Egyptian temples and Spanish fountains

Madrid Travel Blog

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Plaza Mayor in the early morning

I woke up early, but slept well. At around 2am I was woken ones by the light in the corridor (as my little window was an interior one and let all the light from the hallway through). Yet when I think about it, it probably wasn't the light that woke me but the people that lit it. Dutchmen! Shouting out about the Coca Cola in the fridge and where to put their water, slamming the doors,... It is a Belgian cliché that wherever you go on the globe you always run in to some Dutchmen making noise. The cliché was ones more confirmed during my first night in Spain. Yet apart from the little incident, I had a wonderful sleep, and when I looked up through the patio window the next day all I saw was the blue from the sky and the diffuse light of the morning sun.

We walked over the
Plaza Mayor and the Plaza de la Villa, to enjoy the architecture.

Plaza de la villa
Plaza Mayor is huge but not too charming, Plaza de la Villa (with the town hall) is small but authentic. I liked both because of the buildings that can be seen here, yet they couldn't compete the sweetness of Santa Ana, that became "our" place to hang out from the first night on. Next stop on the walk was the Viaduct and it's views over the city. We had breakfast in a bar close by, and then walked on to the Almudena Cathedral. This is a majestic building. I love the way it looked, young and modern, both from the outside and the inside. It must be one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen, together with the Saint Peter in Rome, the dome in Florence, and Chartres in France. Yet it is build in a different style than most other cathedrals, and that alone made the visit special.
The Almudena Cathedral from the outside
Then we wanted to see the Royal Palace, but while queuing I noticed that the entrance is free for EU citizens on Wednesday. So we got out again only to return the next day. Instead of the visiting the palace we walked across Plaza de Oriente and the Jardines de Sabatini, both beautiful and green. Madrid in general is a city with much space and air, wide clean streets and beautiful views. The view over the palace from both gardens is wonderful, and offers different perspectives than just the view from the front square at the cathedral. Our route led to
Plaza de España, where the monument for writer Cervantes (Don Quichote) stands.
Inside the Almudena cathedral
It's a nice monument, and the architecture of the buildings behind it is also remarkable.

Later we climbed the stairs to the
Debod Temple. When I saw pictures of it during my research it looked like nothing special. But that was so wrong!!! I absolutely loved it. It stands on a beautiful location, in a park a little away from the noise, on a hill that offers great views over the modern part of Madrid and the palace, and surrounded by a small pond. Inside is a little museum, but mainly just the carvings in the walls, the shrine, and the huge rocks made it worth visiting. It isn't too hard to imagine what this beautiful building must have looked like when it was closed in by walls and still intact.
The beautiful and modern windows in the Almudena cathedral. I simply love them, yet I took a picture of only one. They were all wonderful!
Egypt in the hart of Madrid, strange but true!

We bought ourselves a bocadillo meal in the Museo del Jamon, at the Gran via. It was cheap and good, and the shop itself is worth a visit since it has more jamón than you can ever imagine. After lunch we took the metro to the Atocha station. We needed this stop to go to the Arte Reina Sofia museum, and while passing by we went to collect our AVE train tickets to Sevilla, which we had booked in advance. Yet the Arte Reina Sofia is closed on Thursday, so we went there for nothing. Instead, we walked through the entire
Retiro Park, laid down in the grass, had drinks on the terraces, and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
The statue at Plaza España
In the late afternoon we passed by the Puerta de Alcala, Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza de Colón, to see the fountains and architecture there.

Around 8 we went back to Plaza Santa Ana's “Cerveceria de Santa Ana”, to spend the night. There was a strange group of people passing by (we believe it was a sect or something). The night before we saw them walking slowly in a row, holding each others shoulders, and they all had their eyes closed except for the first one, who guided. Now they walked around the square again, in a row, all dressed in red and imitating the first one. If he waved, they all waved, if he shouted, they all shouted,… Odd but fun, especially when you've got a huge pint of Tinto de Verano in front of you and some delicious tapas.

We walked the streets below the plaza looking for a restaurant. One guy offered us a 3 courses menu for 7,50 euro, wine included.
The Debod Temple
So my mother, who is always in to cheap stuff, sat down immediately. We all should have known that was the most stupid thing to do. F_cking tourist traps. But there we were, eating horrible food at an ugly terrace in a dead end street, in front of a dirty tavern with poor service! Atmosphere was crab of course, my mother feeling guilty for making such a lazy decision, me being pissed of, and my father saying nothing at all... My desert was three half parts of canned melocoton (peaches) and my starter was Gazpacho that was far from homemade. Does that picture it? We left as soon as we finished the disgusting meal, not saying a word to each other, just giving the damn waiter an ugly face. But of course, we were the stupid ones that fell for the bloody offer.

Whatever,... We decided to brighten the atmosphere, since there was no fun in returning to the hostel all angry and silent. Back on Plaza de Santa Ana we found a Vinoteca on the corner, were we could have some Cava. That was just what we all needed to get happy again, so we sat there until late drinking this marvelous Spanish Champaign. It was great fun!

cabotono says:
COOL!
Posted on: Aug 11, 2007
lindseyrpi says:
I wish I could plan a trip for my parents like this! You plan the type of trip I would love,
My parents are want the pool, beach, and resort as well.
Posted on: Aug 08, 2007
rayray says:
Top blog! You can come and write mine!!! :)
Posted on: Aug 02, 2007
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Plaza Mayor in the early morning
Plaza Mayor in the early morning
Plaza de la villa
Plaza de la villa
The Almudena Cathedral from the ou…
The Almudena Cathedral from the o…
Inside the Almudena cathedral
Inside the Almudena cathedral
The beautiful and modern windows i…
The beautiful and modern windows …
The statue at Plaza España
The statue at Plaza España
The Debod Temple
The Debod Temple
The Debod Temple (Walking like an …
The Debod Temple (Walking like an…
Drinking Estrella in Parque del Re…
Drinking Estrella in Parque del R…
La Puerta de Alcala
La Puerta de Alcala
Cava !!!
Cava !!!
La Almudena
La Almudena
At Plaza de Oriente
At Plaza de Oriente
View of the palace from the Jardin…
View of the palace from the Jardi…
Plaza España
Plaza España
Madrid Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
This Vinoteca is at the far end corner of Plaza de Santa Ana. They serve nice Cava here, for a good price (I believe it was 2,60 euro for one glass), … read entire review
Madrid Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
This is not a real museum but more like a shop that is decorated like a museum. The walls and ceiling are completely covered with the typical Spanish … read entire review
Madrid Sights & Attractions review
Plaza España is one of the largest open squares in Madrid. It is surrounded by many wonderful buildings like the Torre de Madrid and the Edificio de … read entire review
Madrid Sights & Attractions review
The temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian monument standing in the west of Madrid, near the Jardines de Ferraz and Plaza del Marqués de Cerralbo. Th… read entire review
Madrid Sights & Attractions review
This is a must-see in Madrid! A beautiful cathedral, build in neoclassicism architecture, to make it fit with the style of the palacio real that is ne… read entire review
Madrid General Tips & Advice review
Their are many parks in Madrid, but the Retiro is the largest. We've spend quite some hours here, enjoying the sun, the water, the Estrella beer, the … read entire review
Madrid
photo by: vulindlela