Madrid – Early Sunday 12/7/14

No coffee in our hostal. Stopped for breakfast – cafe con leche, plus a yummy potato omelet. The jamon (ham) on toast, however, was too slimy, chewy, and icky to eat. Washed that taste away with fresh-squeezed OJ. Took an early morning stroll (9:00 am) through Piazza del Sol – looked like a ghost town after last night’s mob scene. There’s an amazing candy/churro shop at the end of Sol. THAT was crowded.

Walked narrow quaint streets. Signs are ceramic tiles on the corners of buildings, with pictures so the illiterate can “read” them.  Calle de Postas shows the mail-delivery horse and carriage. Walked to Plaza Mayor, the site of public executions, burning at the stake during the Inquisition – horrific but popular entertainment (among the Catholics – Jews, Protestants, Muslims, not so much). Note the bronze depiction of a “heretic” being strangled, and another wearing a dunce cap.

Sundays Mayor is a stamp and coin flea market. There’s now a big Life of Jesus diorama taking up the center of the Plaza. And holiday tchochke vendors setting up their wares, filling much of the open space.

Near Mayor is a huge indoor fruit and gourmet foods market. A short walk from there is a little alley with one of the oldest buildings in town – a former jail. It still has an old wooden door – the oldest door in Madrid! The buildings on that square are an odd mix of stones, brick, and granite – too expensive to build all brick. Makes a lovely collage. Near there is a statue to the victims of an assassination attempt on King Alfonso 13th and Queen Victoria Eugenie (1906) as their wedding procession rode from their marriage ceremony to the palace. The King and Queen survived but 20 spectators died.

Down the block is the massive church, preferred by the royal family, despite the gorgeous chapel in the palace. That’s next on our schedule.

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