Walking around Madrid on a Saturday was much more lively than it was during the week. As men raised their voices while bartering for antique wares performers of various arts begged for money in the central square.

 

It can be easy to pick on the drawbacks that tourism brings but whenever I see these street artists busking around an array of unique and exotic restaurants I remember that the same forces bring in money to support industries smaller or less-visited towns can’t afford. Are they worth is? That’s up to the reader to decide. Regardless, the arts are alive.

Okay these next pictures are here just because it was a neat sight: all of the entrances/exits to the Plaza Mayor are built with great arches. There’s a Starbucks inside one of them.

For a random attempt at humor check out what I saw at a salon – I’m pretty sure it’s only funny if you have a very non-American English accent. Also funny – I giggle every time I see a clan of tourists on Segways.

 

While not exactly the same as the street performers asking for money, I stumbled upon a large dancing troupe getting together in the open square by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a museum holding works from Dali, Picasso, Miro, and more. City squares are just as important today I think as they have ever been – without them and without walkable cities people miss out on these opportunities.

How about a walk through with me on this square? I was clearly a fan of the large man with the tiny dog.

Honestly it’s hard to compare cities that are well-built for pedestrian traffic against those built for vehicle traffic. One thing I find all over European cities are large posters advertising everything from electron candidates to concerts to clubs. Covering the walls, they are easy enough to see while walking by but you miss all the contents when driving – vehicles are too fast to let you notice the details.

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In little places like these you can find funny elements of culture bleeding through. In one of the places where people hang them (just down the street from my cozy little room), nobody had apparently removed any of the old ones in so long that the stack of glued papers turned hard as a brick and stood out at least as far as a cinder block. Why bother cleaning up the old one underneath? You’re just going to put another one over it anyway…

That’s all for now. I’ll leave you with another beautiful shot of Madrid’s hills!

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