As parts of the renovations at the hotel are taking place in the restaurant, we all got breakfast delivered to our rooms. Nice plan, but as mentioned last night there is only one very slow moving lift! My breakfast was due at 8:30, so when it got to 9am I rang up to find out where it was, as I was waiting to eat before Skyping with my kids.
The poor hotel staff looked really harassed, it must be really hard work with four floors of people and only one lift! It was good to chat to Lizzy, Shellbe and Dan (Xavier slept through it again) and then next I skyped with Kelly and Daniel. Skype is such a great invention.
I was given a book of discount vouchers, and made a discovery about what I never expected to be able to see on this tour (all will be revealed tomorrow). I went on a city tour, and we saw:
1. The Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid)
2. Barrio Salamanca
3. Plaza de Colón
4. Plaza de Cibeles
5. Museo Del Prado
6. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium – the Football stadium of the Real Madrid club, can seat 85,000
7. Plaza Mayor – one of the main shopping main areas
The Markets we saw are nothing like in Barcelona or other cities we have been to. Instead of being crammed in and packed under a tent type awning it was a much more sedate setting, more like Moore Wilsons than the Wellington wharf or Porirua market on a Saturday morning.
We had lunch in Plaza Mayor square, it reminded me a bit of St Mark’s Square in Venice – crowds, buskers, lots of tables, souvenir shops, and instead of mask shops there were football merchandise shops. We also had a tour around the old town.
There was a really big demonstration about planned government cuts to spending, the city was full of protestors. There were at least 100 buses that bought them in and took them out. We had to get off our tour bus as it could not go through the middle of town. They were all wearing t-shirts and chanting, and although there was a significant police presence it seemed to be a peaceful protest.
We did a bit of shopping, I am at the stage of having to buy presents, I have been hoping to see suitable things and buy them the time, but I have not had a lot of luck. I saw the perfect present for one of my children but the shop was shut, it said it opened again at 5:30pm. I went back again from the hotel later – 30 minutes each way – but the shop was still not open, so maybe does not open on the weekend? Even though it was in the main strip.
A group of us (Scott, Michele, Dan, Brett, Suzanne and I) had arranged to meet for dinner at Botin’s Restaurant, said to be the oldest restaurant in the world. We had the choice of going at 8pm or 10pm, as they have two sittings a night. I’m sure you can guess which time we chose!
It was fun, very touristy, not fine dining, and you felt a bit like you were on a production line, as whatever you ordered arrived within five minutes of ordering it. But it was fun and the food was ok, and we can say we have been there.
Afterwards Suzanne, Brett, Scott and I sat out in the street area near the hotel, and people watched for awhile.