Monday, April 2, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Two - Madrid

Up bright and early to do another walk about.  Headed down Gran Via to explore the sights. Stopped for breakfast at one of the local cafes.  It's interesting to select food from a menu when you don't know the language.  Lots of the menus have photos so you can kind of/soft of guess what you might be getting.  We picked a small sandwich on crusty bread with chorizo and tomatoes, the other was a piece of bread that tasted like french toast and bread pudding, served cold.  The coffee, cafe con panna, is espresso with steamed milk.  All very good!
Breakfast at the Nebraska Cafe on the Gran Via
Headed for the historic buildings and the park. Madrid is a very large city -- very cosmopolitan and extremely clean. There are workers everyplace manicuring the lawns and gardens, cleaning the sidewalks, and maintaining the buildings.

City Hall
Plaza de la Lealtad. This obelisk dedicated to the popular uprising against the French on May 2th, 1808,
now honors all those who gave their lifes for Spain.
La Puerta De Alcala arch
The Retiro Park was the highlight of the day. It was absolutely beautiful and peaceful. We walked for a few miles and saw so many lovely trees, flowers, a gorgeous lake where you can rent a small rowboat or take a pontoon ride, a glass atrium building and lovely flower garden. 
Entrance to the Park
The Boating Lake

The Palacio de Cristal
Flower Garden

We also stopped in to visit two beautiful churches.  The exteriors look dull and boring, but when you walk inside, the ornate statues, tile work, paintings, woodwork, windows, and overall architecture are stunning.  The churches are open and they don't mind if you take photos.
Beautiful Historic Churches
The Interiors of the Churches are Beautiful
On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at a few different tapas bars. When you purchase a drink, most of the places will serve fresh olives and/or small slices of bread or breadsticks and chorizo as an appetizer.  There are hundreds of tapas bars all over the City, each have their specialties, such as gamba (shrimp), olives, sardines and other types of seafood, chorizo and other types of cured meats and sausages.  

Tapas Menu
Went back to the hotel to take a siesta. Woke up from our nap and did an evening stroll. Found a little pizza place for dinner. 
ME Madrid Hotel (our Hotel) at Night
There was a light rain on and off during the day and evening, but most of the day was partly cloudy to full sun.  It was perfect for walking and exploring.

Some observations:
  • Spain is very affordable. Food, hotels, entertainment, shopping and activities are all fairly priced. 
  • Even if you don't speak Spanish (which we don't), you can get around with no worries at all. Just a few words of Spanish, some sign language and Google Translate will get you anyplace.
  • The people are very friendly, kind and helpful. Tourism is a big deal, and they want you to be happy.
  • In the large cities, like Madrid and Barcelona, you can walk for miles and miles to see the most interesting places in the cities. However, you should be aware that you are in a large city and be mindful that pickpockets and scammers are out there and you have to be careful.
Looking forward to another day of surprises tomorrow. 

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment