Written by Stamie Turner on June 21, 2013
There are so many different facets to Madrid. It is big city, small city, all in one. I like doing it my way and hope that the day will bring some surprises. My friend Paulette came from Segovia to meet me and we decided early on that we would let it be a serendipitous day with no real plan except for wandering. Yes, I like to wander and discover as a traveler and not a tourist. So much more to learn, see and experience. I do not like being glued to a map or an agenda. I feel that it can limit your experiences if there is always a “must do” or else….
Several visits to Madrid and I still had not visited The Convent of the Royal Barefoot Nuns… Seriously, doesn’t that sound like a monastery you’d like to visit? Royal and Barefoot??? The actual name is Convent of Las Descalzas Reales. In the 16th century aristocratic women, unlucky in love or women given in “marriage” by their families with dowries became nuns. The generous donations by these royal families was to ensure the family’s way into heaven. Hmmmm….buy your way into heaven? Husband or Heaven? Oh, the commentary…..left for another blog.
I have tried every visit to get a ticket (limited and long waits) but it had not been a “must do” to upset any day of adventure. As Paulette and I walked by, we decided to try to get a ticket and as serendipity would have it, we were able to acquire the last two tickets for the English tour. Good things come to all those who wait…it was magnificent. This convent is home to a closed order of nuns, supported by the state. They NEVER leave the convent and cannot see/visit with anyone ….but they can sure cook!! They were readying for lunch behind the closed doors and if I could have figured it out…I would have joined them…for the food. But come to think of it, my love life lends itself to being a nun…hmmm….
The art in this convent is extraordinary by any standard, and the tapestries exquisite. The ceiling frescos were amazing and quite opulent, too. Well worth the visit and a great way to start the day with my friend! I will make every effort to include this in future itineraries for my “girlfriends” traveling with me! To be or not to be…Nun is the question.
Next on the list, maybe…Shopping in Madrid. MY least favorite activity when traveling but sometimes you just gotta do it. Paulette had a few things she needed. And of course, a favorite word of my daughter’s… red and bold in almost every window…REBAJAS! The sales were going on and the streets were crowded. I’ve seen the sights, the museums….what else should I do? Eating and drinking certainly the activity of choice but it was easy to give in to the REBAJAS. I saw my name in every window calling. I was very disappointed that I had overpacked and had an empty wallet. There are some really great shops that I might consider including in a travel itinerary for “her dream vacation” trip. So, next trip, empty bag, full wallet and a REBAJAS expedition!!
So, all was accomplished in Madrid. I had a few meetings to help finalize future itineraries. I saw my friend Paulette, made new friends and once again, had some amazing experiences that I look forward to sharing. Hasta Luego Madrid!