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  • Day3

    Apparently the biggest in Europe.

    September 19, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Palacio Real De Madrid
    Apparently was built and then the king decided it wasnt big enough so had it made bigger.
    Truly enormous.
    Be prepared to queue and be heckled to buy water, tours and fans...
    Definitely the biggest I have even seen!
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  • Day11

    Hot Sunday, and last day in Madrid

    September 2, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Again we had a reasonable sleep, woke and the morning at 8.30am it is almost a pleasant temperature....but we still feel a bit fuzzy in the head during the day, so annoying...I think tomorrow it will be over. The intense heat doesn’t help of course, but we dealt with that quite well today. We met Omnia at 9.45 and went to the Thyssen museum, which is also nearby. We had visited it last time in Madrid, really good..large building, but easy to find your way - the numbers of the rooms actually follow on, and a huge range of art - from madonnas and bambini to modern, and good examples. The also was a special exhibition of Monet and Boudin. Excellent, and as always with special exhibits you see works from all over the world that you have never seen, and would never have seen. Have to confess that I don’t remember hearing of or seeing the works of Eugene Boudin, but he was 15 years older than Monet and a sort of mentor...they influenced each other, but he largely got Monet going...the comparison was very interesting. So all that kept us cool for the morning. Around 12 we went to the cafe and had a light lunch and then Omnia had to hop on the airport bus which stopped nearby to catch a plane back to the UK. So after saying our goodbyes we continued on in the cool and explored the floors we had not yet seen.

    Finally, around 3 pm we ventured out and had a beer at a basque cafe we had noticed in the same plaza where we had dinner last night. It was a trial run for tonight and we liked what we saw and indeed did come back there for dinner today. But first we walked back and had a short break in the a/c and wifi of our room. While there we booked online tickets to visit the Royal much better than standing in the heat in a queue - Omnia had recommended this and it worked. We sailed past the queue - not a long line, but even 10 minutes in the heat would be unpleasant- and had the tickets zapped on my phone! The palace is quite near our hotel, just behind the opera where we are.

    So it was a good visit, with all the splendour of Royal palaces, and the armour, glassware and porcelain, sumptuous rooms, gala banquet table set for 50....lots of fun. Couldn’t take photos in the special rooms. We called into the cathedral that is beside the palace and which was open...I’ll have to read up about it, but it is quite modern and light in comparison with the cathedrals we know are coming on the Camino. Lovely but modern looking stained glass, though enormously tall column and arches.

    Then we went straight back to our chosen place to eat and drink - Golfo de Bizkaia. Drank copious fizzy water and wind and the best favourite baby squid grilled being my highlight. Too tired to add more detail. I think it is cooling a little tomorrow and anyway I think Pamplona is a little cooler than here. The max today was about 35° supposedly which is high, but not super high, but sure feels hot when you are out in it.

    Tomorrow we pack up and get the train at 11.30, arrive Pamplona about 2.30...a new adventure and the beginning of the Camino! A day to see Pamplona and we walk on Wednesday!
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  • Day66

    Return to Madrid

    October 27, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Yesterday we took the train back to Madrid from Salamanca, through more very flat plains...and here we are back at our little hostal. All very familiar. Not a lot to say, and I actually forgot to write yesterday, but will do a little catch-up thing was that before Amr had noticed a restaurant called Rosi la Loca (Rosi the crazy woman) which had attracted his attention - not mine, as it had a decor of colourful birds and flowers and didn’t look my style! Anyway, we went to see for lunch yesterday and it is amazing!! Taste, flair...we have booked for Monday dinner, our last night. Will elaborate more, but soon off to Segovia for the day...looking forward to this as never been there. And tomorrow we plan to go to Toledo. Details later.Read more

  • Day10

    A Lovely (hot) Madrid Day

    September 1, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We both had quite a reasonable sleep last night...I took a pill as by actual bedtime I felt quite perky (as you do with a 9 hour time change) and Amr had a phenergan as he is still coughing and it seems to help, and also induces sleepiness. So we set off, had our favourite breakfast - me a fresh OJ, pastry and coffee, he the OJ, coffee and churros. We go to a nearby special churros cafe, where you see them being made freshly, and they are so fresh they are too hot to eat at first....yum for Amr, I just have a nibble!

