City Trip – Madrid 05/2022
After a four-month break from traveling, we're off again.
A city trip is once again on the agenda. But which metropolis should it be? Paris, London, Barcelona, Dublin, Rome, Venice? When thinking and planning, I naturally consider the duration of the trip, because I don't want to spend several hours on the road for four days. But also the travel costs count of course: flights and accommodations should remain within limits. After extensive research, I decided on Madrid.
In 2009, I was already in the Spanish capital with four girlfriends on the way back from Salamanca, but without the photographic eye. I will now make up for that.
Did you know that Madrid is the sixth largest city in Europe after Moscow, (Istanbul), London, St. Petersburg and Berlin with 3.3 million inhabitants?
Be excited when next week it's "Let's go - the next adventure begins's" again.
After work and at a pleasant 16 degrees, I walked with my suitcase to the train station and got on the S- Bahn to the airport.
Because I had already checked in online the night before and had only booked hand luggage, I went directly to the security check and then wanted to go to the gate. But the shuttle train to Gate K was broken. So, like many other travelers, I had to join an eternally long queue waiting for the replacement bus. Fortunately, I had planned enough buffer, so I did not get stressed and came on time for boarding.
Super punctually, we taxied onto the runway and took off in a southerly direction. After a good half hour, the captain made an announcement and told us that we would be landing 30 minutes early.
Soit happened, after a good two hours, the plane descended on the Madrid airport "Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas", the largest airport in Spain. Since I had only hand luggage (for a 3.5 day city trip that is quite enough) I could bypass the baggage claim at the conveyor belt and look directly for the airport bus to the center, which I also found immediately. ZuHause I had found out that this costs only 5 € and drives all night. The metro, on the other hand, would have been more expensive with 2x change and with just under 50 minutes and the trip thus longer. After just 25 minutes, instead of 40 minutes as indicated, the bus arrived at the "Plaza de Cibeles". Here it had at 22:20 still 20 degrees.
Because my Internet was not fast enough, I tried my luck so, listened to my gut feeling or my sense of direction and made me in the direction of hostel https://thecentralhousehostels.com/madrid-lavapies/ on. After about 15 minutes, I found it without getting lost, picked up my key, because I had already checked in online, and went to my room. I moved into my bed, locked my luggage and fell tired into bed shortly before midnight.
My alarm clock rang at 8 o'clock. I got up, got ready and went to breakfast. For hostel conditions, there was really a lot of choice.
Meanwhile, I looked at the city map and on "maps me" where the locations that I had picked out in advance are located and marked them. I also packed myself some fruit for the road and then set off.
First destination was the train station "Atocha" https://www.renfe.com/es/es with its palm trees. On the way there I was always greeted friendly and they waved me in when I wanted to photograph the small stores.
When I arrived at my destination after a good two and a half kilometers, I was amazed. The palm garden in the old hall is absolutely recommendable. When the new station started its operation in 1992, this palm garden with many plants from the tropics was designed in the old hall. There are also many small cafes and stores all around for those waiting. Since the reconstruction, the old hall is one of the most beautiful and famous waiting halls in the whole world.
We continued east, to the park "Tierno Galván". It is located in a somewhat degraded residential area, but according to Researche should have a lot of photo potential. Really warm I was with the park but not, could not win him much. The super great photo motifs I could not discover, but a green woodpecker and many small green parrots.
Accordingly, I made my way back and entered the next location I had picked out into my smartphone. When I arrived at the "Caixa Forum", I was amazed. A wall of houses that consisted only of plants. To the left, the largest savings bank in Spain.
But I did not stay long here and walked in the direction of "Parque del Retiro" https://www.esmadrid.com/informacion-turistica/parque-del-retiro. When I came to the street "Cuesta de Moyano", I felt like in another time. On the left were many small bookstores and stalls. Some vendors let me take their picture, others scolded and shooed me away. Which I also respected.
In the "Parque del Retiro" I passed by chance also a beautiful rose garden.
At the "Palacio de Cristal", I made a small tour at the pond and discovered several turtles.
At a café that was very close by, I decided to take a break and had a frappé.
I then continued on my way to explore the park. As I strolled past the "Monumento a Alfanso XII", memories of 2009 also came back when I visited Madrid with my girlfriends.
I noticed that the heat and also all the walking made me a bit tired, so I headed for the hostel as my next destination. On the way there I passed, among other things, the "Fuente de la Cibeles" and the "Palacio de Cibeles", where I already got off the bus last night. I explored the place and looked for the bus stop for Sunday morning in advance, so that I don't have to do that in the dark and under time pressure.
Afterwards I made a small detour and passed the small, old library "La libería Sa Ginés".
