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Majestic Madrid

sunny 20 °C

Almost every European capital has at least one easily recognisable icon and if we showed photos of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or the Colosseum, you would immediately know where we were. But Madrid doesn't have anything that really stands out despite its wealth of majestic buildings. For instance: this is the Royal Palace...
It may be much grander than Buckingham Palace, but Spain's royal palace doesn't seem to generate the same kind of buzz among tourists. There are no smartly turned-out guardsmen; no household cavalry; no crowds hoping to catch just a fleeting glimpse of royalty to be able to forever say, "I saw the Queen or the King." Spain dumped the monarchy and became a Republic under Franco in the 1930s, but in 1978 the King was re-instated and remains very popular today. However, the royal family no longer lives in the palace.
There are a multitude of architectural delights in Madrid, but in order to enjoy the sheer majesty of the city you have to look up...
While it is difficult to capture the enormity and grandeur of many of Madrid's buildings from ground level, it is very pleasant to wander along the wide tree-lined bulevars filled with fountains and statues...
While the buildings and streets are themselves historical artefacts, Madrid is renowned for its many museums. However, to visit all the major museums would entail a week of mind-numbing information absorption. So we cut the brain fog to a minimum by sticking to the most important. This is a statue of Goya which stands outside Madrid's most famous art museum, El Prado...
Despite the difficulty of booking online, and the horrendously long ticket queues, we managed to visit this renowned museum famed for its many Goya paintings. No photos are allowed inside the museum, however, pictures were allowed at the nearby modern art exhibition in the Palacio de Comunicaciones...
This celebrated masterpiece, (which just looked like a load of old chairs and a few bits and bobs to us), was described as a perfect metaphor for the isolation caused by Covid. There were quite a number of more esoteric works in the gallery, including a lump of concrete in a backpack. Maybe we are naïve when it comes to modern art, but we actually found the building itself more fascinating...
Also fascinating, and much prettier, are the numerous ancient, glazed tile, storefronts that adorn shops, bars and restaurants. The centre of Madrid is dotted with plazas filled with cafes, bars, and restaurants. This is just one side of the enormous Plaza Mayor...
And this is the Plaza Santa Ana as seen from our balcony in the early morning before the restaurants and bars have set up their tables and umbrellas for another busy day...
Another feature of Madrid is its extensive central park, Parque del Retiro, and the attached botanical gardens. Madrid has long hot summers, so the public gardens are filled with plants that we might think of as tropical. The tulips and spring bulbs have already passed their best under the swaying banana palms and the rhododendrons and azaleas are in full bloom under the olive trees...
When the historic railway station became too small for the high-speed lines, the Spaniards attached a new station next door and turned the old one into an enormous hothouse filled with tropical plants. It was a good idea, because, after weeks of brilliant sunshine and temperatures touching the thirties, we finally hit a cool patch that even the Spanish meteorologists described as a blip of winter in the midst of spring. However, the cool, damp spell was short-lived and the sun was soon shining again on Madrid's majestic buildings. This is the Cathedral...
We could easily spend a week here enjoying the fabulous meals in the excellent restaurants, but our waistlines can't take much more so we are moving on. Next stop: the historic city of Segovia.

Posted by Hawkson 08:07 Archived in Spain

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Many thanks for bringing back memories of my year in Madrid during my misspent youth ! xx

by Christine Lloyd

Thank you for these gorgeous pictures of Madrid. I have never been to Spain so it was quite a revelation!

by Annemarie Sigrid MankeThank you

Very inspired by the modern art piece. I'll have a look in my cluttered workshop this morning. I'm sure there's enough junk there to create something similar. Then all I'll need to do is think up a title for it.

by R and B

Gorgeous! Madrid certainly looks like an amazing city! Can they understand your Spanish? Tengo curiosidad ❤️❤️❤️

by catherine gilroy

Si catarina, los espanuolos entienden muy bien nuestro espagnol. Gracias por tu pregunta.

by Hawkson

I think the concrete laden backpack is an excellent depiction; every person who has a backpack and has come near me, bangs into me with it...and yes, it feels like its full of concrete!!!! I'm glad you are having such busy travels, full of warmth and bright colours.

by Helen

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