Such is the nature of my job – and of bus tours – my first trip to Spain’s capital was all too brief. Over nine days, my “Best of Spain” tour will cover seven cities so there’s only really one full day to “discover” Madrid.
I arrived a day early, in order to recover a little from the 34 hour journey from my Brisbane home to my Madrid hotel. That’s including connection times in Singapore and Dubai…but still, it’s a long and tiring haul.
I spent the first day wandering the city’s historic centre. A short Metro ride from the hotel and I was in Plaza Mayor, dodging buskers and spruikers but enjoying the feeling of finally getting to this lovely city. I also squeezed my way through the packed Mercardo de San Miguel, local “markets” where delectable tapa dishes are washed down with crisp wines by a mix of fashionistas, business people and tourists. It’s buzzing and bustling and filled with the aroma of good food. In the streets, too, I pop in and out of shops selling an array of cured meats, cheeses and other delicacies.
The next day, when my tour group had all arrived, we had a quick tour of the city aboard the bus and spent a couple of hours at the Prado Museum. If you are a fan of European art, this is the place to find some of the best. As I wandered, still in something of a jetlag haze, behind our local guide Angie, I gazed on the highlights of the permanent collection, which includes big names such as Goya, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Caravaggio and of course El Greco.
Seeing so little of the city, of course, gives me an incentive to return one day. Meanwhile, here are a few photos from my brief stop in Madrid.
A Glass Half Full travelled to Spain as a guest of Globus.