Monday, January 24, 2011

Royal Palace, San Miguel Market - Madrid

Day 3

The Emperor’s Old Clothes: Do the drapes match the carpet? Well, indeed they do. But what was really impressive about Madrid’s Royal Palace was that the furniture in every room matched the fabric…on the walls. Yes, the walls were upholstered - opulence beyond words. Endless square footage stretched out to more than 300 rooms, most retaining their own theme: the throne room (equipped with royal seating, of course), music room, gala dining room, etc. In the former dressing room of the King, some kid behind us said, “That means the King was naked in here.” I like the way you like kid…the naked King room. Although most of the walls were swathed in fabric, a couple of places like the porcelain room, made entirely of tile, and the royal pharmacy, still stocked with glass bottles as if someone might walk up to fill a prescription, brought a surreal glance into everyday life a couple hundred of years ago.

Market Crash: As gusty winds blew us like giant maple leaves across the Palatial plaza, we rushed back to the warming arms of San Miguel Market, conveniently within walking distance and swaddling us in the comfort of a childhood blankie.

Brrr…baby, it was cold outside. That’s why it was so disappointing to hear they were out of the escarole/white bean/chorizo soup I had coveted the day before. But I was coming around to the idea of steaming empanadas and spinach/potato croquettes with a side of freshly sliced jamon. More cheese, more olives, more wine and then we washed it all down with enough dessert to get our hearts pumping for the walk back - my kind of energy boost.

Shop talk: It’s a curl, it’s a mane…it’s Super Afro! The shop across the street from the market was also worth a pop-in with vibrant canvases and inventive T-shirts, plus their window touted a superhero who spoke to my own curly-haired brand of heroism.

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