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Friday, August 31, 2012

Madrid, Spain.



Day 2 - Madrid

Madrid, Hotel Villareal

Monday, 27 August 2012
This morning we enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the hotel before we ventured out to explore Madrid ourselves. We found the Madrid "Hop On - Hop Off" bus and started on the first of the two routes which takes you all around the city of Madrid. The weather was beautiful, nice and hot but not too hot, and still warm at night. Even though it got to around 35 degrees plus, it didn't feel that hot because of the low humidity, and we even sat at the top of the open-air bus, (better for photo taking anyhow).
Our first impressions of Madrid are that it is very beautiful, neat and architecturally pleasing both with the old and the modern styles. Despite a very few places seeming to be closed down, probably due to economic crisis, nearly everything has been kept in excellent order, nothing has been left to fall into disrepair. Also, the many gardens are neat and extremely green despite the hot weather.
Unfortunately we had to find a McDonalds and a Starbucks in order to use wifi because the hotel's internet service sucks.
We met up this evening for drinks with our fellow travelers and Tour Director, Jauvier (pronounced Ugh-veer)!
After the meeting we got on the Hop On Hop Off bus again and hoped to do the night tour at 10pm. Unfortunately being near the end of the queue after 2 bus loads we missed out and were a bit peeved because they'd sent other people away knowing they wouldn't fit in the bus, but didn't tell us. Consequently we wasted 20 minutes waiting only to be knocked back at the last minute. We don't know why they didn't just run a third bus at night, after all there were about 10 running in the day and they all finished around 10pm except the two allocated. Oh well.

The route of our Scenic Tour!
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Madrid
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The Palacio de Cibeles.
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The Bank of Spain.
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Casa de America.
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A church.
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Entrance to the Parque del Retiro, a huge city par
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Photo 1
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Plaza de Cibeles, the most important square in Mad
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Photo 2
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Photo 3
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Location of the Templo de Debod, Spain organized a
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Pretty buildings.
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Ornate residential building.
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Parque de la Montana
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Typical middle class apartment.
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Cathedral de la Almudena.
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Jason enjoying the sights from the "Hop on, Hop of
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Offices and Bank of Spain.
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Bank of Spain.
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This and another chariot sit on top of this office
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Looking across to the outskirts of Madrid.
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Puerta de Toledo, one of the original gates to the
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San Francisco el Grande, a neo-classical style chu
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Photo 4
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Typical street scene.
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Photo 5
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Photo 6
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Puerta de Sol, said to be the centre of Madrid and
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Photo 7
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Another really old church!
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Photo 8
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Photo 9
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A modern building in Madrid!
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The Palace at night!
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A local shop, not sure what they were selling thou
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A beautifully lit up building.
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Our hotel, it doesn't look so pretty but it was in
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A nice looking hotel.
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A building located in Plaza de Santa Ana, many peo
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Local restaurant, the scenes either side of the do
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Day 3 - Touring Madrid

Madrid, Casa de Campo, Plaza Mayor of Madrid, Puerto Del Sol, Plaza De Espana

Tuesday, 28 August 2012
This morning at 9am our Scenic tour began. We met everyone (30) in the hotel foyer before we boarded our very new and luxurious, high up, leather seated bus. We were taken around the city to (mostly) all the places we'd now already seen, plus, the parkland entertainment centre of Casa de Campo, Plaza Mayor, the bustling Puerto del Sol and the Plaza de Espana. We learned that at least 30 per cent of Madrid is dedicated to Parkland and greenery. As well as numerous small green areas, it has at least three huge parklands (hectares) within the city! Maintenance is done regularly and the gardens are watered and well cared for.
We then visited one of the world's greatest art galleries, The Prado. This did get a bit long-winded, listening to the ramblings and finite detail about why the artist painted in a particular way etc, etc...And of the history of the many paintings by Goya. So by 1.30pm when it was all over we were more than ready for lunch and our own free time.
Jason went down to Starbucks for Internet and I stayed in the room, then he met some of the blokes who found cheap beer. An hour or so later he came back a happy chap!
(FB,HD)

Plaza de Toros, Madrid's bullfighting ring!
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Not a great photo but this shows the extent of the
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Poster advertising the next bullfighting shows/cha
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This monument is located out the front of the bull
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Modern high rise, of which there aren't many (abou
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Madrid's Rugby stadium.
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Even this looks aesthetically pleasing.
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Lladro shop in Madrid - Lladro originated in Spain
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Historical merry-go-round in the Salamanca distric
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Monument to Christopher Columbus at Plaza de Colon
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Palacio Real, construction began in 1738.
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Close up, showing the detailed sculpture.
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Around the corner of Palacio Real. There is a lar
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Catedral de la Almudena, work began in 1883 and wa
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Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) and lovely gardens.
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Our tour group.
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Interesting ways to make a euro!
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Pinnochio Store.
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Plaza de la Villa
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Original town hall and jail at Plaza de la Villa.
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Casa de la Villa, renovated original house from me
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One of the entrances to the Plaza Mayor!
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Plaza Mayor or main square. The first building th
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This glass-bricked cylindrical building is a monum
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Interesting tile work on the corner of the buildin
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Statue of Goya, one of the most renowned artists o
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