Yep, it's definitely summer here in Madrid. I'm all for siesta when it gets us out of the heat of the day. We started this part of our adventure making our way from Barajas to La Latina on the metro picking up friends Lynne and Kevin along the way. In all my travels to Spain this is the first time in Madrid that there was public transportation available point to point rather than the bus to Plaza de Colon. Last time we were here Maia was an infant and it was mostly a tour of Madrid's parks to keep her happy.
We got ourselves set up in a GREAT flat. I highly recommend it for anyone traveling in a largish group. We are definitely living like kings and queens in the city of Spanish royalty. In fact today we also took a tour of the Palacio Real. Unfortunately no pictures allowed inside so I just have a few from the outside to share.
Just before hitting the palace we walked around the corner from our flat to check out El Rastro, a well known flea market, where we picked up a couple souvenirs for the kids. If you are a flea market kind of person or you just like people watching, you could easily spend hours here. It is a place where you need to watch your wallet and camera in a crowd, but worth it.
Following the market we headed through the Plaza Mayor to get to the palace. It was definitely full of people and lots of vendors out this morning as well. Frankly, on the walk to the palace I was amazed by the number of stores that were open since it is Sunday. Things have really changed in my 30+ years of traveling to Spain. I'm a bit disturbed by the westernization I'm seeing. There are fruit stores where you pick your own fruit, while wearing a glove and many of the stores are open on Sundays including clothing and grocery stores. We almost got run over by a Burger King delivery motorcycle and of course Starbucks has made it here as well. I'm not sure how they survive since it is so easy to get a much better cup of coffee in any bar on the street. I guess it is name recognition for tourists. Very sad... It will be interesting to see if there is as much western influence in the north as we are seeing here.