After spending a few hours at the official residence of the Spanish royal family and another couple of hours or so enjoying a big and leisurely lunch at the nearby Plaza de Oriente, we meandered back to our hotel via a different route. In the process, we got to see quite a few sights -- some of which impressed me, others less so...
The Plaza Mayor is large as well as visually impressive
(and I bet it'd be even more so if there hadn't been a bunch of
portaloos placed in the center for use by open air concert attendees!)
Puppet Ponyo poses in the center of the square
with the equestrian statue of Philip III :)
I found the smaller Plaza de la Villa nearby to be far less
crowded and, consequently, tranquil and charming
Having taken 100 years to build, the Almudena Cathedral
located next to the Palacio Real (and on the site where a mosque
once stood), was only consecrated in 1993
is a bookstore that's been there since 1650!
As far as I'm concerned, the super crowded Puerta del Sol is
touristy, tacky and the kind of place where pickpockets thrive
I was so out of there soon after snapping this photo
of the back of an Uncle Sam-costumed Mickey Mouse
carrying Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty balloons in its hands!
Meanwhile, demonstrators, including those calling for the protection
of marine life, clogged up yet another of Madrid's many plazas