Our visit to Spain began in Madrid to later travel to Andalusia and return to Madrid. Therefore, we had a couple of days to explore the city.
Definitely, Madrid is a very cosmopolitan and modern city which holds many great treasures to visit. At the same time, it is the kind of place which can be visited a thousand times and there will always be something new to discover and new experiences to be lived.
As is our custom, upon arriving to Madrid, we had a cup of coffee before exiting the “Barajas” Airport. There are excellent means of transport from the airport into the center of the city. We opted for a bus which took us directly to the “Cibeles” Square. We were very anxious to begin enjoying everything Madrid has to offer.
Hence, we made our way to the “Puerta del Sol”, where our lodgings awaiting us. And who did we find there? The Bear and the Strawberry tree (el Oso y el Madroño) statue welcoming us. As a command center, the “Plaza del Sol” in addition to being a center for lot’s of activity also provides various transportation options. A Metro Station, bus stop and a taxi pick-up area. Another reason for having decided to stay here is that “Plaza del Sol” is also very strategic having relevant city sights within walking distance.
For our first afternoon in Madrid, we had various sites identified. We started off with the grand “Plaza Mayor”. A pretty site! We were met there with a large Book exhibition by different bookshops. The Exhibition tents in the center of the “Plaza Mayor” made it look different from what we remember from prior visits. Further on and near the “San Miguel” Market we stopped to have our first cold beers and snacks in Madrid. With our tickets in hand, we started making our way to “El Padro” Museum.
As we walked towards “El Prado”, we would discover the hidden gems not found on tourist maps. This is how we found the Holy Cross Parish. Modest in size but within a beautiful altarpiece and precious stained glass windows.
We strolled past the Neptune Fountain and then waved at the Velazquez statue and further on Goya, until we reached “El Prado”. A huge and very complete museum that in order to enjoy all the artwork on display would be impossible. Works such as “La Maja Vestida” and “Maja Desnuda”, “Las Meninas” y countless other extraordinary works of art are part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Upon concluding our visit to “El Prado”, we found nearby the “San Jerónimo el Real” church besides the Spanish Royal Academy. A lovely temple!
As night falls, he head back to “Plaza del Sol”, on route we found a spectacle of an animated clock, a great surprise.
Madrid is full of activity, with its crowds and events. The tavern, “La Guitarra”, a gathering spot for “tunos”, locals and foreigners alike would be where we would meet our Puerto Rican friend, Alejandra and share our visit night in Madrid.
Old memories are relived here and while we await Alejandra’s arrival, we’d enjoy some cold beers and “patatas bravas” , something new. The “patatas bravas” are potatoes cut in squares, fried and served with hot sauce. As the good “tunos” we are, yes, all three of us had belonged to the “Tuna de la Universidad de Puerto Rico”, given the environment and the availability of guitars it would be unavoidable to play music, sing and have more beers. In addition to the music, a good conversation would occupy us this evening. Our evening quickly became the classical bohemian night in a very Puerto Rican manner. Other patrons would approach us with their well wishes and thanks for our heart felt music. And so ended, our first night in Madrid.
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