We were thirty three in Madrid. Thirty teenagers and three teachers. Those poor tour guides! We were about an hour into our walking tour of Madrid (the kids swore it had been more like a HUNDRED years…) when we reached the breathtaking Plaza Mayor, one of the most impressive town squares I have ever encountered.
I feel I must confess that I am a collector of plazas (not the actual plazas, of course, but visits, photos, memories and stories about plazas) and that I have been collecting them for more than ten years and on three continents. There is something so wonderfully civilized about visiting a plaza. It’s a place to have a coffee or glass of wine, to chat, to read, to watch all the fascinating people pass by, to bask in the sun, or to look on while your kids play soccer. To be outdoors and in community with other people – or alone if you wish – but to be in the centre of things. The beating heart of the city or neighbourhood. I always feel a little giddy in plazas. Extra alive.
Plaza Mayor is so massive that I had despaired of taking a decent photograph but then, as we continued on our tour, I caught this view of the plaza by looking back over my shoulder. Snap snap. The Plaza Mayor has been used for bullfights, royal coronations, soccer games and executions. You can learn more about it here.
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