Sunday, May 31, 2015

Meeting Lena and Pablo on a SCORCHING Madrid Day

Sunday, 31 May, 2015:

We got up at a reasonable time to have a quick Spanish style breakfast and start some sightseeing before the BIG DEAL OF THE DAY, meeting my second cousin Lena for the first time at 1:00 p.m.

 That's our street

July 7th is my birthday

Although my body feels like I was born in 1822 some days, I was actually born a few years later.

First stop: Plaza Mayor

On Sunday's they hold a great stamp and coin collectors' flea market here.

 Serious Vendor

King Phillip II

Not too early for beers for some

I LOVE marineras

Much of Madrid was still asleep

Smart vendors were in  the shade

Laurie looking regal

 La Torre del Oro Bar Andalu

A great tapas spot on Plaza Mayor with a bullfight theme.

For those of you 100% against bullfighting, let me remind you that sometimes . . .

. . . the bull . . .

. . . wins

Next up was a tour of Madrid's Catedral de Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena.

But some local color along the
way was just bound to happen

What kind of a plant is this?

Oh, it's a cupcake bush

I wonder if it would thrive under California's strict, anti-drought watering regulations?

Look at me!

The great Spanish artists

Dedicated to the fallen who fought
in a battle on May 31, 1906

Hey, that was exactly 109 years ago today.

How cheeky

Santa Maria la Real
de la Almudena Cathedral

The undisputed Church-of-the-Day, it was commissioned in 1883. The actual building of the Cathedral did not start until 1911 and was finished in 1944.

Good start

Modernistic stained glass

The requisite Virgen to carry
around Madrid during festivals

Profile of the main altar

Ceiling above the main altar

Open air confession?

Died for our sins

Like that colorful main
altar ceiling a lot!

"Candlesticks are always
a good gift . . ."

Interesting candelabra . . .

. . . quite interesting indeed

The side altar of Santa Maria
la Real de la Almudena

We had to get a closer look at
her by climbing the stairs

Silver is nice

The Holy Trinity

I just liked it

Santa María Josefa del Corazon de Jesús

A solid choice. It was time to exit and move on with our day.

The Palacio Real sits directly
across from the Cathedral

Two well dressed young ladies
on their way to the Cathedral

It was a day to bring flowers
to Mary

Been a pharmacy since

Finally it was time for that promised BIG DEAL OF THE DAY . . .

Meeting Lena and Pablo!

Cute couple, don't you think?

We met them in front of 
the Teatro Real

From there they led us on a great locals' tour of 
Madrid via the La Latina neighborhood.

Aliens spotted in La Latina!

We stopped to eat tapas and have a few anti-dehydration fluids pumped back into our bodies on this hot day.

The place where we refueled, the Juana La Loca Restaurate/Bar, has a signature tortilla Española with caramelized onions that was incredible, as were all of the tapas that we communally wolfed down.

We would never have found it without Pablo and Lena's help.

During our tapas we were able to get to know them both. As they say here in España, buena genre!

On we walked to work off the meal . . .

Anti-bullfighting people

They tried to combat my earlier
pictures of La Fiesta Brava

Undaunted, we are still trying to buy two tickets for Tuesday night's corrida in the Las Ventas Plaza de Toros.

Lots of people dined outside today

African rhythms drew a crowd

There is a Centro Asturiano
somewhere in Madrid too

I've always liked these two chariots

Why go here?

Why for a roof top view of Madrid from the top of the Escuela de las Bellas Artes, of course.

Nice restaurant at Ground Zero
of the Escuela de las Bellas Artes


The iconic Edificio Metrópolis

Madrid is BIG!

With Lena

Laurie and Pablo enjoying
the rooftop bar lounges

Sorry about cutting you off a bit Pablo, as it was too bright to see through the camera's view finder.

I would like to make an appointment to
speak with you about the Federation
that runs American football in España

We bid our fond farewells to Lena and Pablo after our stunning rooftop experience. It was a wonderful day with two new friends.

It was back to the hotel for us for a little break from the heat before going out again in the evening.

Magic Hour

Buildings were glowing

Lots of treasures inside
this emporium

Dinner at La Taurina

Yes, another bullfight themed
dining spot for us

It was about 10:30 p.m. on a
Sunday night and Madrid was alive

A digestive perhaps?

Intriguing spot

The bullfight that we want
to see on Tuesday

Casa Toni was busy

An iconic Madrid sight . . .

. . . and another one

Whenever you see a road sign in Spain saying that Madrid is X kilometers away, they mean X kilometers from this exact spot on La Puerta del Sol.

Madrid at night is magical

As I have mentioned this in the past, the first time we came to Spain back in 2008, we visited only the big cities of Madrid and Barcelona.

At that time, Barcelona was tremendous (it still is for us today) and Madrid was OK.

Over the intervening years, we have spent a lot of time in Madrid due to our flights to and from Los Angeles taking off and landing here.

Every time that we leave Madrid, we find it to be a much better city than on first blush. This is a good place, except for Real Madrid of course.