Back at the hostel I was amazed, because I had already walked over 17 km, and that at almost 30 degrees. I freshened up a bit and sat down in the quiet courtyard to rest a bit.
After a good hour break, my stomach announced itself by growling, so I took my backpack and my camera again without further ado and made my way to a pub.
I walked through the directly adjacent neighborhood "La latina". There is a lot of street art and many nice, small cafes and bars.
Everywhere I looked, the famous Spanish paella was extremely expensive. But not four corners further, I came by chance on the famous "Plaza Mayor". I still thought, here it will certainly be even more expensive, but I was wrong. I found a restaurant that was priced even below the average and so I read down, ordered and enjoyed the hustle and bustle on the Plaza Mayor.
A small digestive walk should be but then still, even if I was already pretty tired and my feet hurt. So I strolled through the streets and passed the famous "Plaza del Callao" with the famous "El letrero de Schweppes" building. Of course I tried to capture some nice streetlife moments. Suddenly it became loud: a bicycle demo arrived. The passers-by applauded and cheered the cyclists.
The twilight had set in the meantime and the lights went on. I continued to try to capture a few beautiful moments, which I succeeded sometimes better, sometimes less well, because I still have to practice a bit with the exposure time from the hand.
On the way back to the hostel I also passed again the "Puerta del Sol" with its famous bear at the strawberry tree "El Oso y el Madroño".
After almost 27 kilometers on foot I finally returned to the hostel for the day.
Am curious how many kilometers it will be tomorrow.
After my kilometer-long foot tour yesterday, I slept a little longer today.
On the program for today I had the palace and two special bridges.
To get to the "Plaza España", I crossed again the beautiful neighborhood "La latina" and came to the famous market hall "Mercado de San Miguel". Here you can go on a culinary discovery tour. It reminds me of the Schrannenhalle in Munich, which is so similar. However, I was still full from breakfast, so I only took a few photos and moved on.
When I arrived at the "Plaza España" I was amazed. It looked completely different than in 2009. Everything was paved over, hardly any green. At that time it was a real park. It still exists, but no longer in this place. But I immediately recognized the "Torre de Madrid", a skyscraper 142 meters high, built between 1954 and 1957, and the large "Edificio España". The "Edificio España" is a skyscraper that was built from 1948 to 1953. It was designed by the brothers Julián and Joaquín Otamendi in the New Baroque style and is one of the architectural landmarks of the Spanish capital.
I walked through the "Jardines de Sabatini" and came directly to the Royal "Palacio Real". Actually, I wanted to enter, but the tourist queue was so long that I saved the queue and looked at him rather from the outside. Behind the palace is the Roman Catholic Almudena Cathedral. Also there: an eternally long queue.
So I decided to walk further in the direction of the river "Manzanears" and the associated park "El Arganzuela". Because there should be two very beautiful architecture and street art bridges.
On the way I passed the "Puerta de Toledo", a city gate built in classicist style with stone arches and statues in honor of Ferdinand VII.
Arriving at the river I immediately saw the impressive "Puente Monumental de la Arganzuela", which has a unique architecture and is a dream for photographers, so also for me. I romped for a really long time before I walked further along the park and came to two more bridges. They were painted with street art.
Because there was a metro station nearby, I decided to take the metro after all, because in the meantime I had covered several kilometers on foot again.
So I drove north and got off at the stop "Nuevos Ministerios". I had read that there should be beautiful photo motifs here, but really the corner what I could not win and so marched further in the direction of Centrum.
I wanted to put my sunglasses back on, but I noticed that they were missing. From the photos I had taken, I realized that they must have gone missing before I even got on the metro. Too bad, but unfortunately I could not change anything.
Instead, I passed a disused subway station. Unfortunately, it, respectively the museum, had closed. I noted the opening hours and came into the quarter "Malasana". Here there were small alleys with cafes, small shops, as well as colorful houses. I liked it very much. I think that I will possibly visit again tomorrow or tonight.
Back in the center, I headed for the café "Chocolateria San Ginésr" https://chocolateriasangines.com, known since 1894 for its "churros con chocolate". I settled down, enjoyed the hot chocolate, the churros and drank a freshly squeezed orange juice.
I then returned to the hostel and rested the long walk through Madrid.
After the break, I grabbed my camera again and set off. The small side streets had done it to me, and so I walked along them until I arrived at the "Templo de Debod", very close to the palace. It is an ancient Egyptian temple that was rebuilt in Madrid. It originally stood 15 kilometers south of Philae on the banks of the Nile near the first cataract in the immediate vicinity of Debod.
On postcards, in travel guides or even on the Internet there were many great pictures of a sunset, but I was disappointed, because the water was drained and so I could not get a really nice photo motif from the whole thing.
