Yesterday afternoon I went out and explored a lot of the area around the Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor section of Madrid. Went into the Museo de Jamón and had a great bocadillo de jamón (a ham sandwich on big crusty baguette style bread) with a cup of coffee. I felt rejuvenated after that so ordered a glass of red wine which came with a delicious tapa of ham and chorizo sausage. It was all very inexpensive (3 euros for everything I got) but very tasty. I plan to stop there again.
My goal yesterday was to stay awake until it was a reasonable time to go to bed
. I wanted to get my body used to European time. I had fun wandering more around a lot of the twisted streets around the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Got lost a few times, but eventually would figure out where I was. I didn´t really have a set route I wanted to follow anyway, so it didn´t really matter where I was. It was fun being part of all the people out and about on a Friday night in Madrid. I didn´t stay up as late as most people here (Spaniard stay up and are all out in the streets until very late, especially on the weekends) but did manage to stay out until 10:30 and went to bed around 11:00. My room in the hostal is very quiet, so even though I went to bed much earlier than the rest of Madrid, I was able to sleep.
Slept for about 9 hours last night, but still felt quite tired this morning. (Guess I will need more than just 1 night´s sleep to make up for being awake for 36 hours.) Decided to go back to VIPs for breakfast again this morning. It is close to my hostal and an enjoyable, quiet place for breakfast. I probably won´t go there tomorrow, though, because it is in the opposite direction from the Atocha train station -- I'm taking an AVE (fast train) to Valencia at 11:30 tomorrow morning.
After breakfast decided to do a walking tour that is mentioned in a tourist brochure I have
. They have 7 different walking tours of Madrid and two of them are quite close to my hostal. The tour meanders through the streets around the Prado museum and was very enjoyable. I saw the Congreso de los Diputados (seat of the Spanish parliament) and Real Academia Española (which is where rules about the Spanish language are made). Also went into a beautiful church -- Church of San Jerónimo el Real. The walking tour ended up near the Atocha train station which was why I chose to do that particular tour -- I wanted to make sure I know where to go in the station tomorrow to catch my train. The center part of the station itself is quite pretty with palm trees and other plants as well as a pond with 100´s of turtles of all sizes. I stood with lots of other people watching the turtles for quite a while. Loved hearing the kids yell "hola tortuga (hi turtle)." Tried to take the most direct route back to my hostal so that I will know exactly how to walk tomorrow when I have my luggage with me (on my back).
By the time I got back to the hostal, it was was pretty hot outside and my feet were feeling sore. Good time to take a shower and update this journal.
I have done a lot of walking yesterday and today, so my feet are a bit sore now. I'm glad I brought 3 different pair of sandals with me so I can keep changing them and hopefully ward off any blisters.