MadridNovember 29, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C
We travelled up to this site near Madrid so we could have a look at the Capital City over a couple of days.
We travelled into the city by bus which was very quick and efficient, arriving at an underground terminus very near to the Palace. The Palace is immense - it has over 3000 rooms - and is modelled on Versailles as it was built by a French Bourbon prince - Philip - who was invited to rule Spain when the doollally Hapsburg line failed to produce a sane or living heir. We know this because we took a walking history tour starting at the Plaza Mayor which is a central square very much like the one we saw in Cordoba. Our guide - Lexi - very obviously liked her adopted city and clearly had a good grasp of Spanish History.
The walk lasted three hours - we did not cover much ground physically because the stops were frequent and at each stop Lexi launched into an impassioned speech relating to the particular aspect that was of interest. Subjects included food, religion, flamenco, royals, the moors, visigoths and Christians amongst others.
Lexi knew her stuff- she packed in a lot in the three hours - she managed this because she spoke at a million miles an hour. We were probably the only couple in the group who had English as a first language so much of what was said was missed by the other members of the tour - there were a number of eyes glazing over at various times.
For us, however, the tour was most informative and well worth doing. Lexi clearly loves Madrid and is passionate about supporting the city and its folk, in the1930s she would have been manning the barricades. One highlight - was when she promised to "Punch the lights out of anyone of our group whom she found eating or drinking in the over priced and non representative bars and eateries in the Plaza Mayor." that would not be supporting the true city folk - a slightly unconventional approach to tour guiding but it proves the rule - you can take the girl out of Manchester but not the Manc out of the girl,
We had no fear of this retribution because we had already determined that authentic Madrid food could be found in the street called Cava Baja, which is where we went afterwards to enjoy some tostas in Casa Tempranillo.
The following day we returned to the city to take it in in our own stride. The Christmas Market opened in Plaza Mayor selling tat as fast as you like and the local travelling community had obviously stripped some cork bark trees for bases to Christmas table decorations.
The central shopping streets were rammed with people gearing up for the oncoming festivities.
We took lunch once again on Cava Baja at a small restaurant/bar called Casa la Concha, which was excellent, before walking to and around the Parque de le Retiro.
There was an interesting sculpture exhibition within the Crystal Palace and something called art within the Palacio de Velazquez. It was wasted on us.
Having walked miles around this beautiful city we returned to our campsite, putting the heating on as high as we could in the van. It has turned colder, and we are now wearing the few winter clothes we brought with us.Read more