36 Hours in Madrid

36 Hours in Madrid
Other than its status as Spain’s capital, I knew nothing about Madrid when I went there and I had no particular interest in going. However, luck was on my side and I really enjoyed my day and half there.

After checking into Hostal Alaska, which was much too small but in the perfect location, we started walking along Paseo del Prado. Eventually we came across the royal botanical garden, Real Jardín Botánico. Knowing my love for this sort of thing, my husband was a saint while I lingered at each plant and tree, reading the tiny labels next to them. The star of the season was the tulip. There were tons of them in red, white, orange and yellow, so I took tons of pictures. There were only a few visitors and the garden was quiet and peaceful. I could have stayed there for hours, but I knew it was time to move on. When we travel, we tend to squeeze in a lot in a short amount of time.

Once we left, we noticed a long line in front of the adjacent building, The Museo del Prado, which is Spain’s national art museum. It turns out that admission is free for a 2-hour period each day and we were there at just the right time. Otherwise, entrance would have cost us 28 euros.

Once inside, we were in for another surprise—The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch. This is one of my husband’s favorite paintings; in college, he had the print hanging in his apartment. We had no idea it was in Madrid and we got to see it for free.

From there we visited the Parque del Buen Retiro, the Central Park of Madrid. Simply put, it was big and pretty with fountains, statues, manicured gardens and lots of activity. All over the park people were jogging, biking, rollerblading and practicing martial arts. Some were rowing boats in the artificial lake in front of the large monument to Alfonso XII. I imagine this park is one of the best things about living in Madrid.

We finished off the day off by walking around downtown. During the day it was full of peaceful protestors. By night, most people were just hanging out around the main squares. When we went through Plaza Mayor, I was expecting a similar crowd but it was practically empty—except for the men who sell glow toys that you fling in the air. The vendors make the most annoying whistling sound to get your attention.

The plaza itself, however, was still very pretty and worth the visit. One the buildings that surrounds the rectangular plaza features colorful murals between each window. We even went back the next morning just to see the paintings in the daylight.

The last place we visited was the Royal Palace of Madrid. Like everything else in Madrid, it was very surprising. Inside, you get to tour some of the most gorgeous, opulent, over-the-top rooms that you will ever see. Photos are not allowed (though I did sneak 2 at the very beginning) but this is probably a good thing; otherwise, it may get too crowded with people like me trying to capture every room. There’s also a pharmacy and an armory room which are pretty interesting.

After visiting the palace, we said goodbye to Madrid and took the train to Barcelona.

Copyright © 2016 Fortuitous Travel. All rights reserved.

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Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
Real Jardín Botánico
The Museo del Prado
The Museo del Prado
 The Buen Retiro Park
The Buen Retiro Park
Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid
Museo del Jamon
Museo del Jamon
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor

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The Palacio Real de Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid

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Plaza de Cibeles
Plaza de Cibeles
Madrid
Madrid

Copyright © 2016 Fortuitous Travel. All rights reserved.

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