Hi everyone, We left Barcelona Tues. March 27 morning for Madrid in a Citron C5, very comfortable. We drove through mountains and valleys to Zargoso. Then flat rocky land with lots of windmills before finding deep cuts and gorges again. Beautiful drive. We arrived at our Hotel Francisco I in Madrid around 3. Nice clean hotel with a balcony overlooking Calle de Arenal a pedestrian walkway between Plaza Sol and Palacio Real. The only drawback was the noise that continued into the wee hours as in 5AM. We had a glass of wine and then went out for a stroll around Palacio Real and the Cathedral. We walked to La Latina tapas area and had a sandwich and some beer. Most of the tapas bars were just picking up business around 9PM. We circled through lovely Plaza Mayor and headed back to the hotel early after such a long day.
Spain | Madrid | Plaza Espana | Statue of Don Quixote and Sanchez Panza
Wed. Mar. 28
After our hotel breakfast we headed out early to do the Historic Madrid walking tour. We started the trail toward the end Palacio Real and followed it backwards. Plaza Espana had a big statue of Don Quixote and Sanchez Panza. Great sausage and ribs vendor but too early for lunch. hmm maybe tomorrow. On to Templo Debod moved from Egypt in 1968.
Spain | Madrid | Steve, Connie, Sally and Al Temple Debod moved here from Egypt
Then a long beautiful walk down Gran Via to Plaza Cibeles. The Palacio de Comunicaciones (Post Office). We went inside to tour the observation deck overlooking the city. Great views and free.
Spain | Madrid | Views of Madrid from Palacio de Comunicaciones free observation deck
We walked over to Puerto de Alcala and along Park Retiro before going to Museo Prado. What an amazing museum. We spent 3 hours there and could have easily spent the entire day. Reubans, van Dyke, Velazquez, El Greco and Goya and even a Rembrandt. Lots more to see and an excellent museum but not enough time. We went to lunch at El Brillante mentioned in the Lonely Planet for Bocadillo Calamari (fried squid sandwiches) and beer. Wandered about, stopped at Plaza Santa Ana for a beer at Cervercia Alemana. Lots of lively singing "drunk" Germans as Hanover was playing Madrid in Football (soccer) tonight. Plaza Sol was setting up big screens and speakers for the strike rally planned for tomorrow. We rested up but then headed out for dinner and an after dinner stroll about 8. Headed for La Latina area but El Madrano first. We had a great dinner. Al and I had a polpo and potato, Connie and Steve had sea bass. Lovely. Just fun to walk about and people watch.
Spain | Madrid | Plaza Mayor
Thurs. Mar. 29 After breakfast we watched/listened to Palace guard practice for changing of the guard. Then we did the Palace Reale tour. We were not expecting the fabulous furnishings and extent of the museum. Just when we thought we had seen it all we came upon the Armory which had huge displays of ornate armaments, and armour for man and horse. We decided to head back to Plaza Espagne (Don Quixote) for sausage but due to the strike it was closed. Actually most restaurants were closed. We remembered a place near Plaza Mayor who said he'd be open so we headed there. We had sangria, grilled vegetable platter and a mixed meat platter/fries. Once again we walked and walked and walked some more. Finally we visited the Basilica de San Francisco and the Cathedral de Neustra Senora de la Almudena. Our over all impression of Madrid is we loved it and could have spent more time there. What a vibrant, interesting city. Off to Toledo on Friday. Love and God Bless Sally and Al
Spain | Toledo | Catedral
Spain | Toledo | Catedral
Fri. Mar. 30
Hi everyone, Now we know why people say, "Holy Toledo!" The highlight of our visit yesterday to Toledo was the Catedral. It was absolutely amazing. The books refer to Toledo as the spiritual capital of Spain or a down sized Rome. Neat medieval town built on a hill with the Rio Tajo flowing on 3 sides. Unfortunately the winding streets kept winding down hill then a steep climb back up again. Our poor feet were struggling with the cobblestones, hills and steps. We visited Museo de Santa Cruz then had a great lunch at Santa Fe Restaurant mentioned in Lonely Planet After lunch we visited Alcazar fortress now a military museum and wandered down to the Catedral which took at least two hours to visit. It was one of those "you can't get there from here" experiences trying to find the exit Portal toward our hotel. finally back by 7. We had nice patio off our rooms so we had beer/wine before finding a restaurant nearby for dinner. Anothe