Ben, Magda, Claire, Tamara, Maria and I met at the bus station. when we got to Principe Pio, the bus station in Madrid we had to wait a little for Claire’s friend Fernando. He is an Ecuadorian from Guayaquil who is in Spain studying French to become a French teacher. When we met up with Fernando we went to a cafe coincidentally called the Florida Cafe. Breakfast is not a big meal in Spain; basically you get a juice and a croissant.
We then wove our way through the still busy sunday trafic to check out several sites. The first stop was the Templo de Debod, which is an Egyptian temple from around 200 B.C. that was given to Spain in 1968 as a gift for helping Egypt preserve several archeological sites.
Then we went to the Royal Palace which we just took in from outside. Next door is the Catherdal de la Almudena which we also checked out from outside. On the way to the rastro we passed through the red walls of the Plaza Mayor.
“El Rastro” is Madrids biggest out door market; a 35 block shoulder-to-shoulder playground for pickpockets. Having learning of this market in one of my Spanish Classes at USF I was excited to explore it, but it turned out to be just a giant market for cheap Chinese goods; I did however get a Spanish Flag patch for my backpack.
I later learned that flying the Spanish flag implies certain negative nationalistic connotations or sentiments that may be understood when the American flag is being displayed by a US citizen on their car or clothing.