Madrid Travel Blog

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I slept ok last night, waking up off and one. But I finally got out of bed at eight o'clock. I didn't have much to do since I didn't have anything with me but the deoderant I bought. I finally "met" the people in my room, a woman and a man travelling together from either France or Canada as they greated me with Bonjour. However, we did not say much more than that. I headed downstairs for my complimentary breakfast, a choice between hot chocolate, coffee, or milk; donut, croissant or cornflakes; and 1 glass of orange juice. I had coffee and a croissant and of course my OJ. I went back upstairs and gathered my things for another day out on the town.
I decided to do a walk through downtown Madrid with a detour to El Parque de Buen Retiro.
I started out on Atocha and walked to La Plaza del Sol. It was cool, lots of buildings and a cool wall separating the sidewalk from the street.
I turned up Calle de Alcala and walked all the way to El Banque de Espana. Here I gawked at the Metropolis and the other architecture you just would not find anywhere at home. I continued down Alcala to El Parque de Buen Retiro. I am so glad I decided to visit so early in my trip as I am dying to return. It is incredibly beautiful. It think part of it is the way the light its everything. The sun here is so bright and always shining. I was there early (maybe around 9AM) so all the joggers were out for their morning runs, as nothing here seems to get going until 10 o'clock or so. I saw the biggest duck I've every seen.
I'm not sure it wasn't goose, but it's neck seemed too tiny. There were a lot of cats, too. At one point a whole gang of them were convened under tree. It looked like an interesting meeting, but I didn't speak the language.
I headed back out La Puerta de Indepencia, the same one I entered. Outside the gate there is an imposing three arched stone structure just standing, kind of in the middle of nowhere. I headed toward La Gran Via, but got a little lost on the way. It was find because I got to see a lot of little streets. I saw FNAC (the big electronics store, sort of like Sam Goody or Virgin). The Schwepps and Rolex buildings were pretty cool; a large logo over and old Baroque facade.
Eventually I found La Gran Via. I walked on and off it taking side streets along the way.
It was close to noon and I was pretty hungry. I looked at a few places but I couldn't really figure anything out, so I got a little discouraged (something for me to conquer another day). I looked up what time El Museo de America was open until, and decided since I had a few hours I would check it out.
I boarded the metro at Callao and took it to the end of the line (Moncloa). After exiting the metro station I got a little lost and consulted almost every bus map on about five different streets. Finally I found signs pointing to the museum. I'm glad I didn't turn back to the metro because it was one of the most interesting museums I've seen. They had artifacts from all over the Americas, however the emphasis was predominantly on South American and Mexican cultures, areas of Spanish occupation.
A lot of the artifacts were things I had never seen before. One that particularly struck me was the knot language. Dr. Paugh had spoke of it in her lectures on language in different cultures. I cannot remember which area it was in, but they recorded communications with a series of knots on different colored strings. They also had some very old books, one by Voltaire which were impressive and even the museum itself was very modern. When I entered the museum there was a really cool pottery exhibit displaying Mexican pottery that mimicked Chinese porcelain and Also some more modern pottery, one by Frida Kahlo.
After the museum I wanted to return to the park to read for a while, but I also wanted to see if my luggage had arrived yet. The smell emanating from my body convinced me and I made my way back on the metro to the hostel.
My luggage was there!!!! I have never been so happy to change my clothes in my life, or take a shower. I didn't even care that the shower didn't stay on, the push button lasted less time than the one for the sink. Now I know why hippies don't shave.
I spent about 2 hours at the hostel chilling and putting pictures on my computer. The phone place was open at five so I decided to head down there and see about getting a card for my phone. I bought the card and returned to the hostel to figure it out. However, the effort was futile. The card did not work. But while I was trying to use it I hung out in the patio and some guy asked if I was British. I felt like I fit in!
After returning to the phone stand, I brought my computer down to the patio of the hostel.

A woman sat next to me with her Lonely Planet book and we started up a conversation. She was from Philly and had taken two weeks off of her job to come to Spain. At around eight I joined her and two other girls for dinner. We went right down the street to a great paella place. It's a completely graceless food to eat, but amazingly good....rice and random things thrown in. What could be better?
After we headed to Cadamomo to see some Flamenco. Her book said it was a good authentic place to see Flamenco, where people yelled "Ole!" and the dancing was beautiful. The book didn't lie. It was fantastic. My battery is extremely low, but I will update more about the Flamenco tomorrow and add a video or too so you can join in the experience too!!!
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415 km (258 miles) traveled
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photo by: vulindlela