I’ve officially been here for a week!! Honestly it feels like I have been living here my whole life. I can’t believe how much I got accomplished as far as sightseeing goes and there is still so much more to see. Here’s a quick update on what I saw!
Tuesday was my first day out and about in Madrid. Now keep in mind that I’ve been here before and saw most of the tourist attractions already. I live right across El Retiro so right away in the morning I went with my host family to explore the park. El Retiro is one of the most amazing city parks that I have ever seen. No cars except for police and park maintenance are allowed so it makes for the perfect pedestrian zone where there are many pathways making walking, jogging, and bike riding very safe.
While admiring the creeks and beautiful flowers within, look up to see the statues of some of the important characters of Spain’s history and really think about how it came to become the country it is today. Down from the Puerta de Acala on the Paseo de Colombia you’ll see the beautiful Monumento a Alfonso XII that overlooks the magnificent manmade lake where you can rent a small boat to make your way around the waterway to have a front row seat to the monument.
Wednesday was my big day for exploration. I met up with a friend and we conquered the city of Madrid (mostly on foot which was crazy) from the West to the East. First we hit Gran Via, Madrid’s most famous street. On Gran Via one of the main buildings is Palacio de Communicaciones and the famous Plaza de la Cibeles one of Madrid’s most famous monuments. We walked straight to the Circulo de Bellas Artes where you pay just 4 euros to take the stairs to the top of the building to overlook the entire city of Madrid. It’s amazing and when you’re here it’s a must!
Next stop El Palacio Real and El Catedral de la Amudena. Since I have been here before in 2010 I did not go inside but I do plan on going back because I can’t find my photos from that trip. With over 3,400 this makes it Europe’s largest palace by floor area. King Philip the V (France’s King Louis the XIV) wanted to make it his own version of Versaille and the architects did not disappoint in my opinion. The Catedral de la Amudena with it’s grey and white facade and black dome perfectly pairs with the Royal Palace
After we toured the grounds of the palace we headed over to the Templo de Debod which was a gift from Egypt in 1968. It is a remarkable sight and even though I saw it during day time I recommend people to see it during sunset or sunrise.
Last stop on the walking excursion of Madrid was La Plaza de España. I very faintly remember the statue on this plaza which is dedicated to Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes So I am glad I got the chance to see it again. Cervantes wrote the Spanish classic Don Quixote who, along with his partner Sancho Panza, are both included as bronze sculptures in front of the stone sculpture of Cervantes.
And that wraps up day one of adventure. Now for La Puerta del Sol y Plaza Mayor