Monday, March 04, 2024

Short Trip to Madrid

Last week Roma and I travelled to Madrid in Spain for a few days. Neither of us had ever been to this city before, even though we have been to Spain many times. We spent four nights, which was just about right, close to the city centre. Lots of walking, art, wine, and tapas just about sums up our trip.

The Royal Palace was our first stop. It is one of the biggest in Europe and only a fraction of it is on view to the public. We don't have anything like this in Ireland. While it is a magnificent building, it shows off the riches of the Spanish Royalty. It is richly decorated and must have cost millions to build. No doubt there were many people at the time that thought the money could have been used to build something else, like hospitals or schools. Nevertheless it is worth a visit - at this this time of year the queue to get in was very short.

The Royal Palace.

We went to The Prado museum where there are loads of paintings by famous people such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, and Goya. The painting we most wanted to see was The Third of May 1808 by Goya, but there were lots of other brilliant pieces of work to be seen. One thing about touring the Prado is that the audio guide is very user unfriendly.

We also went to the Queen Sofia Museum of modern art. Here the most famous painting is Guernica by Picasso.  I had no idea it was so big, and thanks to the (better than Prado) audio guide I got a great explanation of what the painting was about and how it was put together. I just stood and stared in awe at magnificence. 

Guernica by Picasso.

An interesting museum for me was Legends of Football. It was mostly about Spanish and world football. There's a virtual tour of the major football grounds in the world, but the best parts were seeing jerseys worn by famous football stars. Maradona's jersey from the 1986 World Cup final was there, as were jerseys worn by George Best, Cristiano Ronaldo, Johann Cruyff, and our own Ray Houghton (from the 1-1 draw with The Netherlands in the 1990 World Cup). I had a great chat with the museum manager who gave me a personal tour around part of the museum. I don't think I have ever met anyone as passionate about football as him!

I paid €16 for this. Eejit!

But the best thing about Madrid is the food and wine. We had done a Walking Tour on our first evening and been to fantastic tapas bars like La Casa del Abuelo, which we went back to on our last night. Tapas is an exciting and delicious way to see a city - I feel as though I ate and drank my way around the narrow streets of central Madrid. I even developed a taste for vermouth in the Antón Martín Market (which was just across the road from our hotel)!

Enjoying tapas at the wonderful La Casa del Abuelo.

Madrid is definitely a city worth visiting. Everyone was so friendly and it is a very clean city centre. The metro is fantastic and easy to use, and there is so little traffic on the streets. Madrid does not have an Eiffel Tour, Colosseum, or Statue of Liberty, but it does have loads of character and culture to satisfy any visitor.

I'm mindful that this is my first post in over two months. Since I started this blog I have not let this happen before. January and February have been quiet months this year for me, and I have not had much to blog about. 

No comments:

Post a Comment