Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 31, 2014 -- Madrid, Spain

First, thanks to those of you who have posted comments or emailed me. I don't want to put my email address here in a form that a web crawler can catch and add to a spam list, but if anyone wants to write, convert this into a conventional email address. I think a human can figure out what to replace atter and dotter with: jack atter azroadcyclist dotter com.

I've committed myself to at least five more days of rest before resuming the Camino. My left leg is improving every day, but I don't want to get back to carrying a backpack day after day until it's completely healed. If I go back too soon, I'm afraid I will make it worse.

I did do some walking around the center of the city today, however. I visited the Plaza Mayor and the Plaza de la Villa and did some exploring of the neighboring streets.

I took the Metro to the Plaza del Sol and walked from there along the Calle Mayor or Main Street. I knew that the Plaza Mayor was off to the left, and if I hadn't been paying attention, I would have missed it. It has several entrances, and they all look similar to the one shown in this photo taken from the Calle Mayor.

Below is a shot taken inside the plaza, which is a bit of a disappointment, because behind the arches all around the plaza are shops and restaurants devoted to parting tourists from their money. There is not much of the historic plaza to be seen.

A short distance away, the much smaller Plaza de la Villa is more historic. The building that can be half seen on the right was once Madrid's city hall. Madrid's administration outgrew such a small building long ago, however.

Look down almost any street in that district, and you will see a number of marvelous old buildings. Below ks a shot I took down a side street while walking along the Calle Mayor.

Finally, for those of you who don't want to leave your hometown culinary delights behind, below is a picture of one of Madrid's upscale restaurants. I'm only half joking. In the U.S., people might eat at McDonald's, because it's cheap, even if the food is bad. In Spain McDonald's and other fast-food chains actually charge more than most other restaurants, and some people see the act of cramming down a Big Mac with fries as a high-status thing to do. I went into this McDonald's and paid 20 percent more for a cup of coffee than I would have paid down the street.

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