A couple of hours from Medinaceli and we were in the centre of Spain. Using a campsite at Aranjuez, 43km south of Madrid as our base, we took the train into the city for some culture.
With three of the worlds best art museums to be found in Madrid, we opted for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Museum, a private collection acquired over two generations, which showcases works of the great masters over a 7-century period.
Exhibited over three floors, we were able to admire works by Gauguin, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Rubens, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Picasso, Dali and Freud to name a few and look in detail at each painting. It was an excellent exhibition and is free to the general public on Mondays, thanks to sponsorship by MasterCard. Even if you don't get the chance to visit on a Monday, it is well worth the admission ticket.
From there we wandered around the old town and admired the ornate buildings and old-fashioned shops all beautifully displaying their goods. By this time we were getting a bit peckish and our guidebook gave us a very good suggestion for a local bar renowned for its 'bocadillo calamares'. Le Ideal is a small bar just off the main square where the counter area was so narrow that the half a dozen staff behind it each had to man their one-metre length of it as it was impossible for them to get past one another! We placed our order and in no time our deep-fried squid rolls arrived as did the wine and beer. It was standing room only in there, but that just added to the experience.
With our heads full of exquisite paintings and our stomachs full of squid rolls, we walked back to the train and headed back. A great first day in Madrid.Read more