After a pretty rough outing in Galway for Mr Alan M's stag, and an equally rough
airport drive with Mike Murray way too early, I found myself in Madrid, Spain.

Madrid, Spain


Full size
This is called a bocadillo, or small sandwich. A lot of food is served in smaller portions or tapas
at bars, in order to discourage people from drinking on an empty stomach.


Full size
So, after arriving on a Ryanair flight from Shannon, I found where I would stay the night and began touring the city.
This is the Plaza Major in the centre of town and the frescoes here mark the Royal Bakery. Even when Natalia
doesn't travel with me, I still seek places out for her.

Video of a look around the Plaza Major VIDEO


Full size
Some of the bright red buildings around the Plaza with their wrought iron balconies.


Full size
I think I took this picture for my sister-in-law Leah, who is a pharmacist.


Full size
This is City Hall in the Plaza de la Puerto del Sol. This is where Real Madrid would celebrate
later in the week their mighty victory of the Champions League.


Full size
I liked the statue of the bear and the tree. It turns out that this is the symbol of the city -
a bear nuzzling a madrono - or strawberry tree.


Full size
Neon beer sign on one side of Plaza de la Puerto del Sol.


Full size
I took a walk down to a flea market in the older part of the city on Sunday morning. I enjoyed
the Penguins logo amidst the band patches. I didn't realize that the Penguins were a common
punk interest.


Full size
Peacock earrings I just about bought for Natalia since they match her peacock blouse HERE .


Full size
I really wanted to see a bullfight when I was in Madrid. I made my way to the Plaza del Toros, but rain
was forecast and so I had to settle for wandering around outside the bullfighting stadium.


Full size
Sculpture outside the stadium - Plaza de Toros Monumental de las Ventas.


Full size
Here is what I wanted to buy tickets for. Pretty sweet poster actually.


Full size
A torero (bullfighter) statue.


Full size
Yes, I was there, but alas, no bileta!


Full size
The statue actually looks like the bullfighter is being tossed by the bull.


Full size
After the no-show at the arena, I decided to take a tour to see where Real Madrid plays soccer (football) -
El Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. On this day I was a Madridista since Real Madrid won the Spanish La Liga
against Real Mallorca 3-1 that day. The commotion around the stadium was because the team was due to
arrive in a few hours and people were lining up to cheer their team on (there was no hope of getting
tickets).


Full size
They had mounted police wandering around keeping troublemakers away.


Full size
This guy is clearly a big fan. I used to think that hockey was filled with pretty serious fans.
Then, I went to Spain and saw the crowd OUTSIDE the stadium.

Video of the crowds going nuts. Remember that the game doesn't even start for a few hours VIDEO

A video of one of the chants. Shortly after this, firecrackers went off and so did a few flares VIDEO


Full size
The hallowed Stadium. I guess this would be comparable to the Montreal Forum back in the day.


Full size
Some of the flares and mass rioting going on to celebrate the team getting to the game.


Full size
I left the insanity at the Stadium and toured around a little more. It was a Sunday but I
wanted to see more of the city. At the southern end of Gran Via is the Metropolis building.


Full size
In the Plaza de la Cibeles is one of the most beautiful buildings in town. It's called the Palacio
de Comunicaciones, but it's actually used as the central post office currently. At some point the
city will take it over for their ayuntamiento (city hall). They were already starting the cordoning
off for the evening's parties expected if Real Madrid won.


Full size
The view up Calle de Alcala.


Full size
I took a walk through Parque del Retiro and wandered by the estanque (lake). I happened to catch it
with the sun coming down. The city wound up going absolutely bonkers on this night since Real
Madrid did win the La Liga. There were people in the streets for hours and hours with screaming,
partying, and general merrymaking. The pictures didn't turn out, but the memories did.


Full size
The next day I began my walking tour through Madrid. I took a picture of this bar because of the
penguin drinking beer statue. Now, how do I stash that in my carry-on?


Full size
This is the 17th century Plaza de la Villa, where the present city hall is.


Full size
I liked the use of space here to get a walkway above the street level. This is a perfect example
of laziness since the owner likely didn't want to walk all the way downstairs and across the plaza.


Full size
Mudejar tower of the 15th century Iglesia de San Pedro El Viejo.


Full size
I'm not sure why, but I really enjoyed this janitor at the Iglesia de San Andres. It's like 9 in the
morning and he's got a big fat cigar he's working on.


Full size
I took this for Natalia since this kid has a collared shirt and a sweater.


Full size
Spiderman was just chilling out on a balcony.


Full size
Of all my luck, it turns out that the Royal Palace (Palacio Real) was closed for some event,
so I couldn't get in for a tour. Pretty posh-looking though. This thing has 2800 rooms.


Full size
The church next door to the palace - the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Almudena.


Full size
Plaza de Oriente.


Full size
From the inside of the Plaza you can see the elegant apartment buildings that surround this square.


Full size
A look at the side of the palace from the gardens (Jardines de Sabatini).


Full size
There was a company renting out Segways to tour the city.


Full size
I took the Teleferico across the Rio Manzaneras to have some different views of the city. You can
see the palace from on top the cable car.


Full size
Going across the river.


Full size
Now this roller coaster looks like it has a little something on Calaway Park for sure!


Full size
Caso de Campo - a popular semi-wilderness just west of the main part of the city. I liked how the
terrain went from grasslands to these really tall trees. It makes for a really sweet canopy.


Full size
Similar to the sculpture, here is the mark of the city.


Full size
Some kind of a weird flowering cactus.


Full size
I thought Erik Olson would appreciate a pirate-themed kids' play area.


Full size
I just really liked this train station.


Full size
The inside of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is in an old hospital. My two favourites here were
Picasso's Guernica and Salvador Dali's classic El Gran Masturbador.


Full size
The outside of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.


Full size
I went back to the Plaza de la Puerto del Sol since that's where they were celebrating Real Madrid.
Here is proof that I was there.

I think I heard "We are the Champions" about a 1000 times - VIDEO

Real Madrid being loved by many. If you look close, you can see David Beckham - VIDEO

Not quite the Stanley Cup, but they were stoked - VIDEO

Return to picture index