Monday, July 22, 2013

Around Madrid, then Alone in Madrid

Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero, introduced me to Madrid. Rizal studied at the Universidad Central de Madrid and took up medicine.

Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. Aside from the touristic spots the city offers, it can also serve as a base to nearby cities suitable for daytrips, such as Toledo and Valencia.
Our train from Barcelona arrived at lunch time. We had to navigate the multi-level metro station of Madrid and find our way going to U Hostels in Calle Sagasta. 

Madrid's super underground metro system

Took us another hour to get there. Check-in was still at 3pm and we were famished. We asked for a recommended restaurant, better fuel the body first before exploring Madrid. We grabbed a map to mull over lunch.  Went back to the hostel to check-in first, refill our water bottles then started to conquer Madrid.

The busy streets of Madrid. Not as picturesque as Barcelona though.

Plaza Mayor was easily reachable by foot. Puerto del Sol, a minute away from Plaza Mayor, was very busy, made busy by various “entertainment artists”.

A fake pair of Mickey & Minnie Mouse over there

Levitation artist

 ‘Twas a bit of a gloomy day, I struggled taking photos of the vast square. 

Plaza Mayor

But our main destination is actually a food destination: Mercato di San Miguel. The lady at the hostel suggested that we should take a look at the place.

Mercato di San Miguel...where you commit gluttony.

We had two full meals in the span of four hours. All those tapas made us commit gluttony. 


Art Afficionados will love this. Madrid houses the two highly regarded museums: Museo del Prado and Reina Sofia. We were able to tour both museums for free! The residents must really love art!

Prado Museum

Prado Museum is free from Tuesday to Saturday between 6:00pm to 8:00pm. A limited window to visit, but two hours was enough for a not-so-art-enthusiast tourist like me.

Some famous works that we saw:
    Las Meninas, by Diego Velazquez (we saw the version of Picasso in Barcelona)
    The Third of May, by Francisco Goya
    The Nude Maja and Clothed Maya, also by Goya

Las Meninas photo (c/o Wikipedia)

And a bunch of others I just cannot recall. Taking photos is not allowed inside the museum.

General admission costs €6, not that pricey, if you really want to visit the museum outside the free-visit hours.

This is the free admission line going to Museo del Prado. Don't worry, it moves quite fast.

Reina Sofia Museum
Free admission in Reina Sofia is offered during Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7pm to 9pm, Saturday from 2:30pm to 9am and Sunday all day. Otherwise, the general admission ticket costs €6. 

All these people waiting for some free culture
Picasso’s Guernica is housed in Reina Sofia. We already have a background of this painting from our Picasso museum visit in Barcelona. A huge painting painting will with chaos.
Guernica (c/o Wikipedia).

Lines start even before the free visiting hours. Parang French Baker lang na sale kapag 9pm na, 8:30 pa lang may line na. The lines are long but they move fairly fast, which allows you enough time to go around the museums.

I liked this life-size metronome.

As a tribute to Jose Rizal, we purposely made time and effort to Islas Filipinas metro station and made our way towards his small monument.

Filipinas with a capital F!

Rizal's monument in Madrid

The metro station, in theme with its name, has posters of “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” campaign.

Awesome to see this. Had a proud Pinoy moment.

Madrid’s Royal Palace (Palacio Royale) is another grand structure to behold. The place is open up to 6:00pm only.

Gloomy magnificence
We just looked at the palace from an outside view because it was almost closing time when we got there.

Enjoying the grills view of the palace.

A church will blue facade beside it. I never got the name of this.

I entered the grounds the following day. I was travelling solo this time, so I had to catch a willing tourist to take a photo of me here. 

Ugh. The shopping bag.

The red shopping bag is the worse photobummer than the person back there

Marj and I split our ways after three days in Madrid. She was flying to Norway to see her mom, while I stayed in Madrid. I will be exploring Granda, Seville and Lisbon, Portugal on my own. ‘Twas awesomely fun having a travel buddy for Europe II! I ate better this time. However, an introvert like me needs some alone time, so I also looked forward to travelling solo.  


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