The Madrid River
Considering yesterday was a national Spanish holiday, I had planned to put together a slightly more cultural post...but despite my best efforts I ended up sleeping through all the festivities (ie the parade). In brief, la Fiesta Nacional de España is the Spanish equivalent of Columbus Day in America, although in some ways it could also be compared to the American July 4th, in the sense that it's a celebration of national identity and culture as well.
Still, yesterday wasn't a total loss; our Spanish professor planned a small class outing for us along the Madrid river. Nearby points of interest include the Royal Palace, Egyptian Temple of Debol, Palace Gardens and the 4,000 acre Casa del Campo. According to our professor, the Casa del Campo, formerly the private park of the Spanish royalty, served as a battleground during the Spanish Civil War. In more recent years the Madrid River project has converted the riverside into "a long park, and including an urban beach, rowing lanes on the river, walks, bicycle paths, kiosks, cafés and restaurants, terraces, cultural and sports facilities, areas for pensioners and children's play areas." (via Go Madrid) At any rate, our class didn't end up going very far, but I was able to get a few photos in.
After our brief tour we stopped at a nearby cafe for hot chocolate and churros, an infamous Madrid snack.