We decided to take a trip to Madrid as you can’t spend time in Spain without going to the capital. I’d been here twice before, for work, so hadn’t seen much of the city. We had planned to drive but after further consideration decided on the train as parking is expensive. So we let the train take the strain. It was quite a long journey but that was mainly because the train didn’t go very fast for the first part of the journey. We had left behind weather in Cartagena of about 15 degrees which is not to be sniffed at in February. Madrid was another story. We went through snow on the way and it was bitterly cold in Madrid. I’m not after any sympathy, I know I’m not going to get any, with the cold weather you’ve had in the UK.
We had managed to find an apartment right in the centre of Madrid, just off from the Puerta del Sol so the sights were all easily accessible. The square contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the “Twelve Grapes” and the beginning of a new year, not the easiest thing to do, we tried it when we were in Barcelona one new year.
Paseo del Arte is the art district in Madrid which consists of a number of museums, the one I think most people go to is the Prada Museum, so we decided on the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. We spent a lovely warm day wandering around the museum which has paintings from Dürer, Rafael, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Kandinsky, Picasso, Hopper, Rothko. These are just some of the impressive list of names that make up the collection. Once a private collection it now belongs to the people of Spain since the Spanish Government bought it.
We always think a good way to get an overview of a city is to hop on a sightseeing bus. We had no choice but to sit up top in the open air as downstairs was rammed as it was so cold. It was freezing. We hopped off the bus at the Royal Palace to find that it was closed due to an official function. So we only got to see the outside which was a shame.
We also paid a visit to the Museo Cerralbo which is a 19th century mansion house which preserves its original décor, giving an insight into Spanish high society.
One thing that was very noticeable was the large police presence around Madrid although there wasn’t a policeman in sight when someone slipped my purse out of my bag, thankfully I felt someone touch the back of me so I caught them with it in their hand making out I’d dropped it, amazingly (not) my money had all disappeared but at least I got my purse back with my cards. The other thing that is odd is that even when it’s cold, just a few degrees above freezing, people still sat outside restaurants having a coffee and eating. Mad or what!! If I’m sitting outside I want warmth.
Madrid is definitely worth a visit but I’d suggest you go when it’s warmer. It was lovely getting off the train in Cartagena to warm sunshine.