El Rastro

El Rastro

Madrid, Spain – September 13, 2009

Today was our very first trip within the country of Spain.  We went with several people to El Rastro.  That is a huge open-air market in the heart of Madrid.  It was packed with people.  We had to be constantly aware of pickpockets.  We did not get victimized, that may be because we were so aware.

A portion of my daily walk to the embassy on Paseo de la Castellana.
Apartments above a small portion of the Rastro.
El Rastro – This goes many blocks down the hill.
Posters along our route.
Looking back up the hill at El Rastro.

Leslie bought a small coin purse for 2€ (US$2.48) and a small leather purse for 10€ (US$12.40). Hillary bought a pair of pants and some earrings.

After we had walked through some of El Rastro, we stopped for lunch.  One of the people we were with bought us some bocadillos.  They are a small sandwich on a small roll.  It was very tasty chased with a beer.

We had tapas at this restaurant.
Hillary and Les…In two weeks the drinks will be reversed!

We left that restaurant and walked into the Plaza Mayor.  It was a unique feeling to be standing in a place I had heard and read so much about.  From there we walked to the Puerta del Sol.  It is the center of Spain.  All of the roads emanate from there and are measured from there.

Hillary, Tyler, and Les on the way to one of the gates to Plaza Mayor.
Inside Plaza Mayor.
Detail of the monument to King Philip III. Note the apartments in the background.
Hillary and Charlie!
A very famous sign at Plaza del Sol.
The absolute center of Spain. All road distances are measured from here, Plaza del Sol.

From Sol, we took a bus back to the embassy and then we took a taxi home.  I think today was really the first day we felt like we were in Spain.

Beginning the journey home on Autobus 51.

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