12/6/14 Madrid in a day. On my last day in Spain, I took a trip on the high-speed train out to Madrid. I went on a great walking tour of old Madrid and spent a couple of hours in el Museo Nacional del Prado.
1 On my last full day in Spain, I headed out to Madrid. It’s about a 3 hour trip from Barcelona on the AVE high-speed train. The train is really smooth, very comfortable inside, and reached speeds of 300kph (186mph), which they show on a display in the cabin.
2 The great architecture starts as soon as you walk out of the Atocha train station. This is the Ministerio de Agricultura building.
3 Entrance to Real Jardén Botánico.
4 Museo del Prado.
5 Entrance to the musuem. I spent almost two hours inside and got a pretty good overview of the collection. The museum is definitely impressive, as is the size of the collection. But the art itself didn't really appeal to me. There were almost zero paintings of the outdoors! Carlos de Haes was my favorite of what I saw.
6 Iglesia de los Jerónimos, a cool looking little church behind the museum.
7 Palacio de Cibeles, the City Hall of Madrid.
8 Closer look at the palace.
9 The fountain in the Plaza del Cibeles.
10 The famous Puerta de Alcalá built in the late 1700s.
11 Entrance to Parque del Buen Retiro, the large central park in Madrid.
12 The park was a highlight of the city for me.
13 Monumento a Alfonso XII on the Estanque in the middle of the park.
14 Large church across the street from the park.
15 The Monumento a Alfonso XII.
16 Closer look at the statue.
17 There are water features running througout the park. A far cry from the cascades in the Pyrenees. Unfortunately, this is probably the closest thing to a real cascade that many people here will ever see.
18 Statues and fountains throughout the park.
19 Palacio de Cristal.
20 Fountains and flowers.
21 Leaving the park now. More cool architecture on the Calle de Alcalá.
22 In the background is what was once the tallest building in Madrid, just off Calle de Alcalá.
23 Plaza del Sol. An outdoor shopping mall and flea market. Think the Irvine Spectrum a century ago. Unbeknownst to me, today was a National holiday in Spain. Combined with the holiday season, that meant big crowds.
24 And I mean really big crowds. The densest sea of humanity I have ever been in. I had to walk all the way up this street to my next destination. It definitely slowed down the sightseeing, but was a great experience.
25 Some very interseting street performers along the way.
26 Palacio Real de Madrid, official residence of the Spanish royal family (they evidently do not actually live here). It's an impressive building though!
27 Another view of the front of the palace.
28 The Northern side.
29 And the Southern side looking across the Plaza de la Amería.
30 Catedral de Nuestra Señora.
31 Inside the cathedral. It's an awesome cathedral, though not quite as impactful for me as Montserrat.
32 A look at the altar.
33 The ceiling is amazing.
34 Looking towards the back of the cathedral.
35 The pipe organ was playing while I was here, and a service was just about to begin (tourists were asked to leave if they weren't participating).
36 Casa de la Villa.
37 Plaza Mayor. Back into the outdoor market, festival, and sea of humanity. I was beginning to get worried about making it back to the station in time for my train. I was supposed to be on the last train out of Madrid for the night.
38 Some of the street performers at Plaza Mayor were a little creepy. Fortunately, I managed to make it back to the train station in time and return to Barcelona to end my whirlwind tour of Madrid.
For best performance, you can view the video on YouTube.