We didn’t venture out until quite late this morning. Our first stop was the post office where we eventually communicated that we needed to priority post the Paris key back to the USA. After this we separated; Mark and Tom off to do boy things and Belle and I off to shop. The boys first stop was to visit the bull fighting ring, Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas. We had all decided that we could not cope with a bull fight but they had a look around the venue anyway. From there they headed to the home ground of Real Madrid, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. We arrived too late to get tickets for the big clash last Saturday night with Real coming back in the last part of the second half from being down 3-1 to win 4-3. We were really sorry to have missed this. Anyway, the boys did a tour of the stadium which they really enjoyed. Mark will top this section off for you all:- Tom and I had a good “Boys Only” morning, walking around the Bull Fighting ring. Tom thought the place smelt of horse poo and was a bit sad when I explained it was Bull poo for the Bulls who were to be killed in the Bull fight (I think I would poo my pants too!). After the walk we went to a café for an espresso and hot chocolate (the best hot chocolate in Europe according to Tom). The café had real Bulls’ heads around the walls and photos of matadors in action at the local bullring, quite impressive.
We then headed for the Real Madrid home stadium (Attention Jack Mayer!). It was a very impressive self guided tour. We saw all the history of the club and glass cases full of trophies and memorabilia. There were screens showing all the great goals scored by the recent team players; Zidane, Raul, Beckham, Ronaldo etc. We were able to walk around the high seats of the stadium and at ground level. We even went onto the bench and into the visitor change rooms and the finally the press rooms. It was a very interesting tour of one of the best known sports teams in the world today – certainly much better than shopping.
For Annabelle and myself the morning was rather disappointing (that will teach them for going shopping – Mark and Tom). We started off at the department store El Corte Ingles which proved to be very disappointing, at least one notch down from Myer. From there it was back to Sfera and then to Zara where we had more success. We are rather holding out hope for Italy though! I do feel though that I am in need of help from my power shopping buddies, Tania, Janet and Elvie! Maybe… another time.
The afternoon was spent at the Palacio Real which I think would be better called Palacio Unreal. I had read that it was the third most extravagant palace in all of Europe, following only Versailles and Vienna’s Schönbrunn. A comment with which we all agree whole heartedly! One of the highlights was finding a suit of armour suitable for Mark’s beer gut. We all (except Mark) had a laugh at his expense but unfortunately we could not get a photo of the armour because of the Nazi security guards.
From there it was back to Plaza Mayor to bid farewell to Danny and relax in the square over a drink and more chorizo. A night dining out was canned as the kids were sick of Spanish restaurant food (too greasy for them) so we dined ‘in’ on crispy skinned salmon and rocket salad – boy Mark is a superb cook. This was only after an altercation with the rude ‘Carmen’ from fruit and veg in the supermarket of El Corte Ingles. She had the whole store staring at me!!! I tried to report her but, as usual, they all pretended that they ‘no habla ingles’. Some comments made at the check-out though left the young cashier glaring at me! Karl and Tania Mayer take note! I know for a fact that they all learn English at high school. So, all non-Franco (‘General’ that is not ‘Lagudi’) aged Spaniards have a reasonable smattering of Ingles! Anyway, a quality cheap (AUD$8) red wine topped off the meal, perhaps the best thing about Madrid! This was followed by some take out ice cream which is a whole other story!
This is a city where the Angelus tolls throughout the day though, making me think of the Brooks family and my parents….can’t be all that bad then, can it?!