Since we spent most of our previous day in museums, we decided to spend today seeing all of the other main sites of the city. We mapped out a loop starting and ending at our hotel and set off walking!
Our first stop was the Plaza Mayor, which is one of a few major squares in the city. Nearby, we found a cool food hall selling all kinds of Spanish tapas - from paper cones filled with meats to toast bites topped with fish to fancy desserts. One stall even had three different types of Vermouth on tap. We weren't hungry, though - just a little bummed that we hadn't skipped our mediocre hotel breakfast
From the Plaza Mayor, we ventured just a little further to Madrid's main cathedral and palace.
Since it was Saturday, this main touristy part of the city was jam-packed with people. There was a giant line of people waiting to buy tickets for the palace snaked throughout the square in front of the cathedral. We were happy to see the cathedral and palace from the outside instead of waiting in line.
We did, however, spend some time checking out the statues in the big square out front of the palace and exploring the palace gardens, which did not require a ticket.
Next, we continued our rapid wandering toward a park that contains the Debod Temple. This temple is an ancient Egyptian temple that was deconstructed, transported from Egypt to Spain, and then reconstructed here in Madrid - which is pretty ridiculous. We figured the temple would have looked really impressive if the shallow pool surrounding it was filled with water, but it was still cool to see.
From the temple, we headed back through the square in front of the palace en route to the Plaza España. As we walked by the palace, though, we happened upon the changing of the guard ceremony. We watched two guards on brown horses ride up and change places with two guards on white horses.
After watching the ceremony, we continued onwards to the Plaza España, which had a big theatre on one side. From this square, we ventured up some nicely shaded walking streets lined with shops.
These streets took us to the Puerta de Sol, another touristy square, filled with statues and people dressed up in silly costumes to take pictures with tourists. I avoided the costumed-people and took pictures of the statues and buildings instead.
Having seen all the main sites, we finished our loop back near our hotel. Here, we decided to give into our desire for some American comfort food and went to the Steak-n-Shake next door to our hotel. (Even though it's an American chain, neither Dylan nor I had ever eaten at a Steak-n-Shake so it was still somewhat of a new experience for us.) We got burgers and what ended up being massive milkshakes. They were extremely satisfying and ended up leaving us full until bedtime.
After lunch, we headed to Retiro Park, which we we had also visited yesterday. On the way, we came across some monuments that we hadn't seen previously.
At the park, we found a nice shady bench in a different area than where we hung out the day before, and I posted while Dylan read. I ended up getting five posts done before the computer's battery ran out!
Once I could post no more, we spent a little more time wandering through the park as the sun started to set. It was quite beautiful.
I really liked these trees that we came across in one section. They reminded me of pull-apart monkey bread.
Still too full from lunch, we decided to skip dinner and head back to the hotel. I did one more post, and we did a little research for the next leg of our trip to Barcelona!