Streets and walking, Madrid
One of the beautiful treats in Madrid are the surprises in architectural details, tilework, mosaics, sculptures, etc. You pass a little hole in the wall and marvel at the intricacy and charm that has been so lovingly preserved all these years.
Take time to appreciate these details...
Favorite thing: The centre of Madrid between the Palacio Real (East) and the Retiro Park (West) is ideal for walking. A stroll through the narrow alleyways and along the broad avenues offers many hidden views of the city. Monumental plazas and fountains, cafes and bars always invite for a short break.
Madrid has many interesting and beautiful plazas (e.g. Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Cibeles, Plaza de Castilla) and puertas (e.g. Puerta del Sol, Puerta de Toledo, Puerta de Alcala).
You can spend days with only visiting plazas and puertas of Madrid. The photo shows the Puerta de Toledo in the south of the city centre (Metro: Puerta de Toledo).
Normally I am very fond of old cathedrals, as I love the gothic ones or the baroque ones for instance.
But this one of the last century, destroyed and renovated a few times, got me interested because of its mix...
But this doors, this entrance doors, are incredible.
You can find some at the main entrance, and also the ones looking to the Palacio Real, and the drawings represent history of the Catholicism or history of Spain and its kings
There's only one thing I don't like about the Metro system - the fact that it's underground. I much prefer to travel above ground, to see the different neighborhoods flying past, to voyeuristically take the pulse of daily life of those who don't rise and fall to the beat of tourist footsteps. To go underground is to be denied this show, which is a shame.
On the other hand, I appreciate engineering marvels of all types and the metros and subways of big cities have to be put right up there with some of the greatest of all time. What a brilliant system, truly. So in short, use the Metro. It just makes sense.
If you arrive at the airport in Madrid, ask for directions to the Metro. The help desk will make it sound like it's a long walk, that's cause it kinda is. It's about a 10 minute walk through the terminal on the upper level. Don't worry, just follow the signs and you can't miss it.
And don't mess around with single tickets. Right when you arrive by a packet of 10, the savings make it worthwhile even if you somehow don't end up using them all, which you most likely will anyway.
Favorite thing: We were hot and worn out and just needed something cool to help us out. We found a solution in a fountain! We were the only ones who thought of this idea. When we walked up to this fountain, two guys were just climbing out after a full-on swim! We just put our feet in ... and it sure felt good!
Wander around the centre of Madrid and keep an eye on the many interesting architecture styles.
The Plaza Mayor is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. Along the Gran Via the buildings have style elements of american skyscrapers, Classicism and Art-Deco. The buildings of General Franco at the Plaza de Espana have the monumental style of Stalin.
Fondest memory: Back in the olllld days, these tiled street signs were a way for those who could not read, to get around town. Today, they still make fine directional aids. And it's cool to have your own square in such a city as Madrid, isn't it? (Rhetorical question there...of course it is!)
Each Sunday El Rastro, a gigantic flea market situated in the lavapiès district, attracts several thousand people. It offers everything, from antiques, books and clothing, to stolen car parts and pirat cds....
Keep an eye on bags, cameras, and belongings. Even if there are a lot of police around, crafty pickpockets are just waiting for unsuspecting tourists.
Fondest memory: When I was a kid, I used to come to the Rastro with my mother to shop for arts and crafts, but there is now another side of it that
should not be missed imho: the drinking and eating (tapas) in the old neighborhood bars with the locals!
Such a perfect way to spend your Sunday afternoon =)))
Favorite thing: Madrid, I liked your Calle Mayor, it's one of the most elegant and gorgeus streets which I managed to see.... beautiful palaces, trendy shops and restaurants... it's like a bridge connecting two poles - hustling and bustling Puerto del Sol and majestic Royal Palace.
Walk along Calle Mayor from Almudena to Puerta del Sol... You will be taken to ancient Madrid... And get into one of the typical bars and have a cup of red wine or a beer, with delicious "tapas"!
Camina por la Calle Mayor, desde la Almudena a la Puerta del Sol... Serás transportado al Madrid antiguo... Y entra en cualquiera de los típicos bares, toma una copa de vino tinto o una cerveza, con las deliciosas "tapas"!
Fondest memory: I arrived to Madrid a two weeks before Christmas... and the whole city was a party! Squares, monuments, avenues, streets, where specially enlightened for the holiday. I will never forget my first sight of Madrid by night.
Llegué a Madrid dos semanas antes de la Navidad... y toda la ciudad era una fiesta! Plazas, monumentos, avenidas, calles, estaban especialmente iluminadas para las Fiestas. Nunca olvidaré mi primera visión de Madrid por la noche.
Favorite thing: And then Madrid took me to another place, more comfortable and friendly, the place where it could tell me about its life a bit... so I could see some of its buddies and listen to the music it likes to listen, smell the soon to be ready dinner and secretly giggle at a stupid comment of one of its guests... Hey, Madrid, it seems I've started to like you!
Favorite thing: At every square, there is seemingly some sort of monument, statue or piece of art. This equestrian statue in the Puerta del Sol and you'll find many more by just strolling around the city. Incidentally, Puerta del Sol is considered "ground zero" for the entire country and you can find a marker in the square which indicates the spot from which all official distances are measured. It is also a hub for public transportation and shopping and a great central meeting spot to begin your exploration of the city.
Favorite thing: My first impression of Madrid was exiting the subway station at Sol, a main Metro stop and a center of shopping and transportation in the city (not shown in this picture). I emerged from the depths of the subway and was greeted by enormous stone buildings, full of carved details and ironwork embellishments. This was only the beginning. Madrid is full of architectural jewels, so enjoy your stay and don't forget to observe each building carefully and you'll be well rewarded.
This paint is from Mingote, is in Calle Sal, just in direction to the Plaza Mayor.
Mingote comic paints had been in the newspapers with others as Summer, Forbes Chummy Chumez and more.
This one is very castizo lol