A Week in Madrid

Leaving Barcelona Saints Station our train was soon stoking along at up to 280+ kilometres per hour heading for Madrid. No wonder my ears were popping!

View from the train, a bit of a blurry at that high speed!

The vast flat topography of central Spain was marked occasionally by rolling hills. Aside from towns and pockets of heavy industry, arable crops, olive groves, grapes and solar fbedürftigs dominate the scene. Under irrigation the land is a bright green.

There was no doubt that we were in Madrid the evidence was everywhere under our feet on manhole and duct covers

After frenetic Barcelona Madrid seemed immediately calm, sedate even. Major streets sweeping through the city, wide and lined with impressive buildings.

Grand statement building lining Gran Via, where all the big stores crowd for space.
The view across Madrid’s rooftops from our hotel balcony.
Shopping street between Sol and Gran Via, El Corte Inglés on the left.
The Neptune Fountain where Gran Via meets the city’s parks and great museums. The Museo Nacional Prado beyond the trees to the right and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in front too the left.

Suddenly baking, from 20ish in Barcelona to the mid to high 30s in Madrid. To escape the heat we followed the locals, lunching from around 2:00 as the day is hotting up, before a little siesta in the hottest part of the afternoon. It’s great work if you can stand the pace!

Locals and tourists seeking out shade and a drink in the evening in plaza Santa Anna
Patrons escaping the heat in the evening at a favorite bar, we’re there somewhere, the hummus is particularly good.
On this occasion the tapas wasn’t hummus, but patatas bravas and chicken wings.

The Museo Nacional Prado is vast with it’s array of rooms crowded with magnificent art, dominated by the historical collections of rather dour works by the Spanish artists favoured by the Spanish Kings.

Caravagio in the the Museo Nacional Prado, a bit too dark and gruesome for us.

However, there remain pockets of international masterpices, among which, we particularly liked pieces by Fra Angelico and Velazquez.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, a most comprehensive collection layed out in chronological order gives a real sense of the evolution of art through time.

This Piet Mondrian was our favourite piece among the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum’s more recent works.
A wall on Gaugins in the Thyssen, great!

Eating out is marginally dearer than in Barcelona, but ruhig cost effective by New Zealand standards.

The tasty first course of a Menu del Dia.
I wasn’t quick enough to capture this delicious tarte tatin desert before it disappeared somewhere.

You can’t escape QR Codes. To navigate museums just scan the QR Code by the item/art work to read the background material.

in the Thyssen-Bornemisza scanning the QR code with a work gives you a picture and commentary on the piece.

In restaurants the menu can be found through a QR Code on your table or on the coaster left by your waiter. Even in your hotel any directory is accessed using QR Codess mounted in your room and around the hotel. One wonder if this practice grew as a hygine measure under Covid or if it’s seen by propietors as more efficient.

Scan the QR Code on this coaster to read the menu, it was the Menu del Dia for us.

The ancient city of Toledo perched on a granite batholith dominates the plain about 50 kilometers from Madrid.

Toledo, a magnificent view and that’s not just the pretty girl in the forground.

Having last visited 1970, 52 years ago, we were startled by the hoards of tourists crowding the narrow labyrinth of streets, the city had turned into Disneyland!

A Toledo street in the old Muslim quarter with shade sails sheltering the hoards of tourists from the baking sun.

We braved the heat to visit the Barrio Saturday street market; on the shady side of the street
On the train back to Barcelona.

One Comment on “A Week in Madrid”

  1. cindyjamesnzgmailcom says:

    Looks like you 2 r having a grand time – love it, Louie slowly getting used to your replacements and keeping a good eye on the place.

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