So who knew that the 12th of October was 'National Spain Day?" we sure didn't until we woke up and looked out our window to see a huge parade!
We stumbled outside and saw the whole thing from the outside of our hotels thanks to it being in one of the main highways! The Parade wasn't like one I had seen before, aka floats with people waving, walking bands and acrobatics. It was a military parade and we saw so many different deady machines I nearly ran back inside.
There were tankers and fire engines, submarines, huge guns that had to be carried on trucks, missiles, and even a whole lot of jet plane flew past. Talk about a morbid festival!
It was very cool though and a really great way to start the day. However, soon after, the day took a very bad turn, well, for Tim anyway, because we got a call from dad who told us if we wanted to go to morocco, ( which we were planning to do) that Tim would have to get A NEEDLE.
This is ok for most people, however Tim, is not the bravest when it comes to needles. The last tim he got one, he had to have his mum SIT on him and he managed to still bite her to the point that she bruised up!
So he sulked all the way to the hospital and once we eventually found it things went from bad to worse as the receptionist did not speak a word of english. Miming out injecting ourselves with needles was rather strange and she probably thought we were druggies!
Anyway so really nice guy who spoke a few words of english came and helped us and after about half an hour we figured out that we couldn't actually get a needle here today because it was a private hospital and it was a holiday. Bummer!
We were a little annoyed but wandered back into the centre of the city which was really good because everyone had the day off work and were hanging around, playing soccer on the streets, or making music. A whole lot of mimes had set up shop in the centre of the Sol Square and they were great to look at too. After walking around for a bit longer we decided to go to a famous Art Gallery in the Centre which I have actually forgotten the name of it, however, it was a great time to go because on "National Spain Day" the gallery was free! There were a lot of amazing paintings in the place, including quite a few " masterpieces" as they called them. There were also a few that I actually recognized which was pretty exciting!
The highlight was see some Picasso's originals. After looking around here for a while we decided to get a picnic lunch and took it to the very famous ( and large) park in the centre of Madrid, again, I have forgotten the name.
It was beautiful, very formal and arrange is a particular way. The tree were all symmetrical, bushes had the same colour flower, and the paths through the gardens were very straight and proper We found a patch of grass and ate our picnic which was really nice before heading deeper into the park to see the lake in the middle. It was much like walking through central park, with the lake in the middle that you put little boats on!
Anyway, the lake and surrounds were packed with locals, it was obviously the place to go on a public holiday! People were having picnics, lazing in the sun, watching the bands or the street performers, playing footy or chasing their dogs. There were people in row boats on the lake eating icecreams, fortune tellers with globes and people on scooters and skateboards doing the rounds. It was like a school fete gone wild. It was pretty amazing and really cool to watch. We could have spent hours just sitting there enjoying the show. After a while we headed down to another part of the park called the Crystal Palace which was literally a palace made of crystal! It was completely see through.
After watching some guys doing Ti Chi for a while it was time to head back to the city which was actually a little harder than it sound was we were pretty lost in the park by then. So, we started along and came to a magical place were there were hundreds of people on rollerblades and skates all going around this round about. It was brilliant! There were some others that had set up lines of cones and were doing some amazing tricks around them, better than anyone I had ever seen on skates! It was incredible and we were stuck watching them for about an hour!
We eventually made it back to the city and by then all the Spaniards were out again, drinking, because like I said they don't eat, but us westerns were starving so we found a great little pasta joint that had some of the bast pasta I had tasted on this trip ( typical is wasn't in italy!) and we slowly walked home, fascinated by the celebrations going on all around us!
( the photo is of the Crystal Palace)
The next day after a sleep ing and some breakfast/lunch we went on one of those bus tours around the city. It was a lovely sunny day and was a really good way to hear about all the places we had visited. And all the places we hadn't and wanted too.
After seeing all the magnificent buildings again, plus another bus trip around to suburbs we raced off the bus and walked over to the Palace and Opera house, which had amazing views of the city and was a massive building. I had no idea what they did with all those rooms! After all of this we walked over to some other clothes markets near the residential district which were very " Folk Festival" full of hippy clothes and jewelry. After this we trailed back into the city to the shopping district and finished our holiday with a spot of shopping.
Then it was time to fly home!