Poking a busker with an umbrella to work out their trick is a bit bloody rude especially when the poor bloke is already stuck two metres off the ground. But that’s what a tourist in Puerta Del Sol in Madrid thought was ok to do to the “motorcyclist sculpture”. I felt so bad for the guy I gave him a coin myself.
Puerta Del Sol was the start of my two-hour wander around many of the city’s attractions. I had strolled in from our Airbnb apartment in the gay neighbourhood of Chueca just a few minutes away. Using an itinerary outlined on a scooter tour website, I left the hustle of Puerta Del Sol to seek out the bustle of Plaza Mayor, with a short walk past delectable cake shops.
Plaza Mayor is a huge pedestrian square enclosed by heritage buildings some adorned with frescoes overlooking cafes and street entertainers. A trumpet player gave the space a Spanish air. Headless flamenco dancing and bullfighter mannequins offered selfie opportunities. Love-locks encircled a pillar.
San Miguel Market is a beautiful food court just outside Plaza Mayor. I picked up a mix of olives on skewers to take home on my morning walk but when we returned later that evening we indulged in olives and sundried tomatoes with cheese for one euro per stick, two tapa-size plates of paella, fresh mozzarella and tomato, churros and chocolate, and chilled glasses of white wine. There was so much more to be had especially for meat eaters and ice cream lovers.
From the market and heading down the shopping street of Calle Cuchilleros I passed by Plaza De La Villa before turning right towards the imposing Cathedral de la Almudena and the Royal Palace.
The Palace and the church face each other with a fair amount of space but an unobstructed view between them. I imagine there’s a message in that for both the ruling family and the clergy in this Catholic country.
Across from the Palace in the direction of home lay the Opera House and gardens of Plaza De Oriente. Alas, I’ve only got photos in my head of these memories – a busy area simultaneously hosting a car ad in the making and a raucous street band, while actors in soldier uniforms chatted outside the stage door.
Winding through alleys and then along the main avenue Gran Via took me back to the bars and rainbow flags of Chueca.