Entering Plaza Mayor via Calle de la Sal

On Sunday mornings, before the swarm of tourists descends upon Plaza Mayor, philatelists, numismatists, and collectors of ephemera stand behind their tables and hawk their wares.

Elderly madrileños clasp their hands behind their backs and waddle from table to table to examine the week’s offerings, which were, by the way, the same as the week before. An old man welcomes you with a hug and shows you a sepia postcard of Plaza Mayor, corners rounded and soft from age. You’ll never see him again, but that world image of Plaza Mayor you’ll never forget.

Calle de la Sal Plaza Mayor

Calle de la Sal is the street most tourists use to enter Playa Mayor. Shops line the tourist-filled street. Despite how touristy the area is (and, indeed, for good reason), Plaza Mayor is enchanting. On one particularly cool summer night, I strolled through the environs of Plaza Mayor, not really going anywhere in particular. Rather, I was just enjoying the feeling of being lost in a multitude, observing strange faces and avoiding well-known urchins who, snapping the wooden traps of the shimmering, avian beasts, begged for change. Blue streaks of light whizzed into the air before fluttering down to the cobblestone floor, where the toys are collected by vendors who attempt to initiate a sale using apparatuses in their mouths that produce a high-pitch quack/whistle sound. I kept walking, in search of another memory.

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