Prowling my world, camera in hand

20 October 2008

Week 42: Madrid

Filed under: — Administrator @ 06:56

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Madrid, showing my sister and brother-in-law around the city. The pictures I show here are more or less chronologically arranged, so in effect I am taking you on a two-day walk in Madrid.

We drove to our hotel slightly outside the centre and took the metro to Puerta del Sol, from where we walked to Plaza Mayor. This is as standard a tourist itinerary as there is. But it is a nice walk. Somewhere along the way I saw this big dog licking his lips–was he thinking of eating the birds?:

The alternates

Alternate 1
Plaza Mayor is beautiful but it is also one huge tourist trap, with overpriced restaurants and many ways in which a tourist can be separated from her money:

Alternate 2
We continued our walk towards the royal palace. Just before the palace there is the Catedral Nuestra Señora Almudena:

Alternate 3
I liked the stained glass windows, a mix of old and new:

Alternate 4
We gave the palace itself a miss. All palaces look the same to me, and the weather was too nice to spend an hour walking around a stuffy old building. We continued on towards Plaza de España. Immediately after passing the palace I took this image, showing how many thoroughfares in Madrid’s centre are underground. This makes the city much more friendly for pedestrians and cyclists than would otherwise be the case:

Alternate 5
There are also many nice parks and gardens in the area around the palace. The grass invites people to take a rest:

Alternate 6
We went back to our hotel to take a rest, and then in the evening we went back out to see the city by night and to have dinner at a local restaurant. People were watching the Belgium-Spain World Cup qualifier match:

Alternate 7
Dinner was finished with two enormous glasses of brandy. It is not obvious from this picture, but these two glasses contain about half of the bottle:

Alternate 8
Then we walked back to Puerta del Sol to take the metro back to the hotel:

Alternate 9
Inside the station, a señorita waits for the train:

Alternate 10
On the train, this couple had an intense conversation:

Alternate 11
Some passengers are more lively than others:

Alternate 12
The next morning we drove into the centre and parked the car near Plaza de Cibeles. While walking around, we saw this example of urban flora:

Alternate 13
Our plan was to spend the rest of the day in the Rastro, one of the oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods of Madrid, centered around the metro stations of La Latina and Puerta de Toledo. Here is Calle Calatrava:

Alternate 14
One of the many churches in the neighbourhood is called Nuestra Señora Paloma:

Alternate 15
A garden along Calle San Francisco, with a panoramic view of the city:

Alternate 16
A rare sight in modern Spanish cities–a plaque commemorates the fact that in 1961, the dictator Franco visited this place for a naming ceremony. The street is called Avenida de los Reyes Catolicos (the Catholic Kings who completed the Reconquista in the 15th century). The plaque underlines the close relationship that existed between the Franco regime and the Catholic Church:

Alternate 17
A typical neighbourhood bar:

Alternate 18
Balcony with laundry and flag:

Alternate 19
We finished the trip with lunch at this restaurant:

Alternate 20
Then back to our car for the drive home to Alicante. Before descending into the underground car park, I took a last image of the grand architecture on Plaza de Cibeles:

1 Comment »

  1. For me, the reflections in the glass make alt 14 the clear winner this week. Thanks for showing us around Madrid.

    Comment by Wiliam Wagenaar — 20 October 2008 @ 12:14

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