The big city

Madrid Travel Blog

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The C/ Gran Via

Madrid is a big city.  With more people in the city then the entire State of Colorado there is a lot going on here.  I don´t really remember much about my visit to this city in the past, and my blog did little to help since I went to the zoo and a theme park instead of more touristy things.

Last night we were able to get a bit oriented, as much as we could with streets that arn´t labeled and are constantly winding around. 

We started by dropping off some laundry and getting breakfast.  Kim had a bad tourist experience and because of some langage confusion ended up getting steamed milk with a tea bag in it instead of tea with some cold milk on the side to mix in it.  The waiter was nice about it, but it was funny because he explained that if you say "American Tea" that´s what they give you.

Approaching the Royal Palace
  Kim hadn´t said that but he had assumed it which made it that much more confusing. 

Today we made our way over to the Royal Palaces.  I had been there before but it was neat to see them again.  In addition to the residence of the King that we could see, they also had a special exhibit which talked about how the Crown of Spain has been involved in archeological explorations throughout history.  Both were interesting.

The visit started a bit rough though.  We had to wait in line for a bit and then once inside I realized that I lost our tickets going through the security checkpoint.  They were nice, and replaced our tickets after asking us a few questions. 

After the Royal Palace we followed the Rick Steves guided walk backwards to the Plaza del Sol.

Kim in front of the Cathedral
  We saw the Plaza Mayor which was is a huge open air square where the city holds functions and there are a lot of places to eat, shop, etc.  The Plaza Sol is another huge plaza, but in it is Kilometer 0 which is the center of Spain.  The Plaza Sol is really close to our hotel but instead of heading there we decided to head toward the Prado Muesum.

The Prado is their big art museum.  At 6pm they give out free tickets.  When we arrived it was just after 4pm so we took another tip from Rick Steves and caught a city bus (Bus 27) for 1€ to the Puerto Europe.  We caught it right in front of the Prado.  This is where Madrid has built two large office buildings which lean towards each other at about 15 degrees.  It´s a neat look and there were some intersting things to see from the bus including many government buildings, the US Embassy, fountains, and statues.

The Royal Palace
 

We returned to the Prado on the bus and hopped into the beginnings of a long line of people wanting free tickets.  We were able to get in right at 6...for free which was nice because neither of us wanted to spend too much time at the museum.  There was a lot to see, but since I´m not much for art I spent a lot of time practicing my Spanish by reading the signs about the art, first in Spanish, and then their translation into English.  Surprisingly there were some differences.  I also looked for odd art.  Art that doesn´t make any sense.  In one, as an example, a child was urinating on a drunk man.  It was difficult to see at first because it was a large piece with a focus unrelated to this dipiction.  There was also a statute where an old man was sucking on the breast of a woman.

The city hall building
  Very odd...the description indicated that it was a statue showing a story where the man is imprisoned and starved.  His daughter fed him by breast to keep him alive.  They called it Roman Charity. 

We were tired after the museum and thought about just spending the night in.  After picking up our laundry (2 loads 9€ each wash and dry) we returned to the hotel and then decided to go tapas hunting again.  We went to the Cava Bajo area and had some great tapas, beer, and met some fun people.  We stayed out so late that the metro was closed.  After walking about halfway there we weren´t sure if we were headed the right way so we took a cab the rest of the way.  It was really only a few blocks, but at night in a strange city sometimes that´s just easier.

What a full day. 

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The C/ Gran Via
The C/ Gran Via
Approaching the Royal Palace
Approaching the Royal Palace
Kim in front of the Cathedral
Kim in front of the Cathedral
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace
The city hall building
The city hall building
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
KM 0 the center of Spain
KM 0 the center of Spain
An exhibit we saw at the Royal Pal…
An exhibit we saw at the Royal Pa…
One of the Puerto Espana buildings…
One of the Puerto Espana building…
Pickpockets are a problem...we´ve…
Pickpockets are a problem...we´v…
Entrance to the Prado
Entrance to the Prado
The front of the Prado
The front of the Prado
Madrid Hostels review
Great hotel (not hostal) in a perfect location
Hostal Acapulco should be called a hotel. I´m sure there´s some reason they did this, but the work Hostal brings a certain image that this hotel is… read entire review
Madrid
photo by: vulindlela