Hi there again!!
I want to spend some time in this post talking about Madrid, the capital of Spain, and the city we spent our first two days touring around! Madrid is the largest city in Spain…almost 4 million people live in the actual city, another 2 million in the suburbs surrounding it! They call Madrid, “el Corazon de Espana”, the heart of Spain. It is old and traditional, yet also very modern. We spent most of our time in the older, historical part of the city.
Our day in Madrid was very busy!! Tuesday morning we headed out early to visit “El Museo del Prado”, the Prado Museum. I have actually already been here before, but this time around I had much more appreciation for the artists and masterpieces. Last semester I was able to take a class on the culture and history of Spain, where we studied these artists and the history behind their work. They have some of the most well known pieces of art in the world in the Prado. I hope to write a separate post later on about my experience there, and my favorite pieces of work but for now I will leave my description at that! We were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but here are a few from the outside.
Front and side views of El Prado! It’s a huge museum!
Cathedral next to Museum.
After an hour filled with El Greco, Goya, and Velasquez…we headed out on a walking tour of Madrid. My camera has a great mode to take pictures of architecture, so they came out beautiful! (Thanks Mark!) Enjoy!
The bear and the cherry tree are the City’s symbol. It is found all over Madrid but this was a statue near the entrance to Puerto del Sol.
Fountain in Puerto del Sol. This is where many people in Madrid will meet up before getting coffee or dinner.
This is the main building facing Puerto del Sol. At the top, there is a clock. On New Year’s Eve, everyone in Spain watches that clock to turn midnight! They say this area is the equivalent of our Times Square! I also learned that it is tradition for everyone in Spain to eat twelve grapes on New Years Eve.
Kilometro 0-0 is located in Puerto del Sol. This marks the “center” of Spain. All mileage for roads in Spain begin from this point!
A lot of the buildings in Madrid had rounded corners. This is a building on Gran Via, the equivalent of their Broadway.
Plaza de Espana.
This building that looks like a castle happens to be their post office…
La Plaza Mayor!
Our hotel was right near the Atocha train station. This is where the 2004 Madrid bombings happened. Nearby was the memorial for the bombings. From the outside it looks like a plain cylinder, but the inside is filled with the names of the people killed in the terror attack and messages of condolences sent from all over the world. I unfortunately did not have time to go inside but here is a shot I snapped of the memorial from the bus.
The Atocha train station.
The train station has a tropical forest in the middle of it with a more humid environment. We ventured in it there to check it out, very unique and cool.
These pictures were taken from the top of Corte Ingles (a 9 story department store in downtown Madrid) which is said to have one of the best views of the City! I must say I agree!!
Unfortunately, it was cloudy weather in Madrid and very windy for our walking tour. Although it was high 40’s that day, many people in Madrid were wearing large winter jackets that we would wear in the snow! Even the police officers had scarves covering part of their face and thick gloves on! The weather was certainly better than the negative degrees we’ve been experiencing in New England but I wish the sun could have come out for a few of my pictures!!
I could write a lot more about all the places, buildings and sites, but I think most of the pictures speak for themselves. Even though it was my second time to Madrid, the beautiful buildings and Plaza’s never cease to amaze me! Definitely a great city!! Hope you enjoyed this little tour of Madrid!!