A lazy start the 2nd day (30th March 2014) to explore the city. Since B had the itinerary already planned out in detail, we used it as the source and went with it. So after a breakfast in the Cafe and Te restaurant next to the hotel, we started walking via Calle de Alcalá to our first stop – Museo del Prado. We took the route via Paseo del Prado seeing Plaza de Cibeles, a slightly longer route to go to the Museum, but the weather was very cool and was fun to walk.
After walking around the park parallel to Plaza de Cibeles, we finally reached the Museum. There is a Cathedral on the other side.
Since we aren’t allowed camera’s or any big backpacks inside the museum, we have to leave them in the locker there and with the help of a guide book, went inside to explore the well known museum of Madrid. If you are interested in Art , more of paintings and sculptures then you will enjoy this place a lot. You have different rooms for each specific artist. Like we have three to four rooms dedicated for Goya and his paintings, similarly for El Greco, Velázquez etc. Each painting has its own descriptions, but if you get the guide book, that would give you more information. It has paintings of British, Spanish, French, Italian and Netherlandish origins. And it definitely takes a LOT of time to wander from one end to other and even complete a one section, if you stand for each painting.
There were also many school groups that had come and we also a person disguised as an animal (I don’t remember which one that was), explaining very small kids with stories about some paintings with their parents enjoying the show.
Each room looks like this.
We spent almost the first part of the day roaming around and trying to cover as much as possible (which is definitely not possible in a day). There were also additional exhibitions for that week. After covering it as much our legs could hold , we decided to have our lunch in the Cafe inside the museum. It was a huge one and had a lot of variety for us vegetarians 🙂
After that we walked our way to Buen Retiro Park, which was not in our plan. Our initial plan was to go to Puerta del Sol and then go to Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (which we never made it at all). It got cancelled because the monastery closes by 3 pm and we were already running late. So we decided that we will go through Retiro Park and enjoy our leisure time there.
It is definitely not a small one. We walked all our way to the lake where we have the Monument to Alfonso XII.
A and C rested for a while there, where as B and myself went around the lake to the other side for some photographs and to do a bit more exploring. After going to the other side and taking some snaps we walked back to check out the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace). But before reaching there we found a Palacio de Velázquez where some modern art exhibition was being hosted. After a quick look around (I am not that fond of modern art where I have to deduce something from a few lines drawn. Ain’t that smart) I almost dragged B out (he was inclined to stand and stare a few more minutes) and we headed to the Crystal Palace, where A and C were joined us.
The Crystal Palace is very beautiful to look. It had all these chairs (rocker’s) with a classic novel (in Spanish) attached to it so that people can sit and rock and read book 🙂 Way too cool. The one I got in my chair was H. G Well’s Time Machine. And I did not understand a single word of it except for the title 😉
After that we walked around back to the lake to go to the other side, but were distracted by musicians playing there. We sat there for these two wonderful ladies playing some wonderful English songs for us, which we could identify. With the clouds coming and going and a light drizzle at times, it was wonderful just to be there, enjoy the music and relax.
After that we walked around the entire stretch to come to Puerta de Alcalá to take the metro to Puerta del Sol. It is a plaza where people gather around and we have so many people busking, it is wonderful to watch and not to mention the too many police personnel watching over the place.
After roaming around the place and checking out the various small roads going in and about we decided to have coffee in another Cafe and Te restaurant inside one of the lanes. C ordered for churrios with A going for some hot chocolate, which got shared among the four.
After the evening snacks we walked back to our hotel, which is again a 2-3 min walk from Puerta del Sol and took some rest for our outing at night. We started after 8.30 pm or so to have our dinner in one of the restaurants in Calle Montera and then walked along Gran Via to go our place for Flamenco Las Tablas Initially we decided we will take the metro, because my leg was not cooperating with my heavy shoes and it was swollen a bit. But then considering that it was a very small distance and we nearly had to walk half the way to the metro we decided to walk our way slowly. We walked through Gran Via and turned left to Plaza de Espana (where there was a beautiful fountain) and then cross that to get to the Flamenco place (Cost was 27 Euros per person).
Enjoyed the Flamenco with a glass of Wine till it was almost midnight and we walked all our way back to the hotel passing by the almost empty streets. In spite of my apprehensions, I did feel good after the walk. We had planned for Tapas hopping, but went against it because we were pretty full with the late evening snacks and so just had dinner and went for the show. By the time we reached back our hotel, I was dead tired and slept very well.