Madrid, Day 2 – May 16, 2017
We got up and went to a local cafe for breakfast, because we didn’t shop for breakfast food. Besides, we decided that we are on vacation, so no cooking!
Today was another beautiful, somewhat overcast day, which was perfect to take the Hop On-Hop Off tourist bus. The hour and a half trip was an excellent way to see the main sites and where they were in relation to where we are staying. We sat on the upper level and were amazed at the beautiful architecture, the many palaces, the Botanic Gardens and many plazas. Many are within walking distance, but it is just as easy to take a bus or Metro to some of them.
We booked a morning “no wait’ tour of the Prado Museum. The line to get in can take more than an hour, or even two hours. I can’t imagine what the line looks like on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when there is free admission from 6:00 to 8:00. So, it was worth spending a little more than the admission to go right in and be taken to the most sought after viewing.
After the bus tour, Jim walked around the area near Plaza España, close to the apartment while I hit Primark, a local department store. I saw dozens of people carrying Primark bags, so, of course, I wanted to see what it was. Well, I wasn’t disappointed! I filled up a bag with clothes, accessories, and much more. They have a strange method of trying on clothes. You can only take eight items into the dressing room and they give you a number to hold your bag of other items yet to be tried on. When I decided that I didn’t want five of the first eight, I asked to swap them for five more. However, you can’t do that! You have to take your bag of goodies and get in line again and that line wasn’t short! WHAT? So, I asked if they could hold my bag, because I was meeting Jim in front of the store. NO WAY! So, I just bought everything I didn’t try on and since their return policy is liberal, I will just return the items that didn’t work out tomorrow. What a pain! Great stuff, though and the most outrageously cheap prices!
After a bit of time to relax, we took a stroll to find a good dinner location. We stopped in a couple of shops along the way and Jim bought his “dream” backpack. I know that we ladies are always on the lookout for the perfect purse or wallet, so I guess the perfect travel backpack is the male version. Sold! Continuing on, we stopped in one of, I swear, 100 shoe stores. Most of Europe, and certainly Mexico, has narrow feet for men’s shoes. To find a wider width in a style you want and like, is another dream fulfillment for Jim. Sold!
So, carrying his new backpack and shoes, we stopped at a charming outdoor restaurant with yummy food. The couple next to us were from New Jersey, via Lima, Peru. From their accents, you wouldn’t suspect they have lived in NJ for 23 years. They were eating at the restaurant and gave it a high thumbs up. So, we tried it. Good bread, mix of Iberian hams and salamis, along with crusty bread and olive oil, made the meal perfect. By now, it was 10:00 and these two weary people went to the apartment to crash.