Sight-seeing in Madrid
Madrid Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
September 30th, 2009 – by: davidx
I took a bus back to Principe Pio and walked from there to the templo de Debod. This is a genuine second century Egyptian temple which was taken down rather than letting it be flooded when the Aswan Dam was created in the 50s.
I had intended to go to the Opera House next and then to the Royal Palace.
Somewhat to my surprise I was extremely impressed by the interior of the cathedral. I have not seen this mixture of neo-Gothic and far more modern styles anywhere else and I should never have expectd it to come off so well.
From the dome I had looked at San Francisco and I was more than ever keen to see it but, like many north Europeans, I am not siesta minded. it had just shut and would not open again for some hours. I had better finish here because I still find myself wanting to curse.
Actually I was more than ready for something to eat by this time and rapidly adjusted my plans. I had long wanted to see the National Archaeology Museum so I decided to get something to eat first and then set out for the museum.
1. It was highly reputed for tapas - and if I didn't eat something else soon I was in danger of turning cannibalistic
2. It was near
3. It headed towards the Plaza Mayor so I could see that as well.
I settled for the Toma Jam ón on the grounds that they had four courses on their lunch menu, each consisting of a choice between two tapas dishes. It turned out not only to have delicious tapas but a friendly waitress as well.
The trouble with eating is that it gives time for thought and looking at maps - not a bad thing in itself but something almost certain to lead to more sight-seeing and more walking. It did.
It would have seemed churlish not to see the Mercado San Miguel, that was very close, a bulding from the end of the 18th century and the last of its kind in central Madrid. I half - but only half - wished I had eaten here sitting on a low wall. Then I went to have a look at the Plaza de la Villa near the Calle Mayor. This is not one of Madrid's larger squares but very picturesque. Its fine buildings include the ayuntamiento (City Hall). Quite why I decided to walk to the Plaza del Sol and getthe metro there. I suppose t was because I had liked it on a previous visit - no such luck this time; it was like a barely started building site.
At last I made my way to the archaeological museum but I was in for some disappointments here. First the Plaza Colon was another building site - a right mess. This was a pity as it is normaly a pretty spectacular place. Then the museum itself was being developed and there was only one large hall open - free during the works. It should be really great when it's finished and perhaps I shall manage to go again some time - it will be well worth while.
My additions earlier to my schedule meantthat I could return without a delay and find the Basilica de San Francisco open. I went in to fnd a guide speaking Spanish and realised (to my pleasure and surprise) that I could follow most of it. Suddenly the nave lights went out and he turned on another area. I followed the party round a whole lot of rooms. This was very enjoyable but I was really exhausted. I decided on an early meal and a very early night.
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