Normally, the first thing I do when I arrived in a new city is head upwards.
I climb towers, cathedrals and columns to see the city laid out before me, seeing how the streets interlock and the buildings interconnect (or not).
Madrid doesn't have any obvious buildings to climb, so I stayed down, sitting in Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor watching life unfold all around. I saw:
- Street entertainers galore in Plaza Mayor:
- A grown man playing a baby, reacting with childish glee or annoyance every time someone walked past.
- Three men sat in a bin, only their heads visible.
- Person dressed as a very unusual creature, with a costume consisting of a wooden bird-beak / goat-like head and a body of long strips of glittery foil.
- Tourists turning the corner into the square, exclaiming, "well, now, look at all this art!"
- Glamourous grand dames of a certain age being ferried around in Porsches and Range Rovers whilst wearing huge sunglasses and perfectly coiffured hair.
- In Puerto del Sol, socialists, communists and anarchists all protesting against capitalism mixed with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, The Simpsons and Hello Kitty characters wandering around.