Yesterday, we said goodbye to our friends Cathy and Scott. We have had a great time with them in Spain. They are over a month away from returning home and Portugal is next on there travel list.
Jill and I traveled to Madrid by high speed train arriving at the train station in Madrid at just after 4:00 pm. We grabbed a cab (very efficient handling of a large number of people wanting cabs) and met Mar at the apartment. She took us through her apartment explaining how everything worked, gave us the keys and left us with a bottle wine, pastries, milk, orange juice, bread and chocolates on the bed. The apartment is in a wonderful location, literally minutes from many attractions. Mar also arranged for a cab to pick us on Saturday morning. She is a very gracious and helpful host.
We have two words for Madrid . . . cold and wet, however we did see some very interesting churches, palaces and buildings.
We intended to begin our day by visiting the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande which was literally just around the corner from our apartment, about a one minute walk. However, we found that it was not open when we arrived and decided to come back to it later in the day.
About a five minute walk away was the Catedral de Santa María La Real de La Almudena also k own as the “Cathedral of Madrid”. The construction of this cathedral began in 1879 . Once again, this cathedral (it seems) was built on the site of a medieval mosque that was destroyed in 1083. Believe it or not the cathedral was not completed until 1983 when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Today it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. This cathedral reflects Gothic revival design with the interior being Neo-Gothic and is uniquely modern inside. This is truly a beautiful cathedral as hopefully the pictures indicate.
We discovered just how close this cathedral is to the Royal Palace. Our original plans once again were to visit the palace but it was closed for the day because of a special event. We did note that the flags were at half mast presumably because the the terrorist attack in London. We plan on returning tomorrow to visit it.
We had a late lunch and when we left the restaurant we found that is was raining quite hard and decided to return to the apartment and at 4:00 pm venture out to the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande.
The basilica is designed in the Neoclassic style in the second half of the 18th century. The dome is 108 ft in diameter and 190 ft in height. The church contains painting by Zurbarán and Francisco Goya. Once again, we joined a Spanish only tour, however pictures were allowed without flash. At the conclusion of the tour we were allowed to stay and take additional pictures. On our way the the gentleman who was selling tickets spoke enough English for us to get by and kindly took us the the very centre of the dome where he took a selfie with us under the dome with Jill’s iPhone.
After the rain abated , we went out to dinner. After dinner we walked through the streets and discovered a fairly new market. This market seemed to be designed for eating right there with tables and many different booths with all kinds of choices of food. Pity we had already eaten. From here we walked home and got some more night shots of the streets and the basilica.
All for now.