Madrid

I forget where I had breakfast so clearly it didn’t make an impression. On the way back to the hotel, I purchased some postcards. Some friends of my friend Rafa offered to show me around Madrid. I couldn’t have asked for better tour guides than Alfonso and Claudio.

We started out at a nearby bar that offered tapas along with your beverage. I had a delicious beer and LOVED the paella, croquettes and tortilla espanola. There was some aged pork on the counter that the bartenders were hacking off And then we went to another bar where the specialty was vermut en grifo or vermouth on tap. I have to say this was a delightful surprise. It looked like a typical beer tap, but this brownish-red liquid came out. Once the glass was nearly full, she released the handle and stuck the glass under a faucet that had this round handle like on a garden hose spigot which released a bit of tonic water. In addition to the drinks, the bartender had some tasty snacks, too.

Then we hit the streets. First up was a traffic circle just off Gran Via. I understand that one of the soccer teams celebrates victories at this fountain. 

We continued on to Parque del Buen Retiro, a huge park one the edge of downtown Madrid. This is a beautiful building that overlooks the lake in the Park. The park is very popular on Sundays when folks come and enjoy the park.

There was also the Palacio de Cristal in the park which was architecturally stunning. There were some interesting art installations on the inside.

The park was also popular with brides. This was one of 2 or 3 that we saw in the park that day.

The park had some beautiful gardens!

It’s one of the few places that has a statue of the Devil, El Angel Caido.

This is a memorial to the 3/11/04 terrorist attacks that occurred in Madrid.

And we saw some local wildlife!

As we left, I saw this tower just near the exit. There was a row of book stalls lining the walkway, but they were mostly closed. Reminded me of the stalls along the Seine.

And a quick peek into the Botanical Garden

Our next stop was the Caixa Forum, an old brick building that has been transformed into an architectural gem. The brick exterior has been adorned with a steel screen that has been intricate detail work. The building has been raised on columns and there’s a fountain underneath.

The interior was as captivating as the exterior — particularly the hanging lamps.

There was also this green, living wall outside.

We also walked by Centro de arte Reina Sofia.

We went to the train station Antigua Estacion de Atocha. The old hall now houses a tropical garden.

This connects to the modern train station that’s a major transit hub for Madrid.

There’s a memorial here for the 3/11 bombing that occurred at this station.

We then took the Metro which proved to be a beautiful and reminded of Washington, D.C.’s system.

Some of the fun things we saw were.

We also went to Plaza Mayor which is a huge square in old Madrid. My father had stayed in a hotel here in the early 1960s. I never did find the hotel.

Nearby was the Mercardo de San Miguel which was absolutely lovely.

The sun was starting to sit making for a dramatic setting.

We ended up near the Palacio Real or Royal Palace.

It was a delightful day and I’m so thankful to Alfonso and Claudio for showing me so many wonderful sights in Madrid.

I had dinner at a sidewalk cafe near the hotel. It was tortilla espanola between two slices of bread. I had a beer to wash it down. I stop by a local watering hole, but it was crowded and smoky.

All the walking and good food had left me sleepy so I call it a night!

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