaza Colon. Total time traveling was about one hour.

A La Casa Grande, definitely
not THE La Casa Grande
Christopher Columbus
Statue on Plaza Colon

Colon is Spanish for Columbus and was the focal point for the parade that was already in full progress when I arrived.

Of course, since it was both my day off and a National Holiday, it rained all day long.

Locals told me that it was Madrid's first rain since March.

Glad to have experienced it.

On to the parade . . .

Horses . . .

. . . LOTS of horses

And the caissons go rolling along

 Rain . . .

. . . LOTS of rain

Laurie would have loved the horses

Umbrella Framing

I only witnessed the final 15 minutes of the parade but after the last set of horses went pass I decided to follow them for a closer look at the animals.

Cannons at the ready

Interesting Building

Big Horses

More Big Horses

Load them up for transport

 Military Pride

Mini-Dia de la Hispanidad

Spanish women LOVE
men in uniform

Parade done, I decided that a walk in the rain to the Puerta del Sol was a good idea.

I LOVE the Flash

 Such a happy face

The National Library

 Santa Gloria Coffee & Bakery

It offered shelter, free wifi and a delicious croissant, tortilla Española and cafe con leche.

I was happy. 

The big outdoor bookselling exhibit
was still open despite the rain

Looked like a real
page turner

I just liked the look of it

After getting still wetter, I ducked into the Mercado San Antón for another needed break in the action.

Good looking butcher shop

I avoid sweets at all costs


Osos Rivas red game shoes?

First it was Conflict Diamonds,
now this . . .

It was raining still when I got to
Puerta del Sol

Cool Door

By this time I was completely soaked when it struck me.


Just the place I needed

Drying out

It was my first time dining in the
Chocolateria San Gines basement
seating zone

 Churros and Chocolate

Now, THAT'S a reward!

Best 4 Euros I've spent in the past two weeks.

It was time to return to La Casa Grande, I was wet and wanted to get much warmer.

Musician Family at the
Opera Metro stop

Usually these Metro stop performers are young people. Obviously these were veteranos.

He was really good and I felt good giving him some money as his mujer looked on.

An empty Metro stop where I
made my transfer from the
Metro's #2 line to the #9 line

I LOVE a good croqueta!

Early in the evening I received an e-mail from Guadalajara Stings coach Hector Manzano asking if I cared to join him to eat a small dinner and watch the opening game of the 2016-17 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague basketball season.


 Madrid's Barclaycard Center

It is state-of-the-art, but before entering we went around the corner for a new Spanish taste treat.

 This was the place

 It was packed before the game

A plate of Torreznos

A caña too but of course.

Torreznos are delicious park parts slowly fried in olive oil until they get a crisp edge.

Incredibly good food can be found all over Madrid in particular and Spain in general. 

A total of three Madrid locations
to find these treats on future
strolls in the Capital

We also had some croquetas before leaving for the game because it seemed like the right thing to do.

Little did I know how good Hector's tickets were.

We were VIPs!

The tickets actually belong to a bank and a friend of Hector's with bank contacts was the one who scored the two ducats for us.

One of the men standing in the box
two rows behind us is
Real Madrid's President
Florentino Pérez Rodríguez

Real Madrid Basketball Ultras

Passionate but no where near as potentially ominous as there Real Madrid fútbol counterparts.


Starting Fives
Real Madrid vs. Olympiacos Piraeus

The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague features the 16 best basketball teams in Europe who engage in a 30 game season.

Tonight was the Opening Game of the season as the other 14 clubs will have their first competitions during the next two nights.

The Olympiacos Piraeus hails from Greec as you probably guessed.

Real Madrid in white,
Olympiacos Piraeus in red

Real Madrid Cheerleaders
in hardly anything

At Halftime it was off to the
VIP Lounge where all food and
adult beverages were FREE!

Contreras' Rule #1
"Free food is not fattening"
I love cheese . . .

. . . all kinds of cheeses

Everyone got a free RM flag
in their seats, time to wave them

Real Madrid won easily

Just another great day on the Iberian Peninsula!

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