A Return to Madrid
Madrid Travel Blog› entry 11 of 41 › view all entries
I had last been in Madrid about 8 years ago and remember not liking the city too much. In general it was a really big city with a palace and some art museums which I don’t really appreciate. Since a number of other exchange students had visited Madrid and said that it was better than Barcelona I decided to make the trip. Since Ana had to catch a 7am flight to Istanbul, I booked my flight at the same time which meant a 4:30 wake up call which is not a good way to start off the weekend.
The arrival went smooth and after coming out of the subway my feelings about the city were pretty much the same as the last trip. It was about 10:30 and it looked like I was in a big city (like New York). The walls were covered with graffiti and the local park was littered with garbage. I wondered my away through to the center of the city and took the same pictures as I had 8 years before: the Plaza Mayor, Puerto del Sol, the bear eating the strawberry tree. I was surprised that I still kind of knew the same direction of different sites even though I was only there for about 36 hours the previous time.
I then started heading to some new sites. The Retiro Park was packed with people. This park which is probably similar in size to Lincoln Park in Chicago was well used and full of runners, walkers and tourists. Then I headed to the world famous Prado museum (which I had never heard of before). I spent a few hours there and enjoyed the visit before heading on to my hotel.
I talked to the lady at the front desk in Spanish and she
said that she didn’t have my reservation.
I told her that I did have a reservation that I made on the internet
earlier in the week and I got an email confirmation. (again in Spanish) I took out my computer and started opening
it. She then asked another guest in the
lobby if he spoke English and he said yes.
Then she told him to explain to me that she doesn’t have a reservation
for me and he told me. I spoke back to
him in Spanish and said I understand what she said, but I have a reservation to
which he responded ‘oh, you speak spanish’.
So then he told the lady that I am looking for my reservation
confirmation. In the long run it was my
fault. I had reserved the room for the wrong
month (as well as my return flight).
Luckily she had a room available and gave it to me for the same
price. Ended up being a nice family run
establishment charging 27 euros a night and 3.50 for breakfast. A pretty good deal for such a big city.
I went to bed about 1am after some drinks with some fellow exchange students who were in town and then headed to bed so I could do an 18 mile run on Sunday. A few laps around the Retiro Park and then out past the Madrid soccer stadium where I learned that they only have the water fountains turned on in the center of the city.
I visited another museum (El Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza ) after the run. As I entered and picked up an audio guide the lady warned me I only had 2 hours to see the museum and I kind of laughed at the idea of spending more than 2 hours there. The museum was very well organized starting off with more modern abstract art and then tending to move backwards in history as you moved through the museum. At one point I was looking at giant yello square on a maroon background and had to see what the audio guide had to say about it which was 'if you are looking for meaning in this picture, then you won't find it'....perfect I will stop looking....Most of the museum was interesting to see a wide variety of art from Picasso to Monet and Van Gogh, but I can assure you that I didn't stay the full 2 hours that I had.
Overall I liked Madrid, but still prefer Barcelona. There are no mountains or water in the area nor anything that I found exciting. There did seem to great night life and the steets were more crowded than Barcelona at night, but still not as good as Barca.