Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wednesday Nov 14 Madrid On Our Own

Nov 12-13 Toronto to London to Madrid

WEDNESDAY Nov 14 Madrid Spain

WOW we went to bed at 11:30, both woke at 3 and had trouble going back to sleep but then I slept until 10 and woke John at 10:45. So much for our plans to go for our included breakfast.

The weather looks good.

First stop is pick up a our missing SIM (CDN) card that we left behind last night. Dine.

Where to have coffee? We stop at a place across from the Parque El Retiro since we are heading there.

Cruz Bianca as seen last night.

We head across to the park. Some of today's attractions are on the city tour that we will do on Saturday but we won't spend much time at them then.

Our hotel is a 10 minute walk to Retiro Park
This park located in the heart of Madrid is the place where people from all parts of the city gather to take in the nature, read, jog, listen to music, take a boat ride or drink a cold beer at one of the open-air cafes. It was originally created as a royal park built in the reign of Philip IV and it was the place where royalty used to hang out. It a 320-acre park with 15,000 trees, abundant greenery, exhibition halls and palaces and of course, its focal point, the giant lake.

There are scattered marble monuments sas you wander around.

We entered by the library.

 Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez: an enclosed garden with a lot of peacocks.


La Rosaleda with more than 4000 roses. It's mid November but there are still lots of blooms.

Lots of sculptures.

Benito Pérez Galdós (May 10, 1843 – January 4, 1920) was a Spanish realist novelist. Some authorities consider him second only to Cervantes in stature as a Spanish novelist. He was the leading literary figure in 19th-century Spain.

 We continued through the park and came out by the Agriculture Museum alongside which there were a series of booksellers.

As we leave the park we are struck by this building.

The Palace of Fomento (Spanish: Palacio de Fomento), also known as the Ministry of Agriculture Building, is a nineteenth-century office building. Designed by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, it is on a prominent site opposite Atocha railway station.

We decide to stroll along one of Madrid's most iconic streets.

The Monumento a los Caídos por España (English: Monument to the Fallen for Spain), popularly known as the 'Obelisco' ("Obelisk") or the 'Monumento a los Héroes del Dos de Mayo' ("Monument to the Heroes of the Second of May"), is located in Plaza de la Lealtad, between the Madrid Stock Exchange Building and the Ritz Hotel, next to the Paseo del Prado.

The Palace Hotel (Marriot) was developed by Belgian entrepreneur Georges Marquet by personal suggestion of King Alfonso XIII. Designed by the Monnoyer Studio and architect Leon Eduard Ferrés i Puig, the 800-room Palace was the largest hotel in Europe, and was constructed with a new material: reinforced concrete. The cornerstone was laid on 9 March 1911 and the hotel was built over a period of eighteen months, welcoming its first guests on 21 September 1912.

The Palace was the first hotel in Spain (and only the second in the world) to have a bathroom in each guest room. It was also the first hotel in Spain to have a telephone in each room.

The Prado Museum is under extensive renovations.

The Prado Museum (Spanish: Museo del Prado; Spanish pronunciation: [muˈseo ðel ˈpɾaðo]) is the main Spanish national art museum. It is widely considered to have one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and the single best collection of Spanish art. Founded as a museum of paintings and sculpture in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works.

Now there's a work of art!

Statue of Velazquez in front of Prado museum

Palacio de Cibeles is on city tour
Plaza Cibeles, 1
Palacio de Cibeles or Cybele Palace is,considered one of the most magnificent buildings in Madrid.

Fuente de la Cibeles
The Cybele fountain can be seen right in front of the palace in the middle of the busy roundabout. This dramatic marble design portrays a goddess nobly sitting atop a chariot drawn by a pair of lions.

The Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square) is a central square in Madrid. It sits at the intersection of Calle de Alcalá (running from east to west), Calle de Alfonso XII (to the south), Calle de Serrano (to the north), Calle de Salustiano Olozaga (to the northwest), and the Paseo de Mexico (to the southeast, running entirely within the Buen Retiro Park). Being centred with the 18th-century gate of Puerta de Alcalá, the Plaza de la Independencia is among the important symbols of the city of Madrid.

Instituto Cervantes is the public institution created by Spain in 1991 for the promotion and teaching of the Spanish language and diffusion of the Spanish and Hispanic culture.

The Madrid headquarters of this institute is located in Alcalá street, in what is known as the “Edificio de las Cariátides” (Caryatid Building). The former head office of the Central Bank, it was designed by the architects Antonio Palacios and Joaquín Otamendi to house the historic Río de la Plata Bank.

Banco de Espana established in Madrid in 1782 by Charles III, today the bank is a member of the European System of Central Banks and is also Spain's national competent authority for banking supervision within the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

The Metropolis Building or Edificio Metrópolis (Spanish) is an office building at the corner of the Calle de Alcalá and Gran Vía. Inaugurated in 1911, it was designed by Jules and Raymond Février for the insurance company La Unión y el Fénix. It is currently owned by Metrópolis Seguros.

It is time for a break!

The view across the street, the building is being renovated. In fact the entire infrastructure of Madrid is under construction! Everywhere.

We were going to walk further but the construction was a pain so we decided to head back through the park to the hotel by the El Retiro gates at Calle de Alcala.

Close to the northern entrance of the park is the Estanque del Retiro ("Retiro Pond"), a large artificial pond. Next to it is the monument to King Alfonso XII, featuring a semicircular colonnade and an equestrian statue of the monarch on the top of a tall central core.

Since assuming its role as a public park the late 19th century, the "Parque del Retiro" has been used as a venue for various international exhibitions. Several emblematic buildings have remained as testimony to such events, including the Mining building, popularly known as the Velázquez Palace (1884) by architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, who also designed the Palacio de Cristal ("Crystal Palace"), a glass pavilion inspired by The Crystal Palace in London, undoubtedly the gardens' most extraordinary building. Built along with its artificial pond in 1887 for the Philippine Islands Exhibitions, the Palacio de Cristal was first used to display flower species indigenous to the archipelago.

This map gives you an idea of where we walked today.

Back to the hotel to put our feet up until dinner. We headed back to Parador del Jamon since we enjoyed it so much last night.

The delicious mussels and tuna tomato salad was provided but no olives, instead some cold cuts.

We asked for a small plate of cheese but somehow ended up with a regular portion.


  1. ...thanks for the wonderful tour, so much to see and eat!

  2. What a wonderful collection of photos from your visit. I'm afraid it was a bit overwhelming for me, so I admit I skipped descriptions about halfway through, enjoying just looking at the photo album!


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