Day 2 was on our own around the city of Madrid. We flew out of LAX early Monday morning on day 1 to New York, then got a red eye from New York to Madrid that put us to our hotel around 9:00 in the morning on day 2. The only way to get acclimated to the time change is to stay awake all day, so we decide to take our own tour around Madrid.
We know we are going to go to the Prado tomorrow with the city tour, so on the advice of our tour director, we take a bus to the downtown shopping area...
...and end up in the Plaza del Sol. It's interesting being here so late in the year. The weather is nice, if a little cold, and everywhere we go people are getting ready for Christmas. There are even signs everywhere advertising the "Black Friday" sales (in English).
The "Museum of Ham", where you can buy Iberian hams or just have them make you a sandwich.
Of all the restaurants we did NOT expect to see in Madrid, we were shocked to see a Steak 'n' Shake. We had just eaten lunch, too, or we might actually have stopped in.
We decide to go to a different museum than the Prado, so we head to the north end of the Avenida del Prado and the Archeological Museum. Spain, of course, was a Roman colony before the Moorish invasion, so there is plenty of history and archeology to go around.
Walking back down the Avenida del Prado is what used to be a gateway into the city.
Paralleling the Avenida del Prado is the Parque de el Retiro. Think Central Park for scale...
...with a lake in the middle with rowboats...
...and a surprising amount of wildlife.
That evening we get our briefing from the tour director, and go to bed