Thursday, June 9, 2011

Madrid, Spain

Madrid is my second most favorite city next to Granada :-) We walked so much in Madrid I felt like my legs/feet were going to fall off at the end of the day. The weather was colder in the morning but got bearable in the afternoon. I guess the cool weather also made the long walking bearable.

Estacion de Atocha - main train station in Madrid

First glimpse of Madrid! Such a relief after 24 hours of travel by plane, high-speed train and metro.

Gran Via is the city's main street, built to show off Madrid as a cosmopolitan destination.

Such beautiful architecture...

Got lucky with our hotel... didn't realize it was right on Gran Via (thanks to!)

View from the hotel room! I think my email requesting for a high-floor street-facing room worked! :) I learned about the email theory from my friend and luckily it worked for me. In fact, it worked for 3 out of 4 hotels that we stayed at in Spain! Thanks Jay!

The next day we started exploring Madrid right after breakfast (around 8am)...At Puerta del Sol ("Gate of the Sun") - this is the old Post Office which serves as the office of the President of Madrid.

The famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year. The New Year's celebration is broadcasted live from here. Samantha Brown was also here! :-)

The Plaza Mayor used to be the center of Madrid. Today, you'll find shops selling traditional Spanish arts and crafts, jewelry, hand-painted silks, glass and leather purses.
We went out very early that's why the place was still a bit empty and the restos still closed...

Catedral de la Almudena

One of the most beautiful Cathedrals I have ever seen so far... 

The Palacio Real de Madrid (The Royal Palace of Madrid) is the official residence of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid, but it is only used for state ceremonies.

Stolen pic inside the palace... look at the ginormous dining table! Wow can you imagine how festive their feasts were!

I didn't know you had to drop some cash first before taking pics thats why he was covering his face hahaha

NOW I knew to drop coins first! hehehe.. this guy on the right would only open his eyes when you do so (i think the guy on the left is a mannequin but both look so real)

Mercado De San Miguel - a must-go-to place!!! This was very near Plaza Mayor

More Tapas...

We went back to Plaza Mayor in the afternoon and boy was it packed! Good thing we went early in the morning...

FINALLY! we found authentic Chocolate con Churros! :)

The chocolate is so thick the spoon was floating on top!

We went back to the hotel to rest a bit then went back out to explore some more in the afternoon. We saw the Palacio de Comunicaciones on our way to Museo Del Prado.

Museo del Prado - we opted not to go in anymore since we're not really a fan of paintings short, uncultured haha...

Real Jardin Botanico - their version of Singapore Botanic Gardens which I don't really recommend hehe... not worth the 8euros.

After hours and hours of walking we finally found this place... Palacio de Cristal - Samantha Brown was also here!!! :)

 Inside Parque del Buen Retiro... I love this park! It was huge! This was already past 8pm but you can see the sun shining as if it were noon.

I guess this was a glimpse of how dangerous their metro is... Someone who got down from the train just threw this bottle on the floor out of nowhere.. crazy!

Protests were starting all around Spain the time we were there.. they burned the garbage containers beside our restaurant.. I was seated right next to the window... So damn lucky it wasn't a bomb!

Firemen were quick to arrive... the fire was out in 15-20 mins
Now back to regular programming hehehe... PAELLA!!! Finally!! authentic yummy paella! though the crust wasn't toasted as I would have wanted it

The next morning... More protestors at the "Bear and the Madroño Tree", heraldic symbol of Madrid - Puerta del Sol

Off to Cordoba...

At the train station...I really wanted to get this hoping to find it again in Barcelona on our last day but I didn't!! Bummer!!

Next up, Cordoba! :-)

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