Call it a reunion. Tres pares y una soltera. Friends for over 3 decades meet in Madrid for a solid week of fun & foodtripping before going off on an insane trip with only a shadow of an itinerary.
Before the appointed date, I took the chance to revisit my fav haunts. In Puerta del Sol, I was happy to see the iconic Tio Pepe signage up again. When the new building owner (Apple) took it down, many Madrileños made a lot of noise, and obviously they were heard!
The Palacio de Cibeles — formerly called Palacio de Communicaciones — is another Madrid icon that looks impressive day or night. I paid “my respects” on this recent visit to view these icons before trying my luck anew on the Royal Basilica de San Francisco El Grande located in the center of Madrid off Calle Bailen and Plaza San Francisco. You see, I just couldn’t time my visit before when the basilica is open. But luck was with me this one time.
Designed in Neo-Classic style, the central point of the royal basilica is its cupola or dome with paintings done by José Marcelo Contreras. At 33 meters in diameter, the dome is bigger than that in St. Paul’s in London and actually ranks 3rd in size next to the Vatican and Haggia Sofia. Surprised?
Just a stroll away from the Real Basilica of San Francisco El Grande is the other heart of the La Latina District. CAVA BAJA. One must try the pub crawl here, especially on a Saturday night. Amazing how I bump into folks who may have had a drink too many, but managing to stay clear of trouble. Just FUN, FUN, FUN!
Then there’s the “more quiet” areas of Retiro Park. Read: Away from the Lagoon area. And early evenings at Museo de Prado. Why early evenings? Free admission from 6 to 8pm. Daily, except Sunday when it’s free admission the whole day. Need I say more?
As I played tour guide to my visiting friends, I realize I just couldn’t grow tired of Madrid. The Sol, Plaza Mayor, La Latina, Salamanca and other barrios especially in the “Old Town” will forever hold my interest. Alone or with friends, this capital of Spain has captured my heart ❤️