Good evening my dear All,
Here am I, sitting in a beautiful wine bar located at the Terrace at my hotel in Valencia, where I was attending Spanish Language course during my vacation from work this summer, and even though Valencia is magnetic and I will write about my time in here in the next days, all I can thing while having my wine now is the mini weekend in Madrid two weeks ago.
About 4 days after my classes started, I got invited to visit Madrid with a good friend of mine, that was showing me Valencia for duration of my classes too. He had some business work to do, so that for the time, he was finalizing it on Friday and meeting with friends for the rest of the day, I was strolling down and up the busy streets and parks of Madrid, consuming the art at the National Museum of Prado, trying to cover as much as possible for the time being. First two impressions from Madrid were that it was so easy to find my way – in Valencia for example, I’m keep loosing myself until now, the moment I decide to walk a different way, 100 % I get lost, not the case in Madrid. Also the people in Madrid – beautifully dresses, finally match for the way I like to dress, in addition friendly, very very curious and very open.
So, as my friend had his meeting in the business district of Madrid, I followed to the point, that I was given instruction in where to go next and how to get covered the sights in my list.
“Calle de Sorano” is where I started, the street of luxury designer goods, tax free paradise and the one leading to the Plaza de Colon, which was renamed to honor Christopher Columbus. Just behind the statue of Columbus, there is one of the tallest buildings of Madrid. Quick stop for picture and I walking further down the street to reach Puerta del Sol.
My tour of historical Madrid started in here, the vital heart of Madrid and Spain as well, a meeting point for the citizens in Madrid as well as the metro junction. Surrounded by the beautiful building with classical facades, here is where you will find one of Madrid’s most photograph sight- “the bear with the strawberry tree”, as well as the famous clock that mark the traditional eating of the “12 Grapes” at the beginning of each New Year. Not far from the Puerta del Sol is the to other famous squire of all squires – Plaza Mayor. In the past, stage of important events such as bullfighting, religious ceremonies, tournaments and executions, today, the squire is more like leisurely spot for locals and visitors of the city, place to have that cold pre-dinner wine after work, while watching the crowd passing by. In the middle of the squire, the statue of Felipe III. is still be photographed at. If you are gourmet lover, like myself, a stop at the Market of San Miguel or the Musem of Jamon is a must.
Madrid is a home of most of Spain’s Royal Palaces, but the Royal Family prefers to live outside of Madrid. One of the biggest and most beautiful one is Palacio Real de Madrid, located no more then 15 minutes of leisurely walk from the Plaza Mayor. Just next to the Palacio, another sight will catch your eye, like it did mine- the Almudena Cathedral, where the current King of Spain- King Felipe IV. married former journalist Letizia Ortiz back in 2004. The choice of the Cathedral isn’t random. Some of the locals were kidding, that the royal couple- to- be, had to just walk from the gates of the Palacio Real de Madrid…
Palacio Real is open daily to the public. This time I did not get the chance of seeing it in, but reserving my spot for the next visit in Madrid.
For dinner, I already had my company back. Like everywhere in Spain and in Madrid, there are so many Terraces serving all types of dinner, accompanied in our case with beautiful wine, so all we had to do was walk and pick. After dinner, we still had energy of continuing to one of the livest and friendliest districts of Madrid- something like the Soho in London, namely the Chueca district…Whatever happen in Chueca, will remain in Chueca.
The second and last day, I dedicated to the art of Prado Museum, for which I decided to start again from the Metro station of Grand Via and walk down, passing the famous Metropolitan building with the eagle of the top, stopping at the Plaza de la Cibeles, famous with few of the most beautiful buildings located here, including also the fountain in front, of the nowadays ,working Post Office. The Fountain was close for renovation, so maybe next time, I will be able to fully enjoy it. Continued my walk in the little Park behind the Post- ” Paseo del Prado” and I was soon standing in front of the National Prado Museum, housing one of the richest art and painting collections worldwide. After good a bit more then 3 hours, I decided to take my coffee at the Parque del Buen Retire, the biggest in Madrid. My goal here was to see from close the Cristal Palace , which unfortunately I did not this time, but there were enough other beautiful spots to admire before taking the Grand Via back to the Puerta del Sol to re -unite with my friend for another dinner. This time, we decided to have something from Peru. We found a little enchanting restaurant serving Peruvian cuisine and I must say that I really loved it. The wine though, remained from Spain.
Below are just few of the other images taken during my super short time in Madrid and sooo much already looking to revisit it…