After visiting the Prado Museum, I went back to my hostel to see what everyone else was up to. I didn’t see any of my friends from the walking tour at breakfast that morning and assumed they were still sleeping in after the bar crawl that we did the night before. I realized that while I was gone, I had some Facebook messages trying to coordinate plans for the day. I turned off my cellular data while I was in Europe, so I only had access to messages when I was connected to wifi. Anyway, I did end up meeting up with Romina and we decided to do some exploring together.
I was a little hungry, so we went back to the Mercado de San Miguel first because I was craving more of the bacalao tapas. Seriously, if I can find the same thing in Los Angeles, then that would be AMAZING.
I also tried some random sweets from a shop with the saddest gingerbread men that I have ever seen.
We decided to go down Calle Alcalá afterwards since we were told that it was a pretty big street compared to the other ones around Madrid. There were a few nice buildings along the way, though I’m not quite sure what any of them actually were.
When we hit the Paseo del Prado, we saw the Fuente de Cibeles (Cybele Fountain). The fountain depicts the Phyrgian goddess Cybele in a chariot pulled by two lions and it is a popular location for fans of Real Madrid to gather after the team wins important matches.
The Plaza de La Cibeles is also where the Palacio de Cibeles (Cybele Palace) is located. The building houses Madrid’s city hall and there was a banner that read “Refugees Welcome” hanging out in the front. Though a little conservative at first, Spain has received thousands of refugees from Syria and other conflict zones. Actually, this is another one of those topics that I would like to research more about in another post.
The other major fountain on this street is Fuente de Neptuno (Neptune Fountain), which is closer to the Prado. We didn’t go past it on this walk, but I wanted to mention it here anyway. This fountain features Neptune, Roman god of the sea, and is where fans of another one of Madrid’s football teams, Atlético Madrid, comes to gather to celebrate their wins.
Not too long after we started walking along Calle Alcalá, we hit Puerta de Alcalá, the gate that I saw when I was visiting Retiro Park during my first afternoon in Madrid. Again, I still can’t believe how easy it is to get across Madrid just by walking.
The two of us hung out in Retiro Park for a bit to watch the ducks and fish in the pond and listen to one of the performers play a song on a musical instrument called a hang. I actually found the name for that thing by searching “musical instrument that looks like an upside-down bowl”. Thanks, Google!
I had already visited Retiro Park, and you can read more about that experience here, but it was nice to take an easygoing stroll through the park again. Once we hit the opposite corner, we walked back to the our hostel.
Walking around is one of the best ways to get the feel of a city for free and there are always surprises to discover around every corner. Okay, maybe not every, but you know what I mean. Walk!