We’re settled in here in Madrid and while we haven’t had much time yet (train pulled in at about 5:00 this afternoon), we’ve still managed to see a few pretty cool things!

Remember this place? We saw it back on June 18th on our way to Salamanca. It’s called the Puerta del Sol and is one of the biggest squares in Madrid. Our hotel is just barely down the street from here, so this is where we started!

Once we settled in, we decided to see a few other nearby sights, since the Puerta del Sol wasn’t technically new to us anymore. Just a little bit west though was this square, the Plaza Mayor. Known as being the main square in Madrid, it is an important gathering place for locals and can arguably be called the “heart of Spain”.

In the middle of the Plaza Mayor is this statue to Felipe the 3rd, who was the son of Queen Isabel the 2nd.

A little further west and you find the Spanish National Opera and this building, the Palace Madrid! This is the actual palace where rulers like Queen Isabel II and the Hapsburgs would have lived. I think this is a pretty good photo of it but it is so such more beautiful in person.

The statue/fountain out front is dedicated to “the arts” and was commissioned by Queen Isabel II to show her commitment to the city’s cultural development.

So far Madrid has been very lively and welcoming, despite the heat (it’s slightly cooler here than in Cordoba, but not by much), so I’m very excited to spend our first full day here tomorrow!

Our comments winner today is: Madison! That’s what happens when only two people comment guys – we get a lot of repeat winners. Their prizes will continue adding up (official contest rules say there’s no limit to how many times you can win) but if anyone else wants a cool prize from Europe, you have to jump into the conversation and comment! Likes do NOT count for anything!