Madrid City Tour II
Spanish evenings begin around 10 as Spaniards are perceived to sleep late, stay out, have late dinners and get up late. The culture is characterized by long lunch breaks and afternoon siesta although this may not be true for all like a madrileño. With changing global influence people do have early offices and work till late and in a city like Madrid the concept of Siesta is diminishing. However Spanish people love to party late and thus its said the City never sleeps.
Plaza de Oreinte Square
Statues of Royalties (Gothic Kings)
Monument to Philip IV of Spain
Early morning next day we arrived at a prominent square in the historic centre with Palacio Real de Madrid (The Royal Palace of Madrid), Almudena Cathedral, Teatro Real (The Opera) and Statues of Royalties (Gothic Kings) all in its vicinity and popularly known as Plaza de Oreinte.
Palacio Real the official residence of Spanish monarchs oozes out solemnity and class. The sumptuous palace built of granite and limestone is surrounded by beautiful Sabatini gardens. It has more than 3000 rooms and few are open for the art lovers where they can admire the interiors, antiques and armory. The royal guard changing ceremony is a major attraction at the palace taking place every Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 2pm. Being an early bird can help you get the best spot.
Flanking the other side stands the grand Almudena Cathedral. We weren’t left with much time to go inside although we admired the elegance of this Neo Gothic structure from outside.
Taking a stroll from Plaza De Oriente we sneak peeked at Teatro Real the premier Opera House at Plaza de Isabel II, one of the top in Europe due to its grand interiors and acoustics.
Walking down this adjoining beautiful street called Calle Arneal flanked by trees and quaint structures with numerous shops and cafes we spotted the Chocolateria Los Artesanos 1902. Since it was a lot of walking for our little one we relaxed and recollected our energies over a hot cup of Chocolate and Churros 😀
A few miles more and the vibrant ambience in front of us hinted we were at Puerta de sol centre of the city once again. Relishing a cup of coffee and doughnut (although my taste buds were starved of eating something salty now) we stated walking towards the Plaza Mayor.
Its difficult to blink your eyes seeing the spectacular edifices as you wander around.
On our way stood the Mercado de San Miguel the famous covered market near Plaza Mayor built in 1916. The place not only flaunts abundant variety of grocery and eatables but also is also a gourmet tapas market. It was full of people enjoying their stay in Madrid eating delicacies and gulping beer and wine. Spain is a heaven for wine lovers.
A stone throw away was Casa De La Villa the old Town Hall exemplifying Madrileno baroque architecture. One can admire how wonderfully these ancient treasures have been preserved till date.
So here we were at Plaza de Mayo (Plaza Mayor). This rectangular square featuring statue of King Philip III surrounded by three story buildings with balconies facing the open area with numerous outdoor cafes, restaurants and shops has played a major role in pages of Spanish history.
Plaza de Cibeles the iconic symbol of Madrid can be easily identified by its impressively sculpted marble Cybele Palace (HQ of Madrid City Hall) and the Cibeles Fountain depicting Roman Goddess of fertility Cybele sitting in a chariot pulled by two lions depicting the power of nature. One interesting fact was that football fans flock around the fountain and celebrate every time Real Madrid wins a cup and are even joined by the Team sometimes!!
How could we forget the Home Stadium of Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu very near to the hotel we stayed in. Needless to say little pricey but a wonderful experience for die hard football fans.
Where to Stay- We stayed at Hotel Holiday Inn Madrid- Bernabeu. The hotel is aptly situated in city’s business centre and has a lively ambience due to surrounding restaurants, cafes, stores, super markets. We had a pleasant stay at the hotel. You can board a taxi to reach hop on hop off stop at Puerta de Alcala or can walk down to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for same.
Average stay per night is INR 10-12k at a decent 3 to 4 star hotel including breakfast. Thanks to lucrative deals available online from time to time.
You can book through Airbnb but some research would be required if travelling with kids and family.
Tips to travel- Hop on hop off buses are the best means to cover the city especially with family. Trams and metro are convenient too within the city. Taxis are not very expansive and with small kids will not feel much of a burden.
We covered the most of the attractions in two days. A day extra in our hands and we would have planned a half day trip to Toledo from Madrid. Half an hour journey via 30 minutes high speed train (Renfe Ave) from Atocha Station is the best way to get to this World Heritage Site.
So was the time to bid adieus to Madrid and continue our journey to next two beautiful cities of Spain ‘Valencia and Barcelona’ 😊
Continued from “MADRID nunca duerme”- Madrid never sleeps- I
Want to know about our day I at Madrid. Please follow the below link.
Salud a mis amigos !!!! 😊