From Spain, I have visited a lot Galicia and been also to Leon, but once found myself in Madrid, I felt something different. It seemed to me that it was related to Ille-de-France. This was my first impression and I kept it since my last day of stay.
So here I am in the centre of Spain, the capital Madrid. After arriving at the airport, we took the train and in short time, we were in the centre and from there at the Hotel. Since it was to early for check in, we left our baggage at the reception and went outside to discover the surroundings.
First stop was the Railway Museum.
Because we were close, we visited also the most beautiful rose-orange railway station, I’ve ever seen -> Atocha Railway Station
Inside of the station, beside the high ceiling filled with iron frames and glass, maintained by bricks, there is a jungle like garden, where you cannot enter (as for the day of 1st of August 2017). There is also a small pond with dozens of turtles in one small place…
Next we wondered on the boulevards of Madrid and we saw the followings:
The big and old buildings were mostly in “like new” shape, full of ornaments and almost every one of them having a shop or a cafeteria/pub at the low levels. And yes there are many, so many that you can easily search for one that is almost empty if you so desire. Basically the architecture, rich in details, the narrow streets, gave that impression of Paris. What is for Spain, is the abundance of coffee shops and tapas.
Calao, the plaza in which each building is a major store (Fnac, El Corte Ingles etc) or a cinema or just a restaurat/tapas.
These pictures were done during our stay in Madrid and they all were made more or less in the centre, along the boulevard Gran Via.
And because it was August, it was very, very hot outside. But not like unbearably hot. My guess is because of lack of humidity? In Vigo, a city near the Atlantic, at 34 degrees is so hot, you wish you hide in a cave, but here at 36 degrees, I felt more like at 28 or 27.
Due to these high temperatures, we saw refuge in different places. One was the railway museum, them the train station but the following one, I did not expect.
On the boulevard, I looked on my left and I saw an entry in something like a Chinese store. We entered and we were amazed to find a huge roof and of course the little stores in the lower floors.
More deep inside the building was an exposition, Escher. We were a bit to tired so we watched the catalogue to see if we should or not pay the entry. We decided not to since drawings were not so interesting at the moment. The exposition was the following:
Exposición Escher en el Palacio de Gaviria, Madrid
Exactly, it is a palace, but from outside it looked just like any other building with huge clothing commercials on it, different Arab/African/Asian stores that sell the same things over and over again both inside and outside the building. How would you know it is a Palace if there was no Google to tell you so.
And there are many stores that amaze you once you step inside. Take for instance Zara:
If only they were good clothes…
The most old/interesting building I’ve been in, has to be the Teatro Real. Since it was my first, huge opera building ever seen, it was not just this the wow factor. The building has many floors with the central one to host the play and the audience. In upper floor they prepare the next act and also bellow the scene, they do the same. And thru a system of elevators they can move/prepare, hole sets while the play is still on and display them in front of the audience in no time.
In my opinion, El Real is definitely the place to visit in Madrid, along with the following:
It may seem just a parrot (actually is a Quaker Parrot) but for someone who saw just the classic European Birds in the cities, this change is very interesting and beautiful. These birds fly free in the parks and makes you feel like you ar in an exotic city (Rio?). The most birds that I saw, were in the Parque de la Bombilla, next to the Faro de Moncloa. (see images bellow).
Looks like ancient people headings towards UFOs. (Arco de la Victoria and Faro de Moncloa)
Museo de America and Faro de Moncloa in the image bellow.
View from the top of the tower.
Speaking of interesting, in the El Retiro park there is a Cristal Palace.
Pito Real (iberica) – woodpecker male adult plus a young one.
And another Palace but with some oriental flavour to it: Palacio de Velazquez.
In Parque de la Bombilla there is also the Temple of Debod, egyptian temple, dismantled and rebuild in Madrid. It was a gift to the Spanish people in 1960 from Egipt.
Iberian woodpecker feeding.
In the same park, besides the birds and Egyptian temple, and flowers and no water to drink or buy, there is also a transport that makes Madrid more romantic than already is. Teleferico de Madrid. Also a must do in Madrid, and also a great way to learn a few things on the road (trip).
Back in the center – Palacio de Cibeles. (actually in the area are a lot of palaces)
Night life is as vibrant as in any capital, but I was surprised to find out that the place to be at midnight, is not the centre of Madrid. While I wanted to celebrate my anniversary, at 2 a clock in the morning, I had a hard time finding a pub or something opened to have a drink.
Here are some images of what I saw in the center, before 1 a clock in the morning:
With a last long exposure photo I ended my trip in Madrid and dreamed for those 24 degrees in Munich, my next location.
To sum everything:
- as a capital city there are lots to see and do, and the food is great (tastes good at least);
- plenty of places to drink, rest, eat that are more than affordable compared to other capitals in this region of Europe;
- museums and attractions are affordable;
- lots of immigrants that have jobs (great news given the world situation now…);
- cheap transport system and good coverage.
- NO PUBLIC FOUNTAIN – I saw one in a park and yes just one! You have to buy every time your water! (I walked 43km in Madrid so yeah… no public water). But I was not thinking at myself, but at the dozens of homeless people or poor that have to endure over 40 degrees in heat. And not even so. As a kid I drinked water from public fountains in parks or on my street, especially in the summer. BRAVO MADRID, you are so bad…
- To many coffee places/tapas and if you want to eat (healthy) before 8:30 in the afternoon, you are out of luck… Only burgers are opened before. This is a cons due to the fact that there are just too many and it looks bad.
- not so many stations to help invalids of families with baby (chariots)
Would I come back? Well, I guess so, even thou the lack of respect for those who have no money for the millions of shops, made me sad… This new world is sad itself anyway… (As I write this page, there has been another attack in Europe – Barcelona)