I was lucky enough to go on another Madrid Food Tour this past Saturday. This time the tour was History, Tapas, and Taverns.
You can read about my first Madrid food tour, complete with pictures of food here. "Complete with pictures of food" you think, "why would a blog post about a food tour not have photos of the delicacies?" Simple enough, this blogger forgot to take pictures of the food. I was so enthralled by the history on the tour and the company, I simply forgot.
If you want to see some really wonderful pictures of Spanish food, I recommend that you go to the Spanish Sabores blog.
So lets talk about my night. I do not go downtown very often, and every time that I do I wonder why I do not go more. However, I have been downtown since I have moved to my new apartment, and when I go downtown I get off at the
Ópera metro station. I have never noticed that there is a small museum in the station!
It is the Museo de Caños de Peral (Spanish link) and it is pieces of a 16th century Aquaduct. At the time the museum was closed and we had a tour to go to, so my photos are through the glass. I definitely want to go back soon to see it, and I will report back on my findings.
We met up with our tour guide, James, in the Plaza Isabel II. Here is a photo of the back of that queen dramatically backlit against the Madrid skyline.
I took some more photos of the views around the plaza. It really is one of the most beautiful plazas in the city.
If you are wondering what those little buildings are, there was a little market going on in the plaza. They were selling: cheese, baked goods, roasted nuts, wine, crafts, and clothing. These little markets pop up in Madrid all of the time, and I love them.
But we were not here to buy, we were here to tour.
As mentioned before, I was not really taking photos that night. To see all of the sights and to hear all of the history you really have to try the tour yourself. But I remember a couple gems that I will share with you. Below is a statue of Phillip the IV made in the 16th century. It is the first bronze statue, in the world, of a rearing horse. Galileo was asked helped to design it as they wanted the horse to rear, but it was not very stable on just the two legs. Galileo solution: the horse is also supported by it's tail which you can not see from the ground.
This beautiful building, located in Plaza Villa, was at one time the town hall of Madrid. It still serves as government offices.
If you walk around the corner, ok across the plaza and down Calle de Codo you will come to this door.
One day, I am going to do this (it was closed at the time of the tour). Here you can buy cookies from cloistered nuns. You ring the buzzer (ring the correct one as the others call the (non-cookie) nuns or the priests to come and consult with you about spiritual matters). Apparently you go in, and travel down a hall to arrive at a sort of wooden lazy susan in the wall. You talk with the nun about your cookie order, they are cloistered so you can not see them, and then you put the money in your half of the lazy susan and they turn it to take it and turn it back to give you your cookies and your change. I heard about this way before I moved to Madrid, and it did not think that it existed anymore. I will try this out too, and report back to you.
A small plaza across from the nuns a quiet and beautiful area of Madrid.
I leave you with an image of Federico García Lorca in the literary quarter. I am told his a wonderful poet and a good illustrator too. Read his history, if you dare, but I warn you it has a sad ending.