Yesterday was a beautiful and amazing day for exploring the city. It was probably in the 90s with gorgeous sunshine, but the humidity was low and there were some nice breezes, so it felt amazing. After a quick snack down the street of cafe con leche, fresh squeezed zumo de naranja (orange juice - I miss not having fresh squeezed in random restaurants back in the states), and some tuna and red pepper on toast, we wandered around a bit from our hotel to the Plaza Espana, and on over to the Palacio Real. The Royal Palace is absolutely beautiful, and though you're not allowed to take pictures inside, Telefonica put together a virtual tour of the interior.
The cathedral next door is modern and has a beautiful cupula (dome). According to wiki "The Neo-Gothic interior is uniquely modern, with chapels and statues of contemporary artists, in heterogeneous styles, from historical revivals to "pop-art" decor." And it's really true. The colors inside the church are unlike any other I've ever seen, and so varied.
Next we slowly picked our way over to the Reina Sofia and Guernica, stopping on our way to explore the confusion and availablity of Corte Ingles (seriously, why have three separate stores on the same block?) and eventually dinner outside in the Plaza Mayor. We had two bottles of delicious Rioja wine, and the first paella of the trip!! Mom also got some Tortilla Espanola, and we got a few delicious salads. If you're even in the Plaza Mayor looking for dinner, Los Galayos is a delicious option.
I must say I love that Spain is open so late, since just under a week ago, I couldn't get dinner at 10:30 in the US. We ended up buying Chinese food to go and sitting outside, but it's nice to have the option of sitting at a restaurant that's happy to serve you until midnight.
This morning we're hopping in the car to head to Granada. Reservations at a beautiful hotel Santa Isabel la Real and at the Alhambra a 5 pm. I have high hopes for our first highway experience in Spain....