After gorging myself on – let’s call it brunch – at the Mercado de San Miguel (yes, all of that was before 10 am, and don’t judge me), I decided I should probably try to walk off those calories. I took the long route to the Plaza Mayor, wandering towards the Puerta del Sol first. I realize with a hop, skip, and a jump I would have been at the Plaza Mayor in about three minutes (see the map), but I really needed to move around, and I hadn’t explored this area yet, so it seemed like a win-win.
There was more street art, of which I could really not get enough. I wish the cities in the US would adopt the “Love your City” campaign, because if you have pride in where you live, you (and others) just might respect it a bit more.
I have to say, though, while the street art was fantastic, the advertisements and store names really took the cake today. From themed restaurants to what might seem important to advertise, to just naming your apartment building – Spain is really great for random signs and fun tag lines.
My extra-long route took me back up around several random streets, and then along Gran Vía. I somehow wandered into a major shopping area where I was too poor to even look at the stores in there. High-end fashion designers’ names lined the streets, and while I was tempted to head into Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Louboutin, I refrained. I was afraid if I sneezed, I’d owe the store more Euros than my life is worth. In any case, I was happy to see the Spaniards basking in the warm sunlight and enjoying the (finally) beautiful weather. I wandered around, enjoying the shopping, the architecture.
After an hour or two, I made it to the Plaza Mayor, and was happy to see that the entire perimeter was lined with outdoor tables and restaurants. I’d done a lot of walking, and was ready to eat again! As it was Friday, the day before the European Champions League Finals, there were hundreds of people in Madrid for a long weekend, and because so many of them were tourists, they decided to visit the Plaza Mayor as well. I’m not a stalker, so I have no photos, but all I can say is that the eye candy (minus the incessant smoking and cursing) was quite nice.
After hanging out in the Plaza for a bit, I decided to walk up and around a bit more and to my surprise, I discovered the Midwest, in the middle of Madrid. Even though I wasn’t even remotely hungry, I had to stop in and have a Nebraska bocadillo. It was good, I was stuffed, and I can still say I went to Nebraska this year! (I also visited Iowa, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any traces of Smokey D’s 😦 )
I traveled from modern Madrid to old Madrid, to the Midwest, and to what felt like the poshest, most expensive streets of London, Paris, or New York. I ate my fill, enjoyed the, ahem, scenery, and finally got to enjoy the sunny Spanish weather I was promised. It was the best Friday I could ask for…but…I know I was on vacation, and I know I wasn’t in the office (and thank the LORD there was no way the office could reach me), but I was very, very excited for the weekend.