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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Two Weeks in Spain - May 2014 - Madrid

After our 3-night stay in Zaragoza we took a train to Madrid, where we stayed 5 nights.  Our hotel, the Atlantico, was right in the middle of town, right on the Gran Via, a perfect location.  20 minutes walking in one direction, we were at the Palacio Real; 20 minutes in the other direction, the area around the Prado Museum.  And best of all, only about a 5-minute walk from my new favorite restaurant, Sirena Verde.


The streets of Madrid are amazingly busy.  I had forgotten just how busy a national capital can be. 




We arrived in Madrid mid-afternoon, and after a late lunch, we went for a walk out towards the Palacio Real.  We decided to wait for another day to go in side, and just wandered around the area and surrounding parks.




Here's Heather, sitting on the back steps of the Cathedral.



We did wander into the Cathedral.  It's impressive, but not as old I would have expected.



On Wednesday morning we took a cab out to the Bernabeu Stadium, home of the Real Madrid football club.  The tour is not quite as well organized as the one in Barcelona, but impressive nonetheless.



A few days later this sign was out of date, when Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid in the UEFA European championship game in Lisbon on Saturday night.  It's now 10 European championships.


The whole city was hyped up over the upcoming game while we were there.  We watched the game in the bar at our hotel.  


We took a cab from the Bernabeu directly to the Prado Museum.  It was a little after Noon, and we were quite prepared to stand in a long line to get into one of the world's best art museums.  The Prado is ranked right up with the Louvre and the Vatican Museums, and it has one of my favorite paintings, Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights.  For that one alone I was willing to wait as long as it took.  As it turned out, lunch time is a great time to visit the Prado.  There was no line, we walked right in.  By the way, the Prado does not allow photos except in the entrance lobby.  You can carry your bag in, and we did see lots of people pulling out cells phones and snapping shots (and occasionally getting warned by the guards) but I decided to respect the rules, and only got one picture, a selfie of Heather and I near the cafe.


It was right on the verge of raining when we left the Prado in the late afternoon, and we came across this church lit by the low sun against the dark clouds.



We spent a lot of our time in Madrid just walking around checking out the city, and finding good places to eat.  On Thursday we took a day trip out to Segovia (see the separate blog post) and on Friday we toured the Palacio Real (the Royal Palace).  Just like the Prado, no photography is allowed inside the Palace.




We spent our last full day in Madrid walking around the Royal Botanical Garden and the Retiro Park.  




It was a beautiful sunny day in Madrid; parts of the Retiro Park were jammed with people, other parts, not so much.





Boaters were enjoying the lake.



People were jumping for joy (or something).



Fans were ready for that evening's big game.



All in all, Retiro Park was a great place to spend an afternoon.



Here's the view from the rooftop terrace of our hotel in Madrid.



Click here to see more images of Madrid from our May 2014 trip to Spain.

Geographically speaking, we didn't see all that much of Spain, just that relatively small corner between Barcelona and Madrid.  But, by spending 5 nights each in Barcelona and Madrid, and 3 in Zaragoza, we were able to get a really good feeling for each of the 3 cities.  We also had our 2 day trips, to Girona from Barcelona, and Segovia from Madrid.  Everyplace we went was a lot of fun, I don't think I could pick any particular spot as my favorite.
      

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.