My mission today was to see some of Madrid’s churches and most popular monuments. Monica was a trooper to tag along with me. We were on the streets at 8:30 and into Iglesia San Isidro just around the corner from our apartment in time for morning mass. San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and his remains are held in the church along with his wife, Santa Maria. This church was also the official cathedral of Madrid until the late 1900s when the Almudena Cathedral next to the Royal Palace was complete and assumed the title.
Next we strolled to the post office to mail some postcards and then into the absolutely stunning Basilica of San Francisco el Grande. What a gorgeous church! The windows are beautiful, of course, but really take a back seat to the statuary and frescoes. Photos are not allowed but since Mon and I were the only ones there, I couldn’t resist.
Next we visited the Cathedral of the Almudena at Plaza de la Armeria, next to the Royal Palace (residence of the King). This church was begun in the 1800s but not completed until the mid 1900s when it became the official Cathedral of Madrid. It is lovely with abundant statuary, historical relics and priceless artwork. The windows are contemporary and some are exquisitely vibrant.
We carried on to see Plaza de Oriente, stopped for gelato, strolled through Plaza Espana, and unintentionally into Iglesia Santa Teresa. Nice surprise… beautiful glass… very bright church compared to some others.
Then we walked the entire length of Gran Via. Lots of construction as the city is widening the sidewalks to accommodate the increased tourism. The architecture here is sublimely Spanish… ornate and grand. We paused for lunch at James Joyce Pub for chicken salad and chicken burgers. And then, into the huge and tranquil Retiro Park. This is a wonderful 350 acre green space in an otherwise concrete city. All around people were enjoying the peace and quiet.
Back to the apartment to relax and regroup with Maneau and Jake to share stories of our day. Monica’s i-phone had registered 14.3 kms. Our feet were a bit tired but glasses of wine dulled the throb. Refreshed, the four of us strolled to nearby Plaza Mayor for an excellent meal of paella and sangria at Los Galayos. It was a wonderful day in this wonderful city.
Here are the photo highlights of Day 20 – Exploring Madrid.