    I was too spaced last night to comment on the ambience of Madrid. We haven’t been here before quite as into summer (though it is September 1 today, and I hope it settles into autumn soon!)...and it is HOT. The app said it would reach 35° today, and it probably did. It was 33° when we were having dinner around 8.30pm! But it is dry heat, and almost bearable in the shade, if you are not exerting yourself! But apart from the heat, there is still a summer vibe - people relaxed everywhere, not looking dressed to kill, just having fun. Today is Saturday, so probably even more relaxed. Anyway, it is a Madrid we haven’t seen before. And it also is lovely to feel familiar with the central maze of streets...the buildings are so beautiful...only rarely is there a 50s monstrosity!

    Anyway we met Omnia at 10 having breakfasted, and solved the heat by going to the Prado. (Actually in the morning the temperature is quite moderate, only hot by mid to late afternoon)....So we had a lovely time there, finding the works of Goya, Velasquez, El Greco and all the wonderful things....they said Caravaggio but we found only one small one...likewise Rembrandt!!! But who can complain about the Prado!!

    After that we had a little break, and regrouped at 4.30 and Amr introduced Omnia to his churroseria as she hadn’t experienced them - another pleasant air-conditioned break. Then we had a wander, in the heat but keeping in the shade as much as possible, down the Gran Via, to the Jardines de Sabatini and past the Royal Palace where we may (Amr and I) go tomorrow afternoon for a visit inside. Omnia leaves about midday to get a plane back home, and she has already “done” the Palace.

    By this time it was almost ok for dinner time! Restaurants don’t serve dinner before 8 pm, but tapas is all was about 7.30 and we knew a place in Plaza Angel (diagonally adjacent to Plaza Santa Ana) where we wanted to go. Omnia said she didn’t want to come to Spain and not have paella, and we knew it was on their list. It was a perfect place, and a perfect time. We could people watch the constant parade, but not excessively crowded, the sun was finally thinking of setting (Spain is on main European time, but should really geographically be with the UK...consequently the sun rises later and sets later here). So we sat and drank lots trying to rehydrate, and had our favourite tapas of pimientos padron, baby squid a la plancha, and calamari, while waiting for the seafood paella....yum...

    Now back in our room, and hoping our bodies know it is nighttime! (I may take half a pill to make sure!).
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  • Day66

    Cold and Wet in Segovia

    October 27, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 8 °C

    Despite the cold and wet (we can hardly complain after our run of almost perfect weather) we really enjoyed our day trip to Segovia. The temperature remained in single figures, and it was showery, so not ideal conditions, but the buildings in this town are very worth a visit, not to mention the enormous Roman aqueduct, which was used to supply fresh water till just recently.

    We got the fast train - takes only half an hour from Madrid - which deposits you in the countryside quite a long way from the town, but fortunately there are buses waiting to transport the daily tourists. Then, with a map from the tourist office right near where the bus drops us off, we could walk through the narrow streets, visit the cathedral and any churches that are open, walk to the alcazar, and admire the huge aqueduct that towers over the side of the town. Again, a massive cathedral, said to be the last Gothic one build in Spain, and a very fine example. And the Alcázar is amazing...apparently influenced the Disney castles, as it looks quite fairytale-like. Very influenced by moorish architecture. Had a good walk in there, but it was cold so didn’t linger in the gardens as we would have.

    While at the station we bought tickets to go to Toledo tomorrow, and the forecast is still for cold, but not wet, so an improvement! This is a country of contrasting temperature and weathers...can’t believe how hot we were only recently! So soon off to find something to eat - think we’ll have Spanish tonight!
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  • Day67

    Fine and cold in Toledo

    October 28, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Today was wonderful. It has fined up, and was mostly sunny with a few clouds, but still cold...single figures all day again...we wore many layers. So we got the train to Toledo, again half an hour, but easier than Segovia as it departed from Atocha, relatively near us, and arrived close to the town. We did get a bus to go up when we arrived, but walked back in the afternoon.