I strolled along the "Gran Vía", one of the largest and most important shopping streets in Madrid, to the junction of the "Calle de Alcalá", where the famous Metropolis House stands. This was fenced in, however, so that I could not take pictures here either. I decided to walk slowly towards the hostel, but not along the main streets, but further through the small streets and through new neighborhoods.
In the room I met my new roommate, a French woman from Corsica. We talked a bit and I gave her a few tips.
Afterwards I turned off the light at my place, because at the end of the day there were again 23 kilometers on my cell phone.
Originally, I had considered a trip to Valencia or to the famous windmills of Spain for my last day, but I decided against it. I was interested in the two old Metro museums. I had discovered one during my walk yesterday.
When I wanted to reserve a free ticket for each of the museums online, I found that there were no more tickets for the Chamberí station for today. But for the second "Museo Metro Chamartín" https://museosmetromadrid.es there were. So I made a reservation there.
I walked to the nearby metro station "Tirso de Molina" and went to "Bilbao", because I didn't want to leave it untried to somehow get in at the station Chamberí.
And I was lucky. Because I was alone, the guard let me pass. I joined the Spanish group and already we went underground. Even though I didn't understand a word, I felt transported back in time.
Chamberí Station, which has been closed since 1966, was designed by Antonio Palacios. It lay abandoned and forgotten for decades until the film Barrio by Fernando León de Aranoa brought it back to life. Today it can be admired again in its colorful and luminous splendor.
The walls, vaults and advertising posters, as well as the furniture and the original tracks have been completely restored.
During the 20-minute tour, trains were still rushing by.
Afterwards I bought another metro ticket and went to the station "Chamartín". When I got off there and took the escalator up, I couldn't get out of my amazement. A fabulous, modern architecture in strong colors. Of course, I forgot the time here again and tried to capture some situations and perspectives photographically.
At some point I found by chance the museum, which is located in the lower part of the station. Here were some old wagons and a time travel on the walls. Almost every wagon was designed differently. There was no guided tour and so I could take a little more time.
After that, I set off in the direction of the city center and got off at the "Tribunal" stop.
From there I walked again through all the small streets until I came to the "Plaza del Dos de Mayo". Here young people were playing soccer and others had small stalls. All around there were many small cafes.
I decided to go on and came back to the neighborhood "Malasana". Here was pure life and everything colorful. Wonderful.
In the "Plaza del Rastrillo" I took a seat in a café, ordered a frappé and some tapas.
After a good hour, I decided to walk to the famous "Calle del Sacreamento". On the way there, I passed your demo and the opera. In addition, I saw again and again small, winding streets, or colorful houses.
Back towards the hostel I strolled through the colorful and lively neighborhood "La Latina" and discovered another market hall. I looked briefly inside, but it did not look really nice here.
At the hostel I packed my things and then rested a bit in the courtyard.
In the evening I went out again. One last time Spanish dinner, one last time enjoy the Spanish street life, before it goes tomorrow morning back to the beautiful Munich.
When I left the hostel at just after four o'clock to walk to the bus stop, I was amazed at what was still going on in the streets at this time.
Of course, what I had not considered on Thursday, when I picked out the bus to the airport, that the Champions League takes place on Saturday. Although not in Madrid, but in Paris, but with Real Madrid. And they won.
Everything was closed and the police told me that there is no bus to the airport here today, but only at the station "Atocha". So I set off from "Plaza Cibeles" in the direction of the station. Everywhere still celebrating Spaniards. On the way I saw a couple with suitcases. I asked them if they also wanted to go to the airport, which they said yes and so we walked there together. As soon as we arrived, we were told that there was no bus to the airport from here either. The Israeli couple then wanted to book a ride via the app "UBER", for 60 €. However, I asked a cab driver, who said that the ride costs 30 €. So we three decided to share the cab. 10 € instead of 5€ for the bus, but in the cab. A good compromise.
At the airport all hell broke loose. I was really amazed that it could be so busy at this time.
I passed through security without any problems and was looking for the VIP/business lounge. You are probably wondering why? When I booked my flights, I noticed that the return flight in the business lounge was 150 € cheaper, so of course I booked the ticket for it. So for the first time I got to enjoy waiting until boarding in the VIP/ Business Lounge. And it was great. Fresh fruit, all kinds of food and drinks, comfortable chairs and a pleasant atmosphere.
There was also plenty to eat and drink on the flight. That is the big difference on the short or medium flights within Europe. In economy class you get at most a small water bottle, in business class it's different. But the seats are not really different. So not such a luxury as on my flight to Mexico.
From the airport, I took the S-Bahn home as standard.
Until next time, your Mirjam