Vino tinto with tapas: Shrimp and cream avocado at market San Miguel. Second pic is at Squinina bar Gallego Iberica ham, octopus in vinegar with veggies, and a pint. Last photo, a Madrid tradition churros and coco.
The iconic building on the Gran Via, or the main pulse of the city. All day and way into the early morning hours the wide, street teams to life with traffic roaring down its somewhat strait lines. People swarm along its wide, shop filled sidewalks talking, eating at outdoor cafes and dashing to and from work dressed in stylish clothes.
Walking on the streets of Madrid is a pleasure that seems to be everyones favorite when the weather is nice. I awoke this morning with no sound of rain on the roof and a bright line on the wall opposite the window. I prepared for a photographic day, and it did not let me down. Squinting in the brightness I stumbled over familiar bumps and curbs as I made my way to anywhere. The sound of cars was a constant noise that started to blend in, as it was both loud and never ending. My memory flashed as the hot coffee hit my lips, soft and foamy unlike our american version, I was not at home, no not with this simple pleasure. I progressed down a winding stairway I had seen before, and now felt I was a true person from Madrid. Joking with myself, ah this is the way just as it had always been a million times before. The recognition of areas of such a new environment makes one feel one belongs, and you leave just for a second...the fact you are a tourist. My pride became instantly hurt as I stepped into a tree well, filled with water from the damp day before, splashing and soaking my shoes and cuff of my jeans. Ahhh the tourist returns...
The winding streets in Toledo Spain are a vast network that seem to be endless. As I traversed over cobblestones, winding up and down I had to dodge the cars that would sweep down, their motors gunning, drivers confident in their skills. Pressing against a wall several times, and feeling for sometimes a few inches of curb space... I waited for this screaming monster to pass. This town with it's ancient walls and stones reminds me of Tasco (sp?) Mexico. Of course the mother country Spain had Toledo first so it's really the other way around. The museum or museo in Spanish was a crumbling structure with modern glass covering some of the ancient walls that are just about to vanish. The garden with it's courtyard was somewhat like one of the places El Greco lived, but the lucky guy with all the commissions he was able to land made him famous during his time. He would sometimes live in palaces while he was working on something for the king, cardinal, or other wealthy patron. This image above, St. Thomas is in a row of biblical people, including an image of Jesus with eyes so real, it almost made me weep.
Top picture is the wonderful, artistic Madrid airport. Below is the Plaza Mayor. It was built nearly 400 years ago. Started in 1617 it was finished just two years later. Designed by Juan Gomez de Mora. It was used for bullfights, jousting, official ceremonies, and autos-de-fe or trials of faith by the Spanish Inquisition. Walking in my jet lag stupor, I stayed true to myself and just could not sit still for long once I landed after many hours and a very restless night on the plane. Plazas with cafes are around every corner, bars with tapas mostly seafood and ham were too many to count, and the people of Madrid seem to enjoy life. I ordered a beer and some sliced aged ham, its texture and saltiness started to wake me up, and off I went to another spot for an espresso and more people watching. Table after table, young and old laughing, drinking, it was such a site after my 9 hour flight in such a confined space!