It is a lovely Sunday morning. Ok, that's not true. It is -1Â°C and my strawberry flavoured moisturiser has taken on the appearance of strawberry ice-cream, so it is not a lovely morning but there is something to be said about the power of positive thinking, right? And lovely or not, it is Sunday morning and I have decided to take a holiday from being a tourist and spend the day like a typical madrileno.
Sunday mornings in Madrid, all roads lead to El Rastro. El Rastro is a flea market held on every Sunday and public holidays. Around 3500 stalls take over one of the main streets in the centre of the city. Locals and tourists throng the area to make the most of great bargains. It is also a hotspot for pickpockets and Margarita tells me about her American guest who went to El Rastro, bought nothing but lost everything, passport, cash, credit cards, camera et al. With that bit of caution and just a little cash in my pockets I am off.
If I lived in Madrid, this would be an ideal place to get some great bargains on home decor items, furniture, household appliances, etc. As a visitor nothing really tempts a purchase. The clothes, shoes and jewellery stalls present nothing out of the ordinary. Then there are stalls selling Chinese hand fans, Turkish hookahs, badges featuring American TV and film stars, bugles and other foreign articles. And when I see a stand laden with wall drapes featuring Lord Ganesha, I know I have seen it all.
Before heading back, I step into a cafe to snack the way Spaniards do...churros! Churros are a snack made of fried dough, sprinkled with sugar and served with hot molten chocolate. Basically, a Spanish doughnut. I manage to get through most of the churros but the waitress is disappointed that I don't finish the cup of chocolate. One would need a mouthful of sweet 'tooths' to finish that much chocolate!!
A typical Spanish Sunday would be incomplete without a two hour long post-lunch siesta. Sunday evening is spent strolling at Parque del Retiro. Spread over a huge area, the park is laid with walking paths, a roller skating square, jungle gyms, fountains, statues and even a lake for boating. A perfect end to the day especially when it involved the consumption of a gazillion fried and sweetened calories.