Monday, February 16, 2004

Madrid, Spain--Day 17

Today I had a surprisingly hard time getting up but I made it out of bed and was out to see the sights of Madrid not too long afterwards but first I stopped and had breakfast at a cafĂ© near my hotel and then set off on a walking tour of Madrid. Then I followed my map down towards the Royal Palace of Madrid, although I have to admit that wasn’t quite where I was first headed! On my way I ran into some really neat gardens called the Campo del Moro which are laid out in a sort of English style with a nice fountain in the middle and statutes all around the fountain.

Out of the gardens I found myself in the Plaza de Oriente which has a huge statue of Felipe IV, as well as several other statues of various kings and queens of Spain. The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) was right nearby and over the next hour or so I took an audio tour of the rooms (there are 2800 in all, however you are only allowed in just a few). The Spanish King still considers the Palace to be his official residence. It was really beautiful and each room was quite ordinate and impressive.

After touring the Palace and the adjoining gardens I walked next door to the cathedral and looked around there, and then headed down the street past the Royal Armory towards the Basilica de San Francisco el Grande (which I found to be closed) and then I wandered quite a ways until I realized that I was in the opposite direction that I wanted to be in so I took the Subway towards the Plaza Mayor which is more in the center of Madrid.

I ended up in Puerta del Sol, which is the most central point in Madrid in hopes to find the Plaza Mayor (a really big plaza, hence the name) but after walking for a while I could not find it. Instead I walked through the streets and through several shops until I came to the Plaza de Indepencia which is surrounded by very impressive buildings, including the Post Office. I then walked into the Parque de Buen Retiro which is Madrid’s large park. In the park are several huge monuments and statues, all of which were really spectacular but by this time I was getting really cold and becoming dark so after about an hour I decided to return back to my hotel via the Subway near the park.

I returned to the hotel for a bit and then headed out to get some dinner before going to another movie! On my way I passed the Templo de Debod which is an Egyptian temple (the only one in Spain) and finally found the theater that I was looking for and food nearby. This time I saw a British movie called “All or Nothing” which was also pretty good and equally as emotional as “21 Grams,” but this time the movie was in English. Then it was back to the hotel and sleep for me!

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.