Centro Madrid: Puerto del Sol
(Pictures with comments, completing my blog here on Flickr)
This morning I wondered the streets around Gran Via and found them surprisingly vivid! People roaming the entrances of shops still to open, tourist getting maps, churches.. getting no attention, I think?
First thing I wanted to do is buy a travel guide. Lucky I found the Eyewitness Travel guide from Dorling Kindersley; old, but I figured the short historical facts of buildings and places must be still kinda accurate. Old Madrid was my first route.
Puerto del Sol is probably, or better apparently, the most important plaza in Madrid. Maybe a bit like Time Square in New York, or Grote Markt in Brussels. It’s not so impressive however. Moreover, it ain’t a square at all: it’s a half moon! The square’s most important building is the Casa de Correos. It’s OK looking, but I can imagine better sights to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Check for yourself:
Probably something that is overlooked by lots of folks without travel guides is the Kilometer Zero marking on the ground, just in front of the Casa de Correos. Apparently, it marks the start of all roads in Spain. But since we are living on a (kinda) globe, it could be center of the world too. I guess there were to few touristic attractions, and they invented one more.
There is also this famous statue.. No, I’m not talking about the equestrian statue of Carlos III, but about Madrid’s bear sniffing the strawberry tree. Apparently, this is where the name from Madrid is coming from, but since it’s just one of the few theories, I’m not going to elaborate.
The buildings around Puerto del Sol square are quite nice looking. They are 5 stories high I think. One on the northeastern side is even having a big old billboard of a sherry brand named Tío Pepe. It actually looks stupid, but the square got associated with it. Makes it again worth talking about; free commercials for Tío Pepe on this blog, mm.. maybe should ask money.. mm.. maybe I should try it.. mm.. The billboard is actually working!
Next is Plaza Mayor..