Thursday, October 14, 2010

Madrid Part II

So this is way overdue and I am already behind on the trip reporting, but here goes the rest of our time in Madrid!

Saturday morning, Kai and I were ready for another big day. We headed out to Puerto del Sol again and walked down another street.

There were a bunch of street people, like this guy who was covered in mud and looked like a statue, a lady singing opera and playing an accordion, and this 6 man group of musicians playing.
Looking at them, they look like a totally random group of guys that you wouldn’t think would hang out together, but they were seriously sooo talented! Their violinist must have had every single song memorized because he didn’t have any music and played with his eyes closed most of the time!

AND, check out this ham store!
They had them everywhere in Spain – just huge ham hocks hanging EVERYWHERE! You can’t tell from the picture, but the store was decent sized and their walls were covered with ham.

Also, there are TONS of old churches all over Madrid.
It was crazy to think of how long they had been around for. We would be walking down a street and there would be 2 huge doors to what looked like a small, run down building, but then we would walk through the doors, and it would be a massive cathedral with huge, ornate decorations.

Ffter checking out a bunch of the churches, we stopped in the Palace Gardens to eat our lunches.
The grass was a little wet, so everyone was sitting on cardboard boxes. We just had to wait our turn and then when a guy left, we snatched up his cardboard. I was so exhausted, but cold (It was super hot and all of a sudden, it got super cold.) since I was wearing a dress, so I used Kai’s jacket as pants and took a nap.

Can you tell who the homeless person is?

The park was right next to the Royal Palace, which we didn't go into, but we walked around it and it was really pretty.

From the Palace, we went to a huge cathedral (forgot the name, but it is right next to the Palace), bought tickets to a flamenco show at Las Carboneras, bought some treats at a bakery, and took them to the Royal Park.

Isn't the park pretty?!

From the park, we went to El Templo del Debod, which is this Egyptian Temple that was donated to England from Egypt a long time ago. It is on top of this hill that has amazing views of the city!

Finally, to finish the day off, we went to see the Flamenco show at Las Carboneras, which was really cool -- definitely worth the money.

Sunday we decided to try and make it to church. In order to get to the church, we had to take the train and get off at the Bull Fighting Stadium. When we got off, there was a ton of people protesting the bull fight. This was no ordinary protest though...there were hundreds of guys in speedos and girls in just black bikini bottoms -- no tops. They painted their bodies brown and were sitting in front of the stadium. I definitely took a double take cause I didn't really believe it, but its true...the girls were flying free! And all this on our way to church :)

After making our way through the crowd, we walked around looking for the church. It was in a completely residential area and we were lucky to actually find it since it had no sign and is on the ground floor of this apartment building. On top of that, it is gated, so we had to ask these women inside to let us in, and after some broken spanish conversation, they came and opened the gate. It was my first time being in a sacrament meeting where I didn't understand much of anything, but the members there were so nice.

After church, we bought some tickets to the bull fight (yup, even with all the protestors) for that evening, and then headed back to the city center. We walked down El Rastro, which is basically a huge swap meet with tons of stuff! We walked around, ate some empanadas, and then walked toward El Parque del Retiro. On our way, we ran into this huge bike race. Tons of bikes went flying past us and we were hooked. 12 laps later, we had gotten some free hats, and were cheering on the side when an American took first place!
From the bike race, we headed back up to the Plaza del Toros for the fight. It was beautiful weather and the stadium was awesome! It isn't their 'season' right now, so we were able to get pretty good seats for pretty cheap. There was an old Spanish man behind us who spoke no english, but knew all about bull fights, so Kai and I talked to him in our broken spanish to figure out what was going on. For some reason, I never realized that: (1) the bull dies every time, and (2) that more than one bull fights at each event (There were 6 on our night), so I was kind of sad at the beginning because the bulls really have no chance, but there were cool aspects. Overall, I am glad I went, but probably wouldn't go again.

Also, funny story from the fight...the stadium wasn't packed since this wasn't a high profile fight. The seats in the sun were really cheap, but we decided to get the seats in the shade due to recommendations from people at our hostsel. Anyways, there was a couple who were sitting halfway up in the sun. No one was anywhere near them since we were all in the shaded seats, so I figured they would move down since they looked miserable in the heat. You could tell they wanted to, but for whatever reason they didn't.

Halfway through, they tried to move down, but the usher came up and told them they had to move back up! It was so ridiculous, but funny at the same time...On our side, there were a bunch of old men, who would sit in seats until someone came to claim them. Then they would move to a different seat. Anyways, they kept doing this until finally, this usher lady came over to tell them they needed to find their real seats. The old man looked at her, reached into his bag and gave her some pastry, and then she left them! So we had an usher who could be bought with sweets, and another who wouldn't let people move down when no one was near them!

After the bull fight, we headed up to the train station to take our night train to Barcelona!


  1. I can't believe he was bought with a pastry! Dang funny. I can't believe the topless ladies on your way to church. gross. Spain looks cool.

  2. i FINALLY found your blog. and i love it. and i miss you. come back ok?