Arrived in Madrid bright and early and took the Metro to the hostel. We grab some brunch along the way to the Prado Museum. I really need to stop going to museum right after taking the night train, it’s really draining. The museum had a special Rembrandt collection on display, so I paid the extra fee to see it. Rembrandt has this amazing technique of using color and shading to draw you into the pieces, almost like a spotlight. After finishing up the Rembrandt collection, I explored the permanent collection. There were a lot of pieces by Goya, who painted a lot of portraits for the royal family.
There were also a few pieces by Raphael. I probably spent the whole day at the Prado museum and then checked out the church and park in the nearby area. The park was really nice, I was there during the sunset and the sky was really pretty. The Parque del Buen Retiro had a rectangular lake and a monument of Alfonso XII. It was nice walking through the park after being inside the museum all day. On my way back to the hostel I passed by the Puerta de Alcala, Apollo fountain, and the Metropolis building.
There really wasn’t much that I wanted to see in Madrid, just went to a few sites mentioned in the guidebook.
We walked over to the Palacio Real, which is still used by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia. We decided to take the guided tour through the open rooms in the palace. Before the tour started; we checked out the Armory. There was some serious armor in there, even some for children. The guided tour through the palace was cool, the rooms were so extravagant. We were able to see the throne room, which held the current thrones used with the King and Queen’s profile on the chairs. The chandeliers in the room looked amazing, I think they're from Italy. I believe the most famous room is the tea room with an incredible stucco ceiling and Asian theme. (I learned that stucco is a mixture of plaster and marble) Almost all the door frames of the palace were made out of a different shade of marble. There were also several tapestry hangings along the walls, which have threads of gold incorporated. After the tour, we walked through the temporary history and art exhibit.
Parque del Buen Retiro
There were more portraits painted by Goya of the Royal Family. We ended our visit of the palace at the Real Pharmacies, which held all sorts of glass and ceramic vessels that were used to hold medicine and herbs. After the Palace, we stopped for some lunch at a bar that served Duff beer. The beer tasted pretty good and looked exactly like the Duff beer logo from the Simpsons. We tried to check out the Catedral de San Isidoro, but they were closed. We found a market that sold a bunch of random items and did some shopping. Then we went to the Puerto del Sol before heading back to the hostel to grab our things to catch our train to Granada. On our way to the train station I got robbed on the metro. They managed to steal my prescription glasses, it was pretty annoying. It happened when we were trying to get onto the metro and these 2 women started to have an argument and push each other.
Parque del Buen Retiro
For some reason I knew that they were trying to distract me because they were pushing each other really hard and looking at us. I knew that I didn’t have anything important in my backpack and my main objective was to get onto the metro. As I was walking onto the metro, I turned around and saw someone’s hand pulling something out of my backpack. I couldn’t react fast enough and my hands were full. I’m lucky that all they got were my glasses, but it was very annoying. When we finally got to the train station, we met some girls that got their wallet stolen on the metro. We made it to Granada and found our way to the hostel; the plan was to check out Sevilla and the Alhambra the next 2 days. At the hostel we met this girl that almost got robbed in Barcelona, she warned us about the spot. I’ve heard a lot of stories and got robbed that it’s giving me a bad impression of the country, sad.
Alfonso XII Monument