We reached Madrid by 2pm, so I decided to catch the flea market in El Rastro which is there every Sunday till 4pm in summers. We quickly made our way there. It was an interesting market but already winding up, strange that though the Spanish seem so laid back but they are very punctual. The trains are on time and especially if the superfast (Avi)train is late they give compensation, if its late by less than 15mnts, and full refund if they are late by 15minutes or more, quite unlike the trains in UK which are late by the norm. We had to buy a shoulder bag and some other general stuff and souvenirs. On the way we spotted a candy shop and clicked a snap for Soumya as the shop was closed & we couldn't buy anything.
After that we went into a sleepy cafe just to give our feet some rest and catch a coffee.
Then we headed for the Plaza Mayor, which is a large open space, square, to enjoy the distinctly european culture of sitting in an open cafe. Madrid seemed to me a city of squares, innumerable and this was the largest of them.
We sat in an outdoor cafe and tasted the Mediterranean cuisine.
As we came out of the square there was a parlour of frozen yoghurt which seemed to be a rage all over Spain & to which Shaleen took a liking with a vengeance, I think there was hardly a parlour we crossed where we did not stop for the yoghurt, no matter how much we had just eaten.
By now it was time to head for the Museo del Prado, it was free entry time between 5-8pm on Sunday, (but they closed down by 7pm). As we walked along Paseo del Prado I had planned to just take a look at the Caxia Forum, which had seemed an interesting building with a vertical garden.
We reached Museo del Prado, along with free entry, there were free locker facility to keep our stuff, usually all over Spain there were lockers where you could put a one euro coin, lock your stuff and when you retrieve your belongings, you get it back, the euro.
We quickly headed towards the 1st floor, took a look at the Ruebens, few Goyas. In general it reminded me of Louvre, which is the better of the two. But the art is different and that cannot be compared. Photography is prohibited inside. Much to our disappointment they herded us out one hour earlier than what we thought was the closing time.
There were scores of tourists just lazing around outside and we did the same.
Next we walked to the Parque del Buen Retiro, just close by, something similar to the Central park in New York. Bustling with activity. the artificial lake being the centre of things.
After spending some time in the park, we took a metro to Gran Via, most cities in Spain have a main road, which is known as the Gran Via, something like the Mahatma Gandhi marg in India.
Gran Via we thought would be comparable to The Champs Elysses in Paris, although that was not so, but it still had its own charm.
This was the scene as we walked towards our hotel.