Friday, March 30, 2012

Madrid- día uno

I did a decent amount on my first day in Spain's capital city, so settle in and prepare for a lengthy (potentially verbose) retelling…

My walk to the bus stop. Not too shabby: 

Once I made it to central Madrid (35min bus ride + 5min metro), I started at... 

Puerta del Sol: 

...Then I walked by some neat buildings on the way to an art museum:

(can't forget the starbucks shot)

^^^This is the main post office of Spain. Can you believe it?!

On my walk, I also passed by a sweet street band. I didn't want to feel bad about shooting a video of them without tipping, so I was just a lousy person and walked by video-ing nonchalantly. Or I like to pretend it was nonchalant. Z will just be proud that the video's not sideways, which is how they come out form my camera about 87% of the time…hehe.
Okay, so it's upright, but still terrible quality. Baby steps.

Then I moved on to Plaza de Cibeles, where the goddess Cybele rides her pretty sweet lion-drawn carriage (Turkish delights, anyone?)
((Whenever Real Madrid wins a home match, the whole team celebrates by splashing around in this fountain.))
It was here that I realized I had walked right by the famous Metropolis building without getting a picture of it up close. oh well.
(under that fancy gold roof on the right is the word, "METROPOLIS")
I was already quite tired at this point, so I was relieved to see the Puerta del Alcála, which was one of the original entrances to the city, and conveniently stands at one of the entrances to a huge park, Parque del Buen Retiro, where I planned to stop for lunch and take a nap.

 Those doors again, this time from inside the park looking back toward the street:
  and again:

Here's the lake at the center of the park, which wouldn't be complete without some sort of horse statue, amiright?

Next stop, the Paseo de las Estatuas ("Statue Promenade"), lined with statues of every monarch of Spain.
...and also just some random pics, with a neat park-within-a-park:

I like the nifty trees and the nifty building in the background...


I read a bit of Great Expectations (I finished Old Man & the Sea on the flight, and I might stop where I am in G.E. to read David Copperfield, which was totally next on my list after the Hemmingway classic, but I forgot. Thanks for the recommendations y'all! It'll be Huck Finn next).

I was wearing down quickly, and after a while on that lonely bench I got up to look for a grassy place to nap. I found a perfect spot, at which I immediately plopped down, too tired to obtain evidence of my napping locale, but not too tired to photograph a new and exciting friend:

2.5 hours later, I awoke [can you say Jet Lag?], and wandered around some more [did I mention that this was a huge park?]. I headed to see the famous Palacio de Cristal, where I found two other friends who had the right idea.

Can't forget the Palace!
 And look, my sleeping friends are painted on the side:

My last pic before leaving the park was of…dun, dun, dun… a black swan
When I finally left Retiro, I headed down Paseo del Prado, a lovely, canopied street with a nice walking path. It leads to the Prado, a famous and HUGE art museum that I completely planned to visit but was just to beat to do so...

So instead of Prado I went across the street to CaixaForum, which boasts a giant vertical garden of sorts on one of it's outside walls. It is a contemporary museum of sorts, but I never really figured it out, and stopped trying to when I discovered that they had free wifi. Yay for smart phones turned on airplane mode! (Mom, be sure to check the Sprint bill occasionally for outrageous charges…)

(that window in the middle with the V-shaped light is what I leaned against (from the inside, obviously) for an hour on my phone)

From CF, I headed a few metro stops over to meet up with a college friend who is studying abroad here this semester. I was super parched and decided to try my luck with the "Aquarius" button on the vending machine. Alas, it was NOT water. Woops.

My friend wanted to show me some neat Madrid sights by night, so we went downtown, only to discover that a political protest was going on. From behind this backdrop, you can read "29 huegla general," which is referencing the general strike that took place yesterday (I'll mention the not-so-unfortunate repercussions of that in the near future). This, by the way, was taking place in Puerta del Sol, which you saw ages ago at the top of this post. (Hehe….sorry)
accidentally [slightly] cool pic

Here's Plaza Mayor by night: (hopefully I'll have a day shot after tomorrow)

And...the blurry Catedral Almudena, which is huge. It's the national cathedral, and my friend and tour guide taught me when it was finished. Can you guess?

only 1993!

...and finally, the Royal Palace, left and right, which is architecturally modeled after Versailles.

Whew. Maybe by the end of reading this you'll feel as exhausted as I was by the time I caught the last bus back to Colmenarejo at midnight. (Yeah, let's go with that. It's like an artistic imagery kind of thing. Gets you in the true setting and all, makes you feel like you were right there next to me-- in real time.)



  1. How wonderful to start to our lazy Saturday morning by taking a stroll in Spain with you! We're looking forward to more adventures. Keep walking!

    - Penny & Jim

  2. I believe if I was to live in a large city, this would be it! Absolutely mind-boggling. I love the way Penny put it. Thank you, Maria. You're beautiful,
    Aunt Susie