Spain
Atocha

Here you’ll find travel reports about Atocha. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

18 travelers at this place:

  • Day2

    Spaanse trein

    June 27 in Spain

    Lieve Timo had al tickets voor ons geregeld, omdat je deze van te voren moet reserveren. Nu nog uitvogelen waar we heen moeten. De borden werken niet op het moment, maar gelukkig zijn erg genoeg vriendelijke Spanjaarden om ons de goede kant op te wijzen :)

  • Day7

    When I looked out the window this morning, there was a lot of snow out there.....20 cm to be exact. After breakfast I spoke to the front desk clerk and learned that no buses or taxis were running. She said this was not normal as they occasionally get only 2-3 cm of snow. We decided to store our luggage and headed out once again to see another highlight of Segovia, the Alcazar, a Middle Ages fortified palace which is now a museum. It is one of 3 European castles that the Disney World castle is modelled after. It was a 20 minute walk only to find that it was closed. Very few people were out and definitely no cars as they were buried in snow. It appeared that no one owned a shovel as they were using a piece of wood, a dust pan, or broom to clear the snow.

    We returned to the hotel wet and cold at 2 pm and found out that the buses were running but no taxis. Since we had a non-refundable apartment reservation in Madrid we decided to make our way to the bus stop 1.8 km away. Tire tracks through the snow looked like it might be doable, but they were too narrow to be of any help. It was a real struggle for both of us. When we finally got to the airport by bus I discovered that all trains were sold out for the day! No!!! Travellers who couldn’t get to the station for the earlier trains had rebooked for the later ones. I had checked online in the morning and could have bought tickets but at that time we weren’t sure if we would be able to get to the train station. For the next 3 hours we sat in an unheated train station and I kept checking the train website to see if any tickets would come available. And they eventually did so we were happy. But awhile later I realized that our tickets weren’t jiving with the posted schedules. I spoke to an employee who informed me that our train left from the old train station in the centre of town! No!!! A well-dressed man overheard our conversation and approached me with an offer to join him on his train. I was puzzled until he revealed his identity....”Supervisor”.

    I thought our luck had changed but because of the snow our train was delayed nearly 2 hours. With wet feet, no heating, and an outdoor temperature of -3, I felt I was getting hypothermia as I couldn’t stop shivering. When we finally boarded the train there were no seats available so the Supervisor told us we could stand at the back. Thankfully it was a high speed train that only took 27 minutes and it was warm! I yelled “Muchas Gracias” to the Supervisor and he reassured me this was not normal and we had to return again to Segovia. A pretty city, but not likely to make a return visit in winter. I took a wrong turn coming out of the railway station in Madrid so our 10 minute walk to the apartment was more like 30 minutes at John’s pace. We made it “home” at 11 pm.

    Travel days are a bitch!
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  • Day9

    Madrid is a huge city with a population of 3 million (6 million in greater Madrid). It is very busy and doesn’t seem to have the same vibrancy as Barcelona. We have a one bedroom apartment in a working class neighbourhood on the fringe of the central area. The weather was a cool 6 degrees but sunny when we slowly made our way to Buen Retiro Park, a 600 acre green space in the core of the city. In the centre of the park is the Palacio de Cristal built in 1887 of glass and iron. It was intended as a greenhouse but is used for contemporary art exhibits. On the floor of the Palace the artist engraved in stone the names of all those who have drowned in the Mediterranean and Atlantic over the last 20 years in an attempt for a better life with greater freedoms. We had to wear booties over our shoes to protect the artwork. Using a complex hydraulic water system, drops of water form the names temporarily and intermittently. It was very creative but we didn’t understand it fully until I researched it afterwards.

    From the park we walked to a tapas restaurant and had a much needed break. The tapas and wine were excellent. Wine is the same price as Coke, tea, or coffee and slightly more than bottled water. So naturally I’ve been enjoying several Spanish wines that would be very expensive at home. Our next stop was the Prado Museum that has the greatest collection of paintings by the European masters, over 3000 canvases. The building was enormous and we only saw a very small portion of it, narrowing in on the more famous Spanish painters that we had read about....Goya and Velazquez. Admission was free for the last two hours before closing and that was enough time for us. Madrid has several famous museums but we only made it to this one.

    It was a long, slow walk back to the apartment. Overall we did nearly 15,000 steps or 10 km. John thought I was trying to kill him. He hates taking pills but eagerly took the Tylenol that I offered him. We stopped at a supermarket on the way home and made use of the well stocked kitchen in our apartment that evening. We bought a convenient package of fresh root vegetables that made a hearty stew. The lentils were from Canada. For about $7 we had two meals. Eating out every day is certainly a budget-killer!
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  • Day10

    I decided to give the old guy a break and planned our day using the Metro. Our destination....the Royal Palace in central Madrid, considered one of the top three in Europe. It was built in 1683 and has been expanded by each king trying to outdo his predecessor. It now has 2300 opulent rooms but the current royal family live in a mansion a few miles away and only use the palace for state receptions and royal weddings. No photos were allowed beyond the grand staircase. It certainly made me feel like a commoner.

    When we left the palace it started to rain so we stopped at a restaurant for a light lunch. We ordered one vegetarian paella to share and got two. John ordered a “cold beer” and of course was served the most costly one on the menu. I hate that we are being targeted as tourists almost on a daily basis and we just have to be more savvy when we place our order. On our way to the Metro we passed by a panaderia that was calling our names and we couldn’t resist the sweet treats. We also walked through a market that had the best selection of olives (Spain is the world’s largest producer of olives and olive oil).

    We managed to survive Spain’s two biggest cities without getting pickpocketed, but I will continue to be hyper-alert as this is a major problem throughout Europe but Spain in particular.

    We ended our day doing something necessary but not too exciting....laundry! It’s always a challenge to figure out how to use European appliances as the washer and dryer are all in one unit so there are a lot of settings and it can take two hours or more to do one load.
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  • Day31

    Madrid - more art, streets

    August 31, 2015 in Spain

    Briefly visited another art museum. Interesting building with glass elevators on the outside. Took a photo of a Picasso before the attendant told me off (there were no photo-prohibiting signs around there, I swear!).

    Interesting thing here: almost all the streets are "Street of (person or thing)". This was the corner of Jesus and Saint Mary streets. My hostel was near Street of the Studies/Studios.Read more

  • Day9

    Atoche Train station Madrid

    July 2, 2017 in Spain

    I missed my train by 3 minutes. Had to buy another ticket ...and wait 2 hours for the next departure. Oh well. Gonna look around at the shops here (and maybe get another coffee).
    Okay, so, I'm sitting at the station, just minutes before boarding, and I hear a really loud thud. A man starts screaming "Puta madre" over and over again, throwing his duffle bag. I look up and see that his train to Barcelona was leaving without him. Damn, I feel bad for him. It's the last departure for the night. Puta madre is right! I'm so glad I learned a very valuable lesson about the train/travel system here before MY trip to Barcelona!Read more

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Atocha

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