Beautiful active Madrid

Madrid fountains in street behind hotelFountains in street behind our hotelMadrid is beautiful! It is filled with fountains, plazas and magnificent buildings. Even though we had woken up to 8 degree weather, a lot warmer than yesterday, we wrapped up warmly and decided to walk aiming to see as much as we had seen from the hop on, hop off bus the previous day.

On our return to the hotel the previous evening, we were informed that the water would be turned off from 09:00 to 16:00. We managed to complete the packing and our ablutions just before 09:00 and then took our luggage down to Reception where it was stored until we collected it at about 17:30.

We walked out of the hotel and turned left as we knew that the Real Botanica Jardins or Royal Botanical Garden was up this way and, we had learnt the afternoon before, that Senior Citizens are charged just 50 cents entry fee.Madrid Botanic Gdns 1Madrid Botanic Gdns

What a magnificent Garden this is: huge (7 hectares) and very well maintained. It must look absolutely beautiful in Spring and Summer. There were statues of those who had been part of its development plus other sculpted creations. We spent nearly 3 hours in the gardens and were impressed by the tropical plants section in a hot house to control the temperature. There were indigenous plants from a number of countries including South Africa.

While we were there a number of school groups came through comprised of some rowdy 7-8 year olds as well as a group of teenagers who tried their very best to look disinterested. At one end of the gardens a group was trimming branches from some very high trees. It was fascinating to watch them as instead of climbing up & down each tree they were swinging between them like Tarzans.

From there we continued up the road as we could see a beautiful church spire in the distance but we stopped in our tracks when we found the Prado Museum with busts of famous painters such as Goya and Picasso situated near to each of the 6 – 8 entrances. There was a very long queue at the ticket office door as a special exhibition was due to open in the afternoon so we did not visit. Madrid SA cactus in Botanic GdnsSA cactus in Botanic Gdns

On we went and soon found a most beautiful church perched on a hill. It was interesting to note that here, in the middle of Madrid, it was a Protestant Church. We continued up the Paseo del Prado and arrived at a very large circle with a massive fountain in the centre. We had seen it from the bus yesterday but its sheer size cannot be experienced unless you are actually standing next to it. Obtaining photos is also difficult as it is rather like the circle at the Arc de Triomf where the traffic just never stops. Then it is also very difficult to get close enough as there are 3 lanes of traffic between photographer and fountain at any one time. There were police personnel stationed all around the fountain as well. What is important is that our memories have the pictures.

We had planned to try and find another large park with a lake for boating which we had seen from the bus but now realised that it was much further than expected. It was about 3pm and we wanted to take a closer look at the plaza we had been able to view from our room. So we headed back down the road and walked up a small lane which brought us into this plaza. It was not very big but it housed the entrances to both an Opera House and a Music School which explained the music we had heard from our room.

We walked across the plaza and took an exit down a lane at one corner. How different this was from the street we had just left. This was a residential, arty area with plenty of graffiti and lots of grocers, laundromats and other facilities for normal daily living. We then strolled down another lane which went off at a tangent and down a hill to find more beautiful fountains. With a bit of exploration and discussion we worked out which of the many lanes would actually lead us back to the hotel. We were so pleased that we chose this route as suddenly we came upon a very new building with a bright red front façade, just meters from our hotel and yet, being around the corner, we had not seen it previously. It was the front entrance to the recently opened National School of the Performing Arts and backed on to the small plaza behind the Hotel Madioda.Amazingly it is not mentioned on any tourist information pamphlets nor on either of the 2 routes of the hop on hop off bus.

We popped into a pizza place for a small lunch/supper as we had to get back to the hotel, freshen up and change clothes to be at the station by 5:30. And so our extraordinary adventure came to an end. We have been so privileged to have had the opportunity to enjoy God’s creation in so many ways.

Thank you to each of you who has travelled with us through these blogs. I hope that you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have in writing them.

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Fountain in Paso del PradoVery large fountain in Paso del Prado

Madrid Royal Palace 2Royal Palace

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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