Madrid is a city I wanted to visit before the pandemic. Was a journey that took me by surprise – with a mix of Brussels friendship, Flamenco, Passeo de Prado Art Walk, coffee and tapas in Mercados, sunsets, Spanish history and busy streets, as a preview of the days to come.
The sky and sunset are admired from many viewpoints or “Mirador” and rooftops, as I went to Madrid the next day the clocks changed to winter time in Germany, hoping for more light and sunshine. Spend most of the time eating or visiting historic markets in the city.
Buenos días from Madrid
In the first afternoon, my first walking tour included main squares – Plaza Mayor in the heart of city is the main historic market, but all the roads literally lead to kilometer 0 to busy Plaza del Sol. Before I continued, Bocadillo de calamares is a typical street food from Madrid – a simple baguette and fried squid. I had mine from Bar La Campana, near Plaza Mayor.
Plaza de Oriente is the location of Madrid’s Royal Palace, a short walk from Teatro Real (Opera). From here to Plaza Romales, fantastic view at sunset can be seen over the city, the Almudena Cathedral and Park Campo del Moro.
“The Sun Also Rises”
Next, Plaza Puerta Cerrada and the famous motto of Madrid can be read on the walls – “Over water my walls of fire are built.” Calle Cava Baja with many tapas places start here, very busy even on a November Monday evening.
Is in Madrid only that you get the essence. (…) But when you can have the Prado at the same time as El Escorial two hours to the north and Toledo to the south, a fine road to Avila and a fine road to Segovia, which is no distance from La Granja, it makes you feel very badly, all question of immortality aside, to know that you will have to die and never see it again.’wrote Ernest Hemingway about Madrid
Inspired by Hemingway, next days I have a tour in historic La Latina, little street Calle Echegaray, to busy Gran Via boulevard, with coffee and more tapas at Mercado San Antón in hip neighborhoods Malasaña and Chueca.
Last on the historical center tour is Plaza Santa Ana, in Barrio de las Lettras, or Literary Quarter, once the home of Miguel Cervantes. And I heard in this square even locals prefer the restaurants, not just tourists.
Paseo del Prado
The Golden Triangle of Art, with three Art museums to be visited: Museo del Prado, the Reina Sofía Museum, and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, for works of Goya, El Greco, Velásquez, Dali, ‘Guernica’ by Picasso and more Spanish artists.
The museums are near El Retiro Park, with its Palacio de Cristal, but also Puerta de Alcala and a symbol of the city, Cibeles Palace, known also as Palace of Telecommunications. The Cibeles building can be visited for free and the ticket to the terrace costs 3 euros.
From El Retiro Park, I continued to très chic Salamanca district, with the mission to try a famous Spanish dish at a traditional market.
But more about Spanish food and flamenco for dinner tomorrow.