Our last day in Madrid Pt 1November 11 in Spain
Our plan is to leave Madrid by AVE tomorrow and go to Barcelona. Well, that requires train tickets, and the on-line booking option was not a good one for us, for a variety of reasons. No access to a printer, language, and not having an Apple or Android phone. So, off we went to Atocha railway station, which was only a short walk from our hotel.
Atocha is a big station, but we soon found an information desk. The response was underwhelming - a shrug and pointed in the direction of the ticket office. There we met with even worse. No English at all, and no offer of help, while one of them was doing a Find-a-Word. Fortunately a young couple with Spanish were also able to speak English and they had a dismal response too, but at least they were told to go to another area. We followed them and we ended up in the AVE ticket and information area where it was not quite bedlam, but very disorganised. Due to some troubles AVE tickets were not able to be booked at a booth, and certain lines HAD to be booked at certain ticket offices. Even Spanish speaking people were having problems!
Nevertheless we ended up with a very helpful lady who was able to help us register for a Seniors Card and then book us tickets for tomorrow. The 40% saving off the ticket price was much, much more than the price of the Seniors Card, so we did well there.
We backtracked and started following the Red Bus route as per yesterday. One of our goals was to go up to the top of the Branco de España building at Calla Alcala. It was 4 Euro to take the lift up, or for another Euro you could go to the current exhibition. We had no idea what the exhibition was but why not? The view from the rooftop was great, and gave us good photo opportunities of several icons that were difficult to film from street level. The coffee though was way overpriced.
Nearly very day we come across a gem, and today it was the exhibition. It was all about record covers (remember them?) and concert posters, starting around 1963. All the big bands from that era, and the individuals such as Joni Mitchell were there, with a strong contingent from Europe too. It was a stroll down memory lane in so many ways.
One of my goals was to see the Templo De Debod, a reconstructed Egyptian temple from what is now the Aswan Dam. Before the dam flooded important historical monuments they were dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere (I am a bit hazy about the details) and because Spain helped they were given a temple. Just awesome to look at something in the middle of a park in Madrid that was built in Egypt over two thousand years ago. Unfortunately it was closed to the public but we still admired it.
A long stroll down to the Cathedral was next. This amazing structure is the result of both religious and secular funding, and was only consecrated in June 1993 by Pope John Paul II. It had been started well over a century ago, and the history of the statue associated with it, Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, is extraordinary. Well worth a visit, even if they don’t have real candles to light.
By this time it was getting late so we went back to our hotel, showered and changed, and headed out for dinner. Not far from Puerta Del Sol we turned down a side street and stumbled upon a tapas bar that just appealed to us. We sat outside and had a lovely dinner. People are the most important thing when travelling, in our opinion, and we struck up a conversation with a young couple from Panama who had a friend currently living in Australia. A photo of a kangaroo was pulled up on her phone, and we had a great chat about travel.
Earlier in the day we had found food market, Mercado De San Miguel and after dinner we headed there again. That warranted a second posting for the day!Read more