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Food Travel and Culture in Spain - Piccavey Blog

Loving Food in Spain, Discovering the Culture and Travelling around the country all year. Follow me to hear insider tips and the latest information around Catalonia, Andalusia and further afield

A postcard from Spain´s Capital - Madrid
03 October 2013 @ 15:47

With all the recent Media attention surrounding the Madrid and their failed bid for the 2020 Olympics. I thought I would write something about Spain´s capital city.
Since 2006 I have been visiting Madrid, my most recent visit was in September 2013. I usually visit once or twice a year. My trips of 2-3 days are often for business but sometimes I get to stay over a weekend or meet up with friends there.
One of the main attractions in Madrid according to that Olympic speech is the Plaza Mayor. The suggestion made was to have a ´relaxing Café con leche´ in that typical square. Personally I recommend having a coffee in ¨Recoletos¨ myself.  This tree lined avenue in Madrid is often the location for books fairs or Sunday strolls. It makes a perfect setting to watch the world go by.

Of course when in Madrid you must see the Plaza Mayor, it is a beautiful porticoed square,  but honestly choose to drink your coffee somewhere else, unless you don´t mind paying inflated prices in that location.Spain´s capital is unfortuntely known for it´s traffic jams and general hustle and bustle. It is not my favourite destination in Spain. I would highly recommend comfy shoes on to tackle the endless corridors in the Metro of Madrid. Saying that the metro is the quickest and most simple way to get around.
Inside the Atocha train station, part of the Metro system you can see a unique garden inside. This is one of the more pleasant corners to see while travelling around Madrid. There are hundreds of turtles to see which make it a novelty for passers by to see while changing trains.
Even though it´s a busy city, over all these different trips I have discovered things to enjoy in Madrid. Pictured below is the Temple of Debod.

This was sent from Egypt as a gift to Spain in 1968 after Spain helped Egypt. UNESCO requested help for Egypt as a temple had to be saved due to the construction of the Aswan dam. You can see the Temple of Debod not far from Plaza España. This is particularly beautiful as the sun sets.

There are many historic buildings in Madrid. (first photo at the top is the Plaza de la Vila) and here pictured below is the Almudena Cathedral. This beautiful buidling is located in the same area as Palacio Reial which you can visit. This was once the royal residence for the Spanish Royal family.

 In my opinion one of the main reasons to visit Madrid is for the Art. The collections in this city are vast. The Prado Museum is the Spanish National Art Museum and boasts most of the Spanish classics, currently they have over 7000 paintings exhibited. Paintings by Goya, Rubens and Velazquez can be seen here. The temporary exhibitions are usually really popular and queues are generally long. Get here early.
Of all the art I saw in Madrid on my weekend there my personal favourite was the Reina Sofia Museum  at the time I visited they had a temporary exhibition of the Waterlilies by Monet. The art here is more comtemporary and I found this more to my own taste.   I didnt get to visit the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza which makes the third art museum in this triangle. This is on the list for next time.

My second reason for visiting Madrid is the shopping! As this is the capital city you can find practically everything you want. My favourites areas are the High End Serrano district with it´s flagstore Corte Ingles store and impeccable boutiques. I also love Chueca. The main streets around Fuencarral and Hortaleza are fun with an ecclectic mix of independent and fashion stores. I´ve heard that the Malasaña district is catching up with Chueca but I haven´t had chance to head that way so far and check it out. (another thing on my to do list…)
Madrid has a large expat community due to the amount of large companies and HQ´s offices there. If you are actually moving to Madrid or thinking about it you may find the useful this website Moving to Madrid written by an Expat, you can read about the neighbourhoods of Madrid, getting admin done in the city and other useful details.
This post was first published on my blog 26th Sept 2013.  The most recent post published 2nd October contains a perpetual Calendar for the city of Granada, Spain.

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DonLochnagar said:
05 October 2013 @ 09:53

Not very good photos!

leytonette said:
05 October 2013 @ 10:02

I have been to Madrid several times as one of my sons lived there for a few years. Initially he lived in Plaza Espana but later moved to another area where he was quite near a huge parque (can't remember the name of it though). Each time I went I used to enjoy a visit to Plaza Mayor, Sol (New Year's Eve of the coming of the Euro was horrendously crowded there!) and I really loved Plaza Espana. Visited the Palazio Reial on one occasion and really enjoyed it. However, every morning I would visit a cafe called Boccolino - superb coffee there but sadly it is no longer there as they demolished it to make way for yet another hotel. My friend, Marco, who ran the cafe with his father, said he was going to have a very long holiday! When my son moved to another part of Madrid he actually saw Marco on one occasion.

leytonette said:
05 October 2013 @ 10:07

I do remember being at Atocha train station but don't recall seeing the gardens you mention and I never saw the Temple of Debod either. Obviously I have missed out on these sights.
Sadly I may never visit Madrid again as my son has now moved back to England and set up his office there. In between Madrid and England he lived in Barcelona for a time and that was really lovely - what a beach and what a promenade, not to mention the Ramblas!

Bookwriter said:
05 October 2013 @ 13:30

Love Madrid. Go up every couple of years to see shows (starved of professional theatre here). Have always stayed at the Carlton near Atocha, so it is an easy trundle with the cases. That area is great, some really good places to eat cheaply in the side streets. Always take our breakfast in the Bar Alegria, Paseo de las Delicias. Don't eat in the hotel, it is a fabulous hotel but the restaurant is very expensive. Love the San Miguel Mercado, a gorgeous old building converted into a gourmet's dream. All kinds of wines, cheeses, fish etc. to sample.

Patricia Dean said:
27 October 2013 @ 19:39

An article that makes me want to visit Madrid. Thank you,

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