A day in Madrid

posted in: Home, Spain | 2

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.

Plaza Isabel II
Plaza Isabel II

Market of San Miguel

The building, of cast iron, dates back to 1916.Today it is a gourmet market, a kind of indoor street food venue with delicatessen stalls of food. The Market of San Miguel was humming when we visited!

Market of San Miguel
Market of San Miguel
Inside the Market of San Miguel
Inside the 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.

Chocolate and churros
Chocolate and Churros, and 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.

Monasterio Descalzas Reales
Monasterio Descalzas Reales

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.

2 Responses

  1. Candy Blackham

    No, not a good ending, and yes, masks were obligatory on the underground in Madrid. Not sure how I caught it, but I am much better now. Thank you for your good wishes and I hope you will have an enjoyable festive season.

  2. restlessjo

    Not a good ending, Candy! At this very moment 2 friends are on the train to Madrid, and I just received a photo of them wearing masks, which are apparently still compulsory on Spanish trains. It seems a long time since that was the case in Portugal, but the virus is still around. Wishing you a healthy, happy festive season.

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