November 24, 2018
We didn’t have any rain while we were in Spain, but even if we had gotten wet, I would still have enjoyed the adventure.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Figure out why you want to travel. I want to see the world mainly on my own terms, to engage with some of the interesting folks that are out there, and to take the best photographs I can of people, nature, the sights, and even the shadows. It’s that simple for me. I can travel pretty much anywhere and be happy but engaging yourself with others is what it’s all about wherever you are.
The red dots on the map represent the main points my wife and I visited in October.
Day 1 and Day 2 : Madrid
This is the splendid center (culturally and geographically) of the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, if you walk along the Calle Gran Via you’ll find tourists photographing themselves as they stand upon a bronze marker of the center. This city is very walkable, offers great weather this time of year, and you can be sure to eat and drink well.
The Royal Palace is larger than life (pictured below) so expect long lines most days to get inside, although tour groups might be able to arrange preferred/expedited entry.
Other popular tourist activities will take you through the Gran Via, the Opera district, the Plaza de Colon (yes, Columbus is still a big thing here !) and past the Puerto del Sol Plaza and Plaza de España (a main square in the city). Neither the Plaza de Colon, nor the Plaza de España should be confused with similarly named sites that you’ll find in Barcelona.
I do recommend you visit the Prado Museum. Just be aware you’ll have to check your backpack and carry any valuables and cameras with you, but it’s well worth any incovenience as you’ll get to see some of the works of El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya.
If you’re not into art museums, you can try and get over to Retiro Park before the sun goes down. Madrileños make great use of this beautiful green space as you’ll see families with babies in strollers, dog lovers walking their pets, and exercise enthusiasts winding their way through the curves, fountains, trails, and walkways of this aesthetically pleasing greenway. Once you finish your own paseo there, you can make your way across the boulevard the Calle de Alfonso XII to enjoy the quaint nightlife as the locals enjoy an apéritif or two and people-watch.
For the uninitiated, Spaniards eat late, so if you get hungry before 8 or 9 PM, then its best to spend time at a tapas bar where you can try a vast assortment of tapas and maybe some wine before dinner time arrives.
This is Madrid in a nutshell. Next installment, we’ll hit beautiful Toledo with a small dash of Cordoba. Ciao.