Madrid Day 2: Around the city
Sunday in Madrid wasn't as bad as in Seville, I mean in terms of finding things to do and see (all the shops closed at Seville on Sundays). It was as busy as regular weekdays. We had the full day to see all the major sights and it wasn't many to see in Madrid except for museums so we took it very easy. We first started off with breakfast, we walked out from our hotel heading to Puerta del Sol and just selected a place open for breakfast.
Right near the Sevilla metro station, we went in a cafe/bakery that served basic breakfast:
After a croissant and and a drink, we continued on to explore Madrid, the capital of Spain. We arrived Puerta del Sol where the famous Madrid symbol - statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree, lots of people were taking turn to have a photo so we waited for few min before our turn:
Puerta del Sol is a very busy square with many street performers and souvenir shops! Then we continued our walk and within few minutes we arrived Plaza Mayor. The plaza have many restaurants but probably not the best while expensive. I saw a group tour arrived there already in the early morning!
The plaza didn't attract to us as much so we heading our way to the Royal Palace. We passed by Plaza de la Villa and went in to take some photos:
In between Plaza Mayor and Plaza de la Villa, there's a famous market: Market of San Miguel. It wasn't as big as La Boqueria in Barcelona but similar where there are food stands ranging from cheese, fruits, and tapas.
We reached the end of the road and there is the Catedral de Nuestra Señora la Almudena, very beautiful white structure.
Next to the Cathedral is the Royal Palace! The beautiful gates and lamppost remained me of Versailles.
One thing I liked about the Royal Palace more than Versailles is that it is all white on the outside while Versailles is mixed with different colors on the front and yellowish on the back. However, no photography is allowed inside!!! That was the reason we didn't went in!
Instead, we went into the Catedral de Nuestra Señora la Almudena.
Entrance to the cathedral:
Before entering the cathedral, I pictured the interior to be very traditional but it turned out to be completely different. It's very "modern" that it's very simple, white, bright, and yet colorful on its ceiling! I couldn't help but standing right in the middle with my head up and keep taking photos of the colorful ceiling!
I almost forgot to have a photo of myself inside the cathedral!
I strongly recommended to come in and take a look!
We went to the back to have a view of the Royal Palace, we noticed the absolutely magnificent door! Huge door craved with unbelievable details, it is a piece of art by itself!
Another beautiful door at its entrance! It was speechless to think how much work a person or group of people put in to make those doors!
Before leaving the Cathedral, remember to check out the Romanesque church beneath the Cathedral (we didn't know about it until BennyMalaga pointed out in TripAdviso so thanks Benny!) He also mentioned that you can also visit the museum at the roof and get wonderful photos of the city below. We missed both!!
After we were done with the cathedral, we walked back out to the other side of the Royal Palace:
Time for lunch, time flies when having a good time! I booked Tapas Gratis El Biombo with discount and found the restaurant, near the Royal Palace. When we got there, it just opened, and we were the first one there. The waiter barely spoke any English.....uh-oh! No English menu either.....we are in trouble! The waiter did his best to explain to us, all he know how to say is "beef" "pork" "shrimp". He showed us a set menu, from body language and some English, I think he said pick 4 tapas. After spending more than a week in Spain, I have figured out some Spanish in the menu LOL like "shrimp" "chicken"..... We ordered a beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp tapa and have our fingers crossed!
The waiter bought us a plate of foie gras!!! Omg it was great!
It was good size too, we were almost fill after finishing the whole plate! Then, he bought us a plate of white asparagus, those were huge!
Here came the 4 tapas we picked, they weren't bad.
After the 4 tapas, the waiter came and clean up our table, at that time I was thinking we are done but then gave us new plates! At this point, I was thinking....maybe a dessert? So we waited and waited and then he came back with a huge steak!! Urg...did we order that? Or is it part of the set menu?
Although the steak quality in Madrid and most part of Spain isn't great, but the taste is pretty good! We were so full! My husband and I were guessing how much this meal going to be! Since it's a pretty small and local restaurant, they might not take credit credit then we'll be in trouble! We didn't bring much cash out because of our limited cash after the burglary! I told my husband if it came out to be more than 50 euros, you need to run back to the hotel to get more cash LOL! He said you go because I don't know the way back hahahaha! The moment has arrived....the bill...it was 30 euros phew!!! And they accept credit card hehehehe!
We had no clue what we ordered and how much but 30 euros for that much food, it wasn't bad at all! Here's the photo of the set menu, if you know Spanish, maybe you can translate to us haha maybe we got ripped off LOL!
The waiter asked us for dessert but we were totally full!!!
After the big lunch, we burned it off by walking to the Templo de Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple. It was very hot in the open so I was hiding in the shade and hubby ran out to take photos of the reflections.
We went inside as well, it is a small building with 2 floors, some areas have air conditioner so they were cool but still some areas were boiling hot! Inside contained some artifacts from the ancient template like hieroglyphics:
Here is a model depicting the original temple. The temple was originally built in Egypt but later relocated to Spain in 1970:
After the temple, we were finished with all the sights we aimed to visit today. Then, we walked all the way back to our hotel to take a nap and rest. We came back out at night for dinner, we didn't make any advanced booking so we didn't have a place in mind for dinner. We walked to Puerta del Sol and browsed through menus posted on the outside of restaurants. We sort of missing Asian food so we picked Sakura. It is a Japanese restaurant but ran by Chinese (yep we knew it won't be authentic). Their set dinner was okay included a spring roll, a soup, choice of entree, and rice or noodle. I ordered the chicken teriyaki and fried noodle but were okay not too bad. Total for 2 set dinners and 2 soft drinks were 21 euros pretty inexpensive! After dinner we went back to the hotel and went to sleep early because the next day, we'll be making a day trip to Segovia!