Monday, November 11, 2013

Madrid, Spain 11'7'2013

This was my second time in Madrid. Usually, before going to a destination I like, I do research on where to go and cache the city's map on the Google Maps app of my phone so I can navigate. This time however, I already knew where to go and I did none of that.

Even when we were at the aircraft, we were told that there was some kind of political turmoil going on in Madrid and the city would be filled with trash all around. I disregarded the comment at first because I knew what I wanted to do in the city already.

Upon arrival in the hotel I rested for about a little over an hour and then headed out to Puerta del Sol. Going there from the hotel required two line transfers via Madrid's subway. In the subway, my friend and I were guarding each other's stuff like hawks! Because even from the first time I was here and even from the ladies at the reception of the hotel, we were constantly warned of pick pockets and the like.

Exiting Puerta del Sol, we were indeed greeted by a lot of trash and some protests...

A banner of protest right laid out right in the middle of Puerta del Sol
A protester being interviewed by what seems to be a local TV station
The symbol for Anarchy plus more graffiti and trash
Trash all over the city uncollected due to protests
It almost broke my heart to see all the trash and to feel all the angst from the people. Madrid is one of my most favourite cities, I like it more than Rome, to see it in such disarray just made me sad, regardless, we didn't go there for Puerta del Sol so we walked a few meters ahead to Plaza Mayor to have lunch.

View of the rest of the restaurants from our table.
Plaza Mayor relatively cleaner than the rest of the city.
We were glad to see Plaza Mayor clean but clearly something happened here, an event maybe, because there were a lot of lighting fixtures and stage props lying around.

We had lunch by the side of the plaza in a restaurant offering some local Spanish cuisine. With the cool weather and great food we had a very relaxed time.

Just a bottle of water, you know me.
A pint of Sangria!
A plate of Tapas. Looks mouthwatering!
A whole pan of Seafood and Chicken Paella. YUM!
After lunch we proceeded to walk to the place I wanted to go to. You see, I wanted to go the gardens of Palacio Real de Madrid because last time due to people and time constraints, I wasn't able to go. So we walked past Cathedral de la Almudena and straight on to the first park Plaza de Oriente...
Roman looking statues with Roman-Spanish names.
Beautiful autumn trees just right above a line of cafes
Statue and fountain at the centre of Plaza de Oriente.
Face of one of the fountain heads.
It was a small park but it was filled with statues and right across it were a line of quaint restaurants with a great view of the palace, we almost regretted eating in Plaza Mayor!

After Plaza de Oriente I still kept searching for the real "Palace Gardens" that I saw in the map before, and search we did, then we stumbled upon Sabatini Gardens...

The centre of Sabatini Garden right at the back of the palace.
A beautifully formed marble statue.
A small fountain surrounded by hedges.
View of the whole garden from the road above.
It was a beautiful garden located right at the back of the palace still untouched by autumn as everything was green with life. When you watch movies about Dukes and Kings of old then you'd probably see them hang out in a garden just like this! I thought to myself how nice it would be to have a personal garden just like this haha!

Remembering my mental map however, this was still not the "Palace Gardens" I was searching for because the garden I wanted to go to was at the side of the palace not at the back. So we went out and around the huge block of the palace complex, feeling a bit tired we were happy to be rewarded with a view of the entrance to Campo del Moro...

The view to the entrance of Campo del Moro.
It was a grand and magnificent garden filled with beautiful autumn trees and a dual ascending path leading straight to the palace. The whole park itself extends across from Almudena to the Palace and the edge of Sabatini. It was that huge and it was a pleasure exploring its grounds...

Pathway leading east of the gardens.
Some flora growing by the side of the garden pathway.
Beautiful autumn colours, a great contrast from the previous parks.
Wouldn't you love to just sit here, take in the beauty of the place and perhaps read a book?
My favourite photo. A great showcase of the changing season.
We walked throughout the entire place and rested by a bench that we found on the side. We talked and admired the place for a few minutes and then we heard a loud sound coming from the trees...

Birds suddenly came out of the trees and started circling above us.
The noise were birds rushing out of the trees, gathering right above us preparing to migrate to warmer places, it was a most beautifully humbling sight, an accidental blessing that really was the cherry on top of the ice cream that was our already beautiful day.

After resting we walked back to Puerta del Sol in the middle of walking we were so tired that we rested again, then I took this picture...

View of the moon right above us.
Seeing this made me reflect how happy I was at that moment. How far I've come and how beautiful life can be. Admiring everything around me and all that is, made me feel relaxed and energised for future endeavours.

Walking towards Puerta del Sol we looked at stuff to buy, bought some dinner to take back to the hotel and then I encountered these little peculiar brand of chocolate candy bars...

Filipinos brand chocolate candy bars!
My jaw dropped, I didn't know what to think or feel? Was it good? Was it bad? Was it a colonial thing? Was it unintended? Does the word mean something completely different in spanish? Regardless I did not buy it, I was already feeling sick and the last thing my throat and tonsils needed were something sweet, I would however buy it the next time when I'm feeling better, I'll try all the flavours!

Overall It was a very nice, albeit, short stay in Madrid so many unintended blessings passed our way and the best part was I only spent 35EUR and it's the 35EUR left over from my trip to Rome a few months ago! So I didn't exchange any money! Yey! Haha

This is my first official post, a preview of things to come, hope you guys actually read it hahaha. Sorry if the photos are small, I really don't want to post the full size and quality of any of my pictures.

The complete set of pictures can be found on my Facebook account!

Until my next trip, Adios!