    Anyway, it is a lovely town...full of narrow streets, old buildings, with distinct moorish influence, and being a hill town there are wonderful views over the outside countryside. Having found that the cathedral, being Sunday, wouldn’t open till 2.30, we first found the El Greco house and museum...this was fabulous, paintings of his, and some others, all in a house - not actually his, but near where he lived, and in the style and setting the scene. Then we did get to the cathedral - quite a business, as you had to queue for ages to buy tickets - quite expensive, and included audio but Amr had to give in his license as deposit...after all this we thought it better be good - as we have seen so many amazing cathedrals this trip...however, it WAS excellent...huge of course, amazing carving and El Greco paintings, cloisters...another highlight of the day was visiting the monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes many beautiful buildings and monuments. The Alcázar on the other hand was a fine big building, but not one to has government offices etc and not a visit place.

    So altogether a great day, well worth the visit. Then we were back in time to draw breath and go to dinner at the sister restaurant of Rosi La Loca called Inclan...just excellent food. Small share dishes, very varied and amazing tastes. Sooo good.
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  • Day4

    3. Tag in Madrid - Es wird königlich

    September 18, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Nach diesem super unterhaltsamen und informativem Standrundgang landete ich an einem der beeindruckendsten Orte in Madrid - der „Almudena-Kathedrale“ mit angrenzendem Palast der spanischen Königsfamilie.

    Die Kathedrale war einfach nur wow...ich habe schon viele Kirchen in aller Welt besucht, aber diese liegt für mich wirklich an der Spitze. Sie hat eine tolle helle und freundliche Ausstrahlung und fällt durch ihre Mischung aus verschiedenen Stilen und Zeitepochen aus dem Rahmen. Sie vereint mittelalterliche und orientalische Elemente und alte klassische Kirchenschätze mit neuen Gemälden und Buntglasfenstern der letzten Jahrzehnte absolut sehenswert!

    Ab 18:00 ist der königliche Palast kostenlos zu besichtigen, wenn man die Warteschlange in Kauf nimmt und die Sicherheitskontrollen wie am Flughafen...

    Der Palast hat unglaubliche über 2000 Räume und ist damit doppelt so groß wie Schloss Windsor und Versailles 😱. Mir haben auf jeden Fall die Füße weh getan 😂. Man sieht den Thronsaal, die Kronjuwelen und jede Menge Prunkräume, die alles überboten haben, dass ich bisher in anderen Schlössern besichtigen konnte. Ok Spanien, ihr habt den Royal Contest gewonnen über das protzigste Anwesen 🤣.
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  • Day9

    Now in Madrid

    August 31, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 30 °C

    We had a good journey, even though it took just over 24 hours to get from La Jolla to our hotel in Madrid. It’s 9 pm Friday here, and we are about to go to bed soon, but we’ve done very well I think. The flights were excellent, as economy flights go - I really like Lufthansa- and we slept for about 5 hours which was quite good. Managed to navigate to our new gate in Frankfurt airport, and arrived in Madrid about 3.45, then negotiated the Metro from the airport to our hotel. We stayed here last time, very nice, very central, air conditioning works - all good.

    We met Omnia who is here for the weekend at about 6.30 and we set off for a walk and to find first an orange juice place (somehow they taste extra amazing here!) and then we wandered to the Plaza Mayor and had a drink and 3 tapas, or raciones....delicious, and all we needed. With our weird time change we had a late breakfast, and a late lunch. On the 2 hour flight from Frankfurt to Madrid Lufthansa served a meal, alcohol...and that’s just an intra Europe journey! So we walked Omnia back to her hotel, just beyond Santa Ana, along the beautiful narrow streets, with their beautiful buildings. Had our first little taste of the city, and will try and jump into this time zone tonight. Buenas noches.
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  • Day1

    En el Palacio Real

    February 8, 2016 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Por fin llegamos. Medio cansados de tanto caminar aeropuertos, pero con ganas de conocerlo por dentro.

    Para Mati esto fue lo segundo mejor del día, obvio después de la compra del iPad Mini. 

    Sacamos unas cuántas fotos antes que se dieran cuenta los guardias. Un montón de armaduras, espadas y escudos, la mayoría de los Reyes de España de los siglos XV y XVI
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  • Day2

    Highlights aus Madrid

    December 28, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    In den zwei Tagen Madrid haben wir uns ein bisschen in der Innenstadt umgeschaut. Wir haven unter anderem den Königspalast und die Kathedrale besucht. Unten ein paar Eindrücke aus der Stadt.

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