The next stage of our European holiday...
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  • Day3

    Buen Retiro Park

    January 6, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

    We visited this park on a Spanish National holiday and so people were everywhere.
    The park features a large lake close to its centre that people row on and around the lake are various entertainers that busk.
    Interestingly in the park were a couple of “blue gums” that are common to Australia and we wondered how they came to be planted in Spain.
    The weather has been fantastic since arriving from England allowing us to do lots of walking. We both have averaged about 16k steps a day!
    We had a tapas lunch opposite the park and whilst the food was quite good our waiter was a sullen sort of guy who didn’t care much for customers it seemed.
    Madrid is characterized by lots of large roundabouts with hotels and cafes surrounding the area as well as having some big historical monuments in the center which again is quite characteristic of many European cities.
    Had some fun with one of the statue buskers who let me call him by phone...
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  • Day2

    Tour around Madrid

    January 5, 2020 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

    Today we took a tourist bus tour around Madrid to see some of the more interesting areas of the city.
    It was a double decker bus with an open roof and stopped at all the significant places.
    It is hard to understand just how fanatical the Spanish are about their soccer team Real Madrid but when you visit the stadium you get an idea. It can seat 80k spectators an the TV rights run into the billions.
    There are also many varied sculptures around the city which is common in most large cities of the world however Madrid is on the dirty side with lots of cigarette butts on the pavement and it’s share of homelessness as well.

    We discovered a great little cafe called Scarlett who did great coffee in a similar style to Melbourne which was a god send.
    The tapas cafes around the city are great to eat at with each offering subtle variations of menus.
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  • Day2

    Royal Palace Madrid

    January 5, 2020 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

    The Royal Palace of Madrid (Spanish: Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish royal family at the city of Madrid, although now only used for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 square metres (1,450,000 sq ft) of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms.
    It is the largest functioning royal palace and the largest by floor area in Europe which is saying something because we have seen some amazing palaces across Europe and that is no mean feat being the biggest by floor area.

    King Felipe VI and the royal family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the significantly more modest Palace of Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.

    The palace is owned by the Spanish state and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency. The palace is located on Calle de Bailén ("Bailén Street") in the western part of downtown Madrid, east of the Manzanares River, and is accessible from the Ópera metro station. Several rooms in the palace are regularly open to the public except during state functions. An admission fee of €13 is required, however some days it is free.
    We were also able to watch a sunset from a park that overlooks the palace which is a renown place to view sunsets in Madrid.
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  • Day2

    Plaza Mayor

    January 5, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    The Plaza Mayor is for the people of Madrid and tourists to shop, walk around, eat, and enjoy the outdoors. Had some really tasty tapas here which comprised of very delicately fried whitebait and some tasty asparagus spears topped with jamon (cured ham) delicious. Also enjoying the different types of Sangrias that are available. It seems that each tapas bar has a different recipe for the drink. The common denominator is that they have all been delicious :).

    The Plaza Mayor (English: Main Square) is a major public space in the heart of Madrid, the capital of Spain. It was once the centre of Old Madrid.
    It was first built (1580–1619) during the reign of Philip III. Only a few blocks away is another famous plaza, the Puerta del Sol.
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  • Day2

    Madrid Local Market

    January 5, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 2 °C

    We visited a market in Madrid which was similar to what you might see elsewhere around the world...musicians, clothing, leather and souvenirs.
    Possible the only difference is how far is stretched streets and streets and thousands of people.
    Decided to purchase some t-shirts as gifts and one of them was a Banksy copy which made me wonder what royalties he should receive and whether he is entitled to any as he is a street artist yet it is also his IP.
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  • Day1

    Madrid (cont’d)

    January 4, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Some pictures of the local bird life and the Prado museum which featured an exhibition of Rubens, Van Dyke and Goya.
    Whilst walking down some of the local laneways you begin to get an understanding of the unique architecture of the city.Read more

  • Day1

    Madrid

    January 4, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

    The most common image that you see of Madrid is of a bear standing on its hind legs eating from a tree.
    This is because back in the early days bears once roamed here and ate from these trees which had small strawberry like fruit.

    Madrid is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.3 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (EU), surpassed only by London and Berlin, and its monocentric metropolitan area is the third-largest in the EU, smaller only than those of London and Paris.
    The municipality covers 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi). The Madrid urban agglomeration has the third-largest GDP[14] in the European Union and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. Madrid is home to two world-famous football clubs, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre and the leading economic hub of the Iberian Peninsula and of Southern Europe. It hosts the head offices of the vast majority of major Spanish companies, such as Telefónica, IAG or Repsol. Madrid is also the 10th most liveable city in the world according to Monocle magazine, in its 2017 index.
    The Madrid train station is a unique style of building and houses an indoor garden of palms and other plants.
    Getting around Madrid is not so easy as there are few English signs as directions.
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