My Madrid Favourites
Madrid is a city of changing faces. The vibrance. The art. The bars. The landmarks. I spent two weeks in Spain’s capital, and never tired of finding new places to explore. But word to the wise, almost everything seems to be closed on a Monday. Welcome to Spain!
I hardly removed my eyes from the viewfinder of my Nikon as I wandered the streets of Madrid. The city’s buildings are etched with fine engravings and designs. So, remember to pay close attention to the details.
Have you heard of the Temple of Debod? No? Well, it’s a 2nd Century BC Egyptian temple which was re-built in the centre of Madrid. When I first wandered into Parque Oeste, I was taken aback as an Egyptian relic was the last thing I expected to see. After getting over the needless confusion, once I stood back and looked at its floodlit form, the Temple of Debod one of the most charming finds I came across during my stay in Madrid.
El Rastro is probably one of the most famous flea markets in Europe. All forms of trinkets, gadgets and clothing can be bought – but you’re not going to find many who will vouch for their longevity. I bought a beautiful pair of handmade, bronze earrings (as is my tradition when I go abroad) and managed to haggle the price down from 30 euros to 18. So, try your luck. You never know how long they’re willing to go on price. The market is open every Sunday and public holidays, but be ready to lose an entire day as the crowds are immeasurable.
There are more museums and galleries in Madrid than any traveller can possibly need, but the great thing about being in Spain is the ability to famous pieces, up close and personal. I was surprised by the expanse of Picasso’s Guernica and intrigued by the stories behind Velazquez‘s La Meninas. La Reina Sofia is the best place to go if you want to see ‘the blockbusters’, you won’t be disappointed.
As is always the case, whenever you enter a place of natural beauty you always encounter a flock of posing beauties. There was nowhere I went in this park that was not laden with women gesticulating and gyrating around water features and trees. I did find it mostly humorous. Buen Retiro park is 350 acres wide, so it may take a bit of time but you will find your own patch of peace.