17th August 2011, we woke up to the heat of the day, and since the schedule for the day was only catechesis sessions, Larry decided to follow me and tour around Madrid.
Our first stop for the day, was the famous Museo del Prado. After breakfast, we headed to Atocha station and looked for the museum, which houses some of Spain's finest arts. And of course, although we were relatively early, we had to queue, and there were like 100 of them in front of us.
We managed to get it regardless, and entry was free since we had our WYD tag on. The architecture of the building is state of the art and well furbished, makes us wonder if our country could do the same for our own museums.
Later, we walked around Gran Via and stumbled across Hard Rock Cafe, where we bought some souvenirs but had lunch at some other place (sadly, HRC is not under the WYD program).
|Pilgrims swarmed in Madrid :)|
After filling up our tummy, we then headed to yet another museum, this time, a whole different genre from what we saw over at del Prado. Museo Reina Sofia has modern arts installed in it, and along the way, massive peculiar art work which blew our minds. Or in other words, weird but appreciated.
It was that hot, and we were sweaty all over. We decided to ride back to Pacifico for a quick shower, and then continue our journey. When we were back, we met some of the volunteers and discussed our activity routes and such. Like my grandma always said, information can be obtained at the tip of your tongue, basically meaning to just ask. And make friends along the way.
|Voluntarios from left : Julio, me, Esteban and Merche|
The other places we visited that day was the Theatro Real, not in there though since we weren't catching any show and the vicinity of Palacio Real and Plaza de la Armeria and Plaza de Oriente.
|One of the Gothic sculptures|
|Palacio Real from a distance|
The place was crowded, despite the stinging heat of the day, I guess they really do love the sun there. And it was a common sight to see a bunch of pilgrims chanting their country anthem along the way, and WYD anthems like "Be-Ne-Dict-To". The enthusiasm of the pilgrims are to commend for.
|Massive turnout in town|
Later that day we made our way back to Gran Via, hoping to do some shopping but stumbled across some local Spaniards who were in a protest against the visit of the Pope. Larry, who was carrying the WYD bag at that time was advised by one of the kind protesters there to not approach the protest too closely as she feared that some fanatics might harm us. The reason of the protest, was due to the fact that the entire program was feared to have used up a huge sum of the country's budget, and being economically challenged as they are, this angered quite a lot of the locals. Oh well, staying out of trouble we managed to escape unharmed back to Pacifico.
None the less, the pilgrims spirit is like a long lasting battery, from the streets to Metro, they seem to be having a full day fiesta.
|Hams (Jamon) are quite a common food here|
Speaking of fiesta, we had a nice supper session when we made it back to Pacifico and met more new friends, this time ranging from Portugal, Vietnam, and India. Larry even coincidentally met his friend from Miri who was working in London.
We instantly clicked together with this girl, Ann and the four of us immediately formed an alliance. Ok, that was exaggeration but hey, traveling is more fun if we have more company! Luckily we did not have to sing or ridicule ourselves that night, it was purely a relaxing chit chat session among friends.
|From left : Aunt Mary, Bianca, me, Pablo, Larry, Bernard, Ann and Julio|
Also, apparently there was a football match that night between Real Madrid and Barca, which was not so good news for our dear liaison Esteban, since his team did not perform so well that day.
|Madrid's heraldic symbol, The Bear and the Madroño tree at Puerta del Sol (Gates of the Sun)|
18th August 2011, this was actually the first day we traveled along with Bernard (Larry's friend who just made it the day before) but we couldn't get Ann to follow us since she have to accompany her mother.
Our first destination of the day, was the Plaza del Toros. One of the things that I said to myself when coming to Spain, was to watch a bull fight. Unfortunately, there wasn't a show that day, and apparently it was a seasonal affair, so we just camwhored around, sadly.
Our next stop though wasn't disappointing as we visited Real Madrid's football stadium, la Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Well, if I can't make it to Old Trafford, I damn sure won't miss the chance to visit the stadiums here.
Later on we walked around town, stumbled across Palacio Real again and visited a chapel along the way.
In the evening, the boys wanted to attend at least of the catechesis, so I parted ways with them. Made my way to Plaza Mayor and went for some solo sight seeing.
|With some random Korean dude at Plaza Mayor.|
Had tapas and cerveza for dinner, food and beer, ample dinner for now.
|Tapas con Cerveza|
As dusk settled, so did we. We all met up back in Pacifico in the night and shared stories of what we saw while we were away from each other. That concludes day 3 in Madrid, half way there and the next day would be an even better one (we hoped) :)
Ivan's TipsDon't be afraid to try the tapas there. Like the dimsum for Chinese and sushi for Japanese, these finger foods are basically appetizers cum snacks that could very well be dinner as well, if order the right tapas. And the variety in the menu is vast, there are lots to try.