Madrid City Tour I
The European metropolis and capital of Spain is a seamless blend of neo and classical from the modern skyscrapers to historical buildings and ancient monuments that date back to middle and modern ages, world class dining to traditional cafes and tapas bars, buzzing nightlife to customary siesta and not to miss the cosmopolitan inhabitants of this lively city.
I was ecstatic to be in the Capital of Land of Castles. Whether you are an art lover, a historian, a sports fanatic, a gourmet traveller and wine lover or someone who fancies dancing the night away this majestic capital has something for everyone.
As we landed and were greeted by bright sun at 9:00 in the night a thought touched me to be ready for experiencing a different fashion of life in this part of the world.
Edificio Carrión at Plaza Del Callao
One of the street performances at Plaza de Callao.
Loved these Flamenco Dancer Dolls in a Souvenir shop at Gran via
Torre de Madrid at Plaza de Espana one of the tallest buildings in Western Europe
We boarded the hop on hop off bus from Puerta de Alcala.
Madrid is a large city but thanks to the extensive public transport system including the metro, buses, hop on hop offs, local train service and taxis you can reach to any point of the city with great convenience and ease. Most of the attractions and place of interests are around center of the city which can be covered on foot the best way undoubtedly. However when travelling Madrid with kids and family Hop on Hop off buses give you an advantage to plan your day your way.
Our first hop stop was Gran Via the 100 odd year old Spanish Broadway. The grand boulevard houses iconic historical buildings like the Metropolice, the Telphonica Building (one of the first skyscrapers in Europe) and Edificio Carrión Building recognizable due to its neon sign of Schweppes at Plaza Del Callao. This famous bustling street is a shoppers paradise with multinational brand stores, theaters, cinemas, cafes and restaurants ending at the Plaza de Espana Square.
Ancient Egyptian temple in Espana!!! Temple Debod another site of historical significance stands near Plaza de Espana. The shrine dating around 2nd century BC is dedicated to Egyptian Gods Amon and Isis. It’s sounds mystical how the temple was dismantled stone by stone and shipped to Madrid to be reconstructed. The surrounding neat and lush gardens provided some respite from the sun especially for kids who could be seen playing in the garden area. The shrine is also famous for its evening twilight and visitors flock in numbers to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sunset.
Puerta de Toledo comprising of three archways stands magnificently and was main gateway to enter the City of Toledo in ancient times. A closer look would reveal the sculptures adorned on the fabulous arcs.
Basilica de San Francisco el Grande. A Neo Classical church with a spectacular dome approx. 108ft.
Puerta de Sol the Heart of the City is the busiest and most vibrant public square. The energy of the place is just contagious. This magical box of Pandora stores numerous cafes, tapas bars, restaurants, shops, fashion stores, churches, offices, banks, clubs you name it and you find it here in between the spectacular facades and numerous artistic and colourful lanes which offshoot from the main lane. The musical performances and street entertainers were a delight over a glass of ‘Sangria’ a Spanish drink with a mix of fruits and wine.
House of the Post Office– The bells of the clock on the tower mark the traditional eating of ‘Twelve Grapes’ and welcoming the New Year in Spain.
The square contains well known sites like House of the Post office, Km Zero Stone Slab, mounted statue of Charles III of Spain and the symbol of Madrid The Bear and the Strawberry Tree (el Oso y el Madrono).
Spain is a delight for foodies and open air cafes and bars were full of people relaxing with their Tapas, wine and other Spanish delicacies.
Chocolateria de San Gines right next to the Church of San Gines serves the traditional Spanish dish Churros since 1894. This Spanish breakfast consists of sticks of fried dough to be dipped in a hot cup of thick chocolate. If you want to avoid the long wait as we did you can try the Los Artesanos 1902 Chocolateria at San Martín, 2 (Between Sun and Opera).
We called it a day from here for our little Deigo. Madrid like any other European city is fun exploring on foot but travelling with small Doras and Deigos could be a little challenge since there is lot of walking under the sun and hop on hop off is your only rescue. A stroller for smaller kids can also make things easy for you. Vegetarianism is little unheard of here. Its ham and meat all around. Vegetarian options are minimal and please note that egg and tuna are considered vegetarian 😀
Madrid had so much to see and explore and thus I have so much to share about this magical city.
Please follow the link below for my second blog “MADRID nunca duerme”- Madrid never sleeps”- II
Salud a mis amigos !!!! 😊