Hey guys. Now it’s on to the 2nd stop of our journey, which is Madrid.
From Barcelona to Madrid, it takes about 2 1/2 hours on the train. Madrid is colder than most parts of Spain. At night, it drops to 5-10 degrees, while in the daytime temperatures are around 14 degrees. The winds are chilly, so I suggest wearing a comfortable jacket, heat packs and a scarf.
Unlike Barcelona, Madrid is really like a cityscape. It doesn’t have as many historical elements to it, but it is rich in museums! The touring that we did was on a bus, and we stayed there for one day.
Information & Traveling Tips
Madrid is the capital city, and one of the wealthiest regions of Spain. It has a population of 4.5 million, and they are mostly Catholics. Even within the city, there is a cathedral present for people to attend masses to worship.
We spent the afternoon on tour in a bus. The business district mostly consisted of tall skyscrapers, while along the way we spotted some buildings of significance, such as the Royal Palace & the Garden Parks. In a distance, the gardens were painted in a rich array of orange and red, depicting the season of Autumn and the impending Winter.
We passed by several monuments, from historical buildings to museums and parliament buildings. This was one of the royal residences.
The guide from Julia Travels wasn’t as engaging as we thought, so another tip: Maybe, taking free and easy instead of tour for Madrid would be good.
When we were released from the Tour, we decided to explore the city on our own. The City Square is bustling and full of activity, with colourful mascots walking around dressed in various costumes.We saw people dressing up as the Predator creature from that sci-fi series, and people painting themselves in colours of gold and silver to look like Bronze statues.
Besides that, we decided to venture to the San Miguel market, which is not a stop to miss!!!
San Miguel is similar to a place called Pasarbella in Singapore, where there are many stalls selling different kinds of mini bites. There are wide varieties of food, ranging from biscuits, tapas (and wine) to paella!
The most memorable tappas were the ones that we bought from this winery shop. It seems like a favourite custom of the Spanish people to enjoy a glass a wine to accompany their tapas.
People here also appreciate bull-fighting. There is a ring that is dedicated to bull fighting. People used to kill the bull during this process, but thankfully it has become banned in certain regions of Spain.
People here also appreciate the arts greatly, and thus visiting a museum here is worthwhile. We visited the famous Museo National de Prado, and it certainly did not disappoint. The portraits ranged from Spanish to Italian, and they often depicted Biblical eras and events.
There were stern and solid portraits of the Royal Family, and various ones that had deeper intricate meanings. One memorable painting was scene of a skeleton holding a watch. Its bony fingers were clutched around an aged woman, whom in turn was grasping onto a young maiden at the prime of her youth. The skeleton’s bony fingers held a watch, which meant to depict time. The skeleton represented Death, and it was trying to seize the elderly woman and take her to her fate. In turn, the gesture of her grasping onto the maiden represented the parting of beauty and youth, and that beauty faded over time.
Besides the intricate ones, there were portraits depicting myths, one of which showed a lady dying from a pack of vicious dogs eating her heart.
Apparently the story goes as she had fled from a man whom had asked for her hand in marriage. In anger, he pursued her day and night, and when he finally caught up with her he tore open her heart and threw it to the dogs.
There are many artists that were in the museum, trying to recapture some of these old paintings’ beauty on their old canvas. And their imitations of the paintings were a beautiful effort.
Next up, Seville!