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Garden Parties and Dancing Madrileños

Just your typical Sunday in Spain.


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Sunday, May 19, 2019

With the late night yesterday, we weren’t moving too quickly today. I mean we were still out the door before 10:00, but just not with any kind of urgency. Plus we didn’t have too many things to do as we’ve covered quite a bit of the city and attractions already. If we had been more on top of things, we could’ve done a day trip. But alas, more Madrid it is for us :)

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On our way to stop one, we grabbed some tasty chicken baguette sandwiches and sat on a bench to eat them. It was quite nice...until a van pulled up blocking our view and showering us with exhaust fumes.

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From there we made our way to the Royal Botanic Gardens, something I never even knew Madrid had. It’s well organized and has all sorts of trees and plants and animals (cats, they’re everywhere!!). They also have this weird looking giant bumble bee-ish thing that is completely black. Very strange indeed. There were areas of color and pretty flowers, but sadly not as much as I would’ve liked. But hey, for 4 euros, I left happy.

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So partway through the garden, we became convinced there was a parade taking place outside that we were missing. It would get louder then softer, with bag pipes and drums and various other instruments. We couldn’t imagine what the deal was as it just kept going. It did provide a lovely ambiance to our garden visit, but where and what was the party for?!

Side note: I am sitting outside typing and someone just asked me a question in Spanish about directions...and I actually knew the answer!!! Insert dancing. Numerous people today have assumed I was Spanish and just started talking to me. I love that! End break.

As we were leaving the garden with the music continuing, we were oh so curious to find it. Turns out all along the Paseo del Prado, where a bunch of museums are located, they were having an arts festival. So at short intervals there would be a little group gathered, generally dressed in traditional clothing, and they would be playing music and dancing. Some were showcasing Madrid or other parts of Spain and there was even one with a Bulgarian flag. We jumped from group to group enjoying the sights and sounds. I particularly loved when the younger kids would join in and be dancing or playing the castanets with the older (wait...more seasoned) members of the group. Note: I have video to post at some point too!!

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Time to move along and get to our next stop. My favorite building in Madrid (and maybe anywhere) is Palacio de Cibeles. I was so excited to find out they had a terrace you could go up in for views over the city and to admire the dome and building up close. Well strike two for getting in as by the time we left the music and got to Cibeles, the tickets were sold out for the morning entry. And since it’s now 6:30 and I am clearly not getting there by 7:00, that’s strike three :( I guess it does give me a reason to return to Madrid. I was actually thinking about that today while waiting for the metro. I kinda feel like this could be one of my last times here. I mean I absolutely love Madrid, but with so many places in the world I haven’t been to yet, I’m thinking those are gonna have to start take precedent over return visits. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but we shall see.

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Enough of that sappy stuff, we’ve gotta move along. Aside from the timing, I had it all mapped out and perfect. Well my map went up in flames too when the metro stop we were right next to was closed. Ugh!! Luckily there was a different one not too far off, but it still annoyed me.

That metro was taking us out to Telerifico de Madrid, which is the cable car that runs from one side of the river over to a park on the other side. It’s an 11 minute journey with some fabulous views. I like cable cars in theory, but in practice they freak me out a little. This one was actually very smooth over the braces and not scary at all. It’s interesting to see from the old town area out to the newer old part to the sky scrapers to the mountains way in the outskirts.

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We bought a one-way ticket as from what I had read it seemed like the park on the other side was pretty big and busy and had a metro. Well not so much. It is a giant park: if you’re mountain biking or hiking or drive there for a picnic. But it’s a 20 minute walk from the metro with no real entertainment along the way. Add onto this we haven’t eaten since those small sandwiches about 5 hours ago and Jackie is now hangry. So we bought another one-way ticket back to where we had come from and were about to continue the death march of travel...ie going in search of food, particularly when you’re tired and starving.

With minimal speaking and no decisions being made, we eventually found ourselves back by Mercado San Miguel. I had no desire to fight the crowds and eat there, so instead I grabbed fresh juice and hightailed it away from there while Cindy took her juice on a wander through the market, hopefully successfully locating something amazing. I say hopefully as we have not met back up yet. My juice and I headed to the doner place near our hotel for what is very similar to a Greek gyro. It was delicious (although I wolfed it down so fast I was lucky to enjoy it at all).

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From there I took off toward the sunshine and plazas surrounding el Palacio. And that’s where I’ve been this whole time just typing away. But it seems a breakdancing troop has assembled just feet from me, so I must say adios and go check it out for myself. I see visions of gelato on my way back, so I’ll keep you posted.

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Turns out those dancers were the same ones we saw another day in a different square. I didn’t watch too long, before going to have one last look at el Palacio and heading back toward the hotel. Along the way I was distracted by a cute shirt in a window and ended up buying that and a Madrid ornament. When I got back, Cindy was nowhere to be seen. I opted to take a seat for a bit before deciding it was time to move along again. That’s when I spotted a note she had left. A few more minutes spent guzzling some water was just enough time for me to hear her unlocking the door...and to scare her when she opened it and I was standing right there. Oops!!

I asked if she was up for dessert, and naturally there is always room for that. Back out we went to enjoy some gelato (banana...my favorite, and brownie?! Why yes please!!) and people watching. One final stroll through Puerta del Sol wrapped up our time in Madrid. All that was left to do was get packed up and set the alarm for what turned out to be our less than 4 hour nap (but that’s no worse than my 1 hour nap on the way here, so I should be good). Lights out around midnight (really...where is the time going cause it felt like it was only about 9pm) and the alarm set for 3:40. Vacations are not meant for the weak (ha ha ha).

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Posted by JackiesJourneys 15:09 Archived in Spain Tagged spain madrid festival palacio_real teleférico botanic_garden

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