My first steps into the Plaza Mayor were accompanied by an involuntary intake of breath and a whispered, “Wow.” The grandeur created by the symmetry of the shuttered windows staring down at me from all four sides, the contrast of the wide open cobble-stoned square below with the clear blue sky above, the giant Mickey and Minnie Mouse waving at me from across the square . . . er, WTF?

It gets worse. Much, much worse.

There was the storm trooper in Plaza del Sol. The Marriachi Band that appeared to know only one song serenading him. The adult dressed up as a baby making crying sounds that seemed to make an appearance every.where.we.went. The list goes on. And all for our entertainment, of course.

Madrid has some decent sights, to be sure. Its art galleries, in particular, are stunning. We even saw some buskers with actual talent during our three days here. Two opera singers, several string players and one seriously talented accordion player who entertained us while we queued for the Palacio Real.

But for us, these positives got lost in the over the top, in your face, gimmie your money and I’ll give you a laugh tactics of the Mickey and Minnie’s of this town.

I won’t say we didn’t enjoy ourselves here at all. The concept behind dinner at the Mercado de San Miguel appealed (think upmarket food court selling tapas sized servings and drinks), as did sipping a drink on a patio as the sun lingered in the sky until around 10:30 pm.

But I will say two days here would have been plenty, and both G and I wish we had stayed at one of our other stops longer instead.

As this will be my last post from Spain, and tonight is his last before G flies home, I’ll close with the one decent(ish) pic I got of us during our two weeks traveling together. From what is still my favourite stop – Lisbon.

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