Spain: a Few Days In a Colorful Country!

With business in paris ended on a Friday, and business in Madrid beginning Monday, I had several days of being a tourist in and around Madrid after arriving by train on Saturday morning.

Fountain of the Cibeles looking toward the quarter of the city known as Bourbon Madrid.

I took several walking tours of the city, and learned to navigate the clean and air conditioned (!) Metro system.  Also learned to use the local and regional train systems for some self- directed tours outside the city.  And for the first time in a long while splurged on a guided tour to two destinations outside the city.  All of that in just a few days, no wonder I was exhausted for a while after I got home!

On the other side of the Cibeles fountain is the ornate postal headquarters of Spain.

  Not far behind the postal headquarters lies one of the grand, formerly royal, parks, Retiro Park.

  In the center of Retiro park lies the boating lake with a monument to Alfonso XII.

  Another little lake provides a foreground for the Crystal palace in Retiro park.

Madrid is so large that it makes no sense to try to describe it all in pictures.  This next shot gives an idea of the physical size of this city of 5 million people.

  This was a morning shot from another park, one overlooking the city, looking toward the northwest.  Like any big city in the world, a morning smog cloud seems to be forming.

  From the end of this park, the view of the Cathedral, the Nuestra Senora de la Almudena, and of the Palacio Real was impressive.  My hotel was about a 25 minute walk away from those monumental buildings.

Note the colorful ceiling in this relatively new cathedral's nave.  Trying to turn around and take pictures of the altar and the beautiful decorations in some of the side chapels let me know that there were limits to what my otherwise fine digitial camera could do.  Hence, there will be no internal cathedral pictures in any of these pages on Spain.  Not that i don't have a few, just that they did not come out well.
 

Outside the cathedral there were several boys and girls dressed in colorful costume just entering the building, apparently preparing for a performance in the Cathedral later in the day.  Here is one that did not make it in with the rest, apparently receiving some instructions, and wishing the camera-ready tourists (it wasn't just me) would go away..

Colorful, in terms of nature, buildings, and people, is an apt one-word description of Spain, in my opinion.
 

  Everywhere, there were plazas and small parks, quite a delightful city.

But, was I satisfied with just Madrid as a place to visit?  I could have been, but it was so tempting to visit some of the famous historical places nearby.  Places like El Escorial, Segovia, Avila, and Toledo.

Go Home

 Go to El Escorial

 Go to Toledo

 Got to Segovia and Avila