Day 133 - Sunday Markets & The Beautiful El Retiro Park

The concierge at our hotel told us that there are a few great markets in Madrid on Sundays.  I love street markets, and I was so glad that we were not leaving Madrid until Tuesday! 

Sunday morning, we set out to see one of the largest (the largest as proclaimed by our hotel concierge) street markets in Madrid, at La Latina.  On our way, we enjoyed seeing a small collectors' street market at Plaza Mayor, which had everything from bottle caps, to Russian dolls, to stamps, to coins, and more!

A short walk later, we arrived at the La Latina Street Market!  Wow!  This definitely was the largest and busiest street market we have ever been to.  It was unending. and it was extremely crowded.  Check out the video below to take a walk with us through parts of this amazing market!

In case you are not able to see the video (poor internet connection, or reading our post on your phone at work ;), whatever the reason), here are just a few pictures from the market. 

And, just in case you haven't had enough or couldn't quite grasp how crowded it really was, here is a time lapse to show the crowds milling about. 

I did end up buying two adorable earrings for myself and Hannah :)  I couldn't help it.  Street markets are my weakness! 

After the unending street market, we ate a great and healthy meal at a vegetarian restaurant called El Garnero de Lavapies.  The place got completely packed shortly after we arrived, usually a good sign, and we all enjoyed our vegetarian meals (though after some faces from the kids). 

We continued our day by heading to El Retiro Park.  Remember in our last post I mentioned how much Madrid reminded us of New York City?  Well by that accord, I called El Retiro the Central Park of Madrid.  It even has little book shops leading up to the park, very similar to the little book and painting stands on 5th ave next to Central Park.  :) 

At El Retiro, we got a real taste of Fall.  The temperatures were a bit chillier, it was cloudy, and the trees had started changing color with lots of leaves on the ground.  The park is absolutely beautiful, especially in Fall. 

One of the more famous landmarks in the park is the crystal palace, which faces a lake that is surrounded by very colorful trees at this time of year.  The palace itself was closed for an art exhibit installation.  There is also a very large lake not too far from the crystal palace where you can rent row boats and feed the fish.  We planned on doing this, but then we found an amazing playground, where the kids ended up playing for over an hour, while we just sat on the bench, watched them, chatted with each other, and observed others :) 

By the time we persuaded the kids to leave the playground, it was getting dark, so we only looked at the lake as we left the park and headed towards a restaurant we had in mind for dinner. 

On our way, we were able to see Puerta de Alcala, Plaza de Cibeles, and the Metropolis building.  All beautiful and historic landmarks.  We were very awed by the lit up building at Plaza de Cibeles, which we found out later is home to Madrid's city hall today. 

As it started to drizzle, we arrived at Steakburger for dinner.  A self proclaimed "best burgers in the city" sign had grabbed our attention a few nights ago, and we continued to be in the mood for some American food while we had the chance, so we had to have a taste.  Yes, I agree, we are confusing, we eat vegetarian for lunch then juicy burgers for dinner :) 

It was on the early side for Spanish dining, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  We really enjoyed the ambience inside and the food was very delicious.  I can't judge whether or not they are the best in the city, because this was the one and only burger I ate there, but I can assure you that it hit the spot! 

We'll leave you with one of the wise sentences from an inspirational sign on the wall at the restaurant: 

"Life is simple.  Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things....Life is short.  Live your dream and wear your passion."