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Before Xmas my better half & I went for our annual eoy trip – this time to Madrid. We looked forward to some days in Southern Europe w/ blue skies, sunshine … The photo shows exactly this heavenly sky together w/ one of Madrid’s iconic buildings, however, we only experienced this fine weather for quite a short period. Most of the time it was cloudy, drizzling, rainy, hard raining, stormy. Nevertheless we had some relaxing & interesting days at Madrid. (Weather can never beat us!)
For the record:
Yes – I know: Xmas is long gone & almost forgotten. All Xmas trees found their way to the compost pile or into the fireplace or to the organic waste bin or wherever. All presents are stored away or in use or returned or whatever. All Xmas decorations are saved for next Xmas … Okay – in our backyard there are some lights left to bring some nice sparkling brightness into the dark. It gets still dark about 5 pm & dark only vanishes about 8 am – oh, what do I long for end of March when daylight saving time starts … Whatever, I thought some memories of Madrid before Xmas won’t hurt even if it’s January now.
Here are our reliable travel guides*:
Were there any Xmas trees in Madrid?
Yes – like this (see below). All over the city we found these majestic cones glittering & sparkling w/ lights, decorated w/ white or red ribbons or balls or whatever. Some examples follow in this post.
When was our last trip to Madrid?
It turned out that we were in Madrid about 20 years ago – a long time back. Then – I remembered vividly – I was very keen to contemplate the Majas (i. e. Goya’s la maja desnuda & la maja vestida) which was mainly driven by the myths hovering around the origin of the paintings & the model. Unfortunately then both paintings were traveling to a special exhibition somewhere …
… but now …
Voilà: this time we were successful.
(Keeping in mind the rainy weather it became obvious that we preferred in-house visiting trips.)
The Museo Nacional del Prado was a great experience.
Besides the hours in the Prado we also walked to the Palacio Real. In front of the palace we found one of the characteristic Xmas trees. Unfortunately we never managed to admire it when glittering in the dark,
Slowly we approached one of the largest palaces in Europe w/ 3,418 rooms. It’ll take you some hours to cover the grounds inside & outside.
It was mid of December – so there weren’t any big crowds of tourists around.
Queen Isabella & King Ferdinand created the basis for Spain & the Spanish colonial empire not least because they funded Christopher Columbus’ adventures leading him to America.
The palace is full of exquisite pieces – unfortunately there is a very restrictively management concerning photography.
Vis-à-vis of the palace is the cathedral, Santa María la Real de La Almudena. (This is a usual arrangement comfortable for the royal family – you’ll find it all over Europe.)
It took about 500 years to complete the cathedral. It is an interesting mix of delicate & gorgeous features as well as very simple & clear designs.
… & the sky just got darker preparing for the next shower!
Sometimes I’m besotted w/ lions. (Last time it was when my better half & I stayed in Venice …) Here are some fine lions from Madrid.
You’ll find them outside as well as inside …
… watching over buildings as well as statues.
Finally: people & traffic jam & Xmas decoration on Gran Via, the main strolling & shopping area in Madrid.
Another Xmas tree … & Xmas decoration … rainy alleyways …
These alleyways are very nice for walking, window-shopping, having a coffee or a glass of wine, some pastries … watching all the busy shoppers.
Plaza Mayor w/ the Xmas market … (a rather small affair!).
… & more iconic buildings … & these narrow balconies …
What to eat in Madrid?
Of course: Tapas.
Our favorites are Tortilla, Boquerones, Jamon Iberico & these small spicy meatballs … especially Jamon Iberico – my mouth waters when remembering these small shops w/ dozens of cured legs of hogs.
… & then there was only „Good Bye“ left to say!
Once again out reliable travel companions*: