It was another day in Madrid, with lots to see and enjoy. And that is what happened, only there wasn’t a happy ending.
Around the Plaza de Isabel II
The underground took us to the Opera stop where we emerged into the lovely Plaza Isabel II which is also known as the Plaza Opera. It has a fascinating history.
There was once a spring here which supplied the Royal Palace and the citizens of Madrid with water, conveyed in canals. The spring was known as the Fountain of the Pear Tree. The River Arenal apparently made a small ravine here and this was filled in to create the square. The depression in the ground that once existed is highlighted by the Stairway Street, the Calle de la Escalinata.
From there we wandered down the side streets to the Market of San Miguel.
Market of San Miguel
Chocolate and Churros
Sightseeing is of course tiring and so we foundourselves in the Chocolateria 1902, a family-run and very famous cafe for enjoying thick hot chocolate and churros. It was just too sweet for me, hence the mint tea.
Monastery Descalzas Reales
Onwards, to visit the Monasterio Descalzas Reales. This Convent of the Poor Clares dates from the 16th century – in Spain ‘Monasterio’ means both monastery and convent – confusing. It is very grand but then it started life as a Royal Palace. It was also one of the richest convents in Spain in its time. By the 20th century it was a different story and the nuns were given Papal dispensation in 1960 to open the convent as a museum in order to raise money.
No photographs inside. And only guided tours with a guide who was determined to give us a blow by blow account of every picture in the monastery, good bad or indifferent. I started feeling very odd and we left before the end of the tour.
Along the Alcala
From the Monastery we wandered down the Calle de Alcala for a look at more contemporary Madrid.
And that was the end of my day in Madrid and also explorations for several days because as the hours passed I felt increasingly odd. I had Covid! It wasn’t at all nice, and certainly not just a little cold. Fortunately we were in an AirBnB and moving on to another one. Somehow the next few days, which included driving to Soria, passed.