Well, we started towards the old Cathedral of San Isidro, and in a few minutes, three women walked in front of us wearing beautifully embroidered shawls and carrying silver staffs. They were soon joined by men in identical suits carrying a standard for their brotherhood “hermanidad”. We kept following them until they went into a door, together with members of a band, carrying brass instruments. Round the corner, crowds were starting to build up and police were mobilising. We managed to position ourselves across the road from the church, behind some shorter people, thus securing a great viewpoint. The band struck up and clergy and officials in bright robes processed out of the church, followed by an effigy of the saint’s wife and then Saint Isidoro himself. We joined the crowd who dispersed in Plaza Mayor, before heading to a smaller plaza, Santa Anna for dinner. This has been a highlight of the trip.
We walked for a couple of hours in the Retiro Park this morning, minus camera. The Queen Sofia art centre, was shut for the St Isidro city holiday. Then we went round the famous Prado art gallery, which we weren’t allowed to take photos inside, so I have exterior photos of the ticket queue and front. I’ve also added some photos of David’s of the reference point zero (from which references are taken) outside the former post office in Plaza del Sol, and a traditional shop from early last century. We’re heading to the San Isidro church this evening hoping to see people in traditional dress celebrating the saint day.
This morning we walked round Madrid and came across a model doing a photo shoot, then had coffee and goats cheese and smoked salmon “pinchos” at a stylish cafe near the Royal Palace. We went across to admire the horse guards and arrived just in time for the ceremonial changing of the guard. They didn’t allow photos of the treasures in the palace, but I managed one interior shot before I read the sign. We returned via the “Ronda” circular roadway which follows one of the old city walls. There are some cute little buses. First shot is the external elevator of the newly opened Queen Sofia Art Museum.
Arriving by train, we headed for the main square, Plaza Meyor where a friendly English-speaking guide circled key places to see on a map. Tomorrow is the start of the Fiesta of San Isidro, Madrid’s patron saint, so the city is abuzz. We zipped along, through Segways and bicycle tours to see the Almudena Cathedral, Royal Palace and monument to Cervantes, author of Don Quixote.
We skirted crowds to photograph the proud Edificio Metropolis (1910) in the main thoroughfare, Gran Via and back via the tree-lined Paseo del Prado walkway. Our curiosity was sparked by the ultramodern Caixaforum and an adjacent wall of plants. Tomorrow we will learn more of this great city…