|The Madrid symbol of a bear eating fruits from a strawberry tree.|
This symbol originated from its coat of arms from the Middle Ages.
This statue is on the western side of Puerta del Sol.
All the museums were hard to navigate because they were usually in large impressive buildings of yester years; this meant if the rooms were on a 3 by 3 grid or 4 by 6 grid, they were all connected. This makes for circumnavigating each room and visiting every room without back-tracking difficult.
|The Prado from Phillip V Street side.|
|Museo Reina Sofia and Lichtenstein's Brushstrokes.|
|Museo Reina Sofia and its other entrance.|
|Temple of Debod|
There are only two other places in and around Madrid that I would try to visit that I haven't already. One is Palacio Real which is the official residence of the Spanish royal family and the Escorial which is also a royal family retreat/monastery. The Escorial is hard to get to but looks amazing in pictures. Large tour groups to Madrid often only stop at the Prado and the Escorial.
|The interior of the Casa Hernanz Alpargateria with woven grass soles lining the wall.|
|The line outside Casa Hernanz Alpargateria by the time we left.|
Espadrilles are traditional Spanish shoes worn in the summer, but bought now by tourist rather than locals. We went to Casa Hernanz Alpargateria around 16:20 and it wasn't to open until 16:30. We sat in a nearby cafe for a drink and saw from far away that a few people were gathering. The shop seemed to open a few minutes early and once we walked to the front door, we were already the 6th or 7th in line. It took half an hour for our turn and an hour before we had our purchase. But the time we got out of the store, a very long line had formed. It isn't a wonder why people would buy espadrilles as they are well-made, comfortable, and cheap. But I noticed almost all shoes made in Spain highlights comfort. I guess in a culture where walking is a necessity, comfort is non-negotiable.
|The view of Mercado San Miguel as you exit the southwest side of Plaza Mayor.|
|Fried seafood mix, assorted olives, and sangria at Mercado San Miguel.|
|Acorn-fed Iberian ham.|
|Tapas for newbies.|
Sangrias are a must. But I ended up questioning whether sangrias are popular with locals and therefore tourists drink it, or because tourists think it is popular with the locals, drink it and therefore it is popular. You can find it on every menu, individual-sized or as a pitcher to share.
Churros con Chocolate is something you can buy in many cafes and breakfast places. It is basically a cup of hot chocolate with a small stack of churros. Except these churros are not the straight, cinnamon-sugared things in the U.S. Churros in Spain are also fried star-tubed dough but looped and unflavored. You are supposed to take the churros and dip it in the hot chocolate before taking a bite. Dipping really makes a difference!
|This is front door of the Atocha Station.|
This entrance is not accessible except by foot and far from the platforms.
|An inside view of Atocha from the second floor.|