After a leisurely first day in Spain, hanging out mostly in Barrio Atocha, we had a good night’s sleep and were ready for seeing more of Madrid. Our day began with a “panoramic sightseeing tour” of Madrid which turned out to be a five-hour comprehensive bus tour of all the neighborhoods of Madrid. We loved getting a glimpse of the entire city since there is no way we could have covered this much ground on our own in two and a half days.
A sculptural tribute to Madrid’s famous matadors.
One of Madrid’s many glorious fountains.
Our final stop was the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) shown above. By this time we were exhausted and wondered out loud to our tour guide whether we should even visit the palace. Since we were the only two passengers left on the tour, we decided to do it since it would be like having a private tour. We made the right decision because our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the palace as well as every item in the palace, or so it seemed.
I thought I’d seen enough palaces in my lifetime, but this palace is a must see. It is twice as big as Versailles and might be in some ways twice as splendid. We visited twenty rooms in all, including many exquisitely decorated, and one decorated entirely in porcelain. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos in any of the rooms.
One of the two lions that greet visitors at the foot of the staircase. This is the French sculpture.
All this visible splendor drove home the fact that Spain was once a mighty, wealthy empire with the wealth and artifacts to prove it.
Upon leaving the palace, we lingered in the spacious courtyard for a while, then made a short visit to the armory right next to the palace where we saw many lavishly suited knights mounted on armored covered cabballos. The metal work on the armor was exquisitely detailed and most of it was made in Germany during the Hapsburg dynasty.
As you can well imagine we were quite exhausted and full of historical information and visions of splendor, so we decided to retreat to our room for…you guessed it…a siesta!
We agreed to stay in our neighborhood once again for dinner and had made a reservation for a trendy looking small restaurant, called La Veronica, on our favorite neighborhood street, Calle Moratin.
When we arrived at eight the place was still empty, but people slowly trickled in as the night wore on. We had a very trendy dinner with each course a small work of art. The best part: with wine our bill was only about 60 euros!
Another wonderful day in Madrid with beautiful weather, stimulating sightseeing and marvelous food at a reasonable price. I was falling in love with Madrid.