Sunday, December 8, 2013

Madrid, Spain 12'01'2013

This is long overdue. The photos I shot at this trip were almost all bad. I had to delete a lot and I even upgraded from iPhoto to Aperture to fix some. Oh well I'm still learning anyway. I'll do better next time.

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I was conflicted on where to go on this trip to Madrid. I wanted buy a sandwich and tea in Puerta del Sol and go straight to Campo del Moro and relax in its beautiful gardens and breathe in the cool fresh air. On the other hand, I wanted to go to Parco del Buen Retiro because it is the largest urban park in Madrid and I have never been there before. In the end, I chose Parco del Buen Retiro. I knew I would miss Campo del Moro.

We left the hotel at high noon, exactly twelve, the sun was shining intensely and there was no single cloud in sight, the winter winds were blowing and the sky was gracing us with its beautiful dark vivid blue. Straight ahead, we went for Retiro Station.


Puerta de Alcala in Plaza Independencia directly west out of Retiro Station.
Restaurants right across the road from Puerta del Alcala.
A lady looking directly into my camera while I was trying to shoot the street.
Going out of Retiro station, you would immediately see Parco del Buen Retiro but look to the west and you'll see Puerta de Alcala in Plaza Independencia and right around Plaza Independencia, there were numerous restaurants, We ate in one calle Harina. It was a sandwicherie and patisserie...


A teapot with something that is not tea inside.
Roast beef sandwich with various sauces and herbs.
For me, just water again.
After getting the energy to walk. We went to enter Perco del Buen Retiro. Right at the entrance, in my head, I was immediately almost regretting that I chose that place. I told myself that Campo del Moro was infinitely more beautiful and so I tried desperately to find a justification of me being there. We walked straight until we reached Estanque del Retiro a huge artificial pond. Right next to it was Monumento de Alfonso XII de España, when I saw it, my being there was a tad bit justified...

Statue of King Alfonso XII of Spain. 
People basking in the high sun beneath the monument of King Alfonso XII.
The Monument of King Alfonso XII of Spain. The sky is a beautiful deep vivid blue.
The eastern statue at the central entrance of the monument. 
The western statue at the central entrance to the monument.
Although I would love to have shown you more, I deleted most of the pictures I had at this part of my trip due to reasons I will not say.

The monument is beautiful and romanesque, typical of most spanish architecture. I wanted to stay there and relax but the sun was in direct view of the monument and I had neither sunscreen nor my sunglasses, plus, my skin was starting to feel painful. The sun really had a strange and fierce brightness to it, totally different from the tropics or the desert. And with all the brightness from the sun and cloudless sky you'd expect it to be a bit warm, but no, it was frigid.

Heading out, we went to another monument, this time it was called Monumento a Arsenio Martinez-Campos...


Path leading to Monumento a Arsenio Martinez-Campos.
Back view of the monument against the orange leaves and blue sky.
Side view of the monument.
We rested by the monument for a few minutes before looking at the map where to go. Then I remembered I wanted to see Palacio de Cristal...

Palacio de Cristal
The small pond in front of the palace.
View from the entrance of the palace overlooking the pond.
Inside Palacio de Cristal.
I must admit I was somewhat disappointed with the palace because what I had in mind was something like the ruined Crystal Palace of London. I imagined it to be this huge grand palace made of glass with many stores and people shopping inside... but no. Palacio de Cristal was essentially a small but very intricately detailed empty normal garden greenhouse. It was warm inside so I was happy nonetheless.

After that brief disappointed we went out to relax by the pond where we saw ducks and swans being fed various stuff by the local folks...

Ducks!
Black Swans.
It was my first time seeing ducks that were colored exactly like the ones I saw in cartoons as a kid. I was ecstatic to say the least when i saw them haha. Black swans however, I saw lots of them in Chengdu, China before so I was ok.

After Palacio de Cristal we just roamed the rest of the park. There was this one part where we saw peacocks grazing!

A girl feeding the peacocks.

A peacock with a particularly beautiful deep blue shade of neck feathers.
I was happy to see the peacocks grazing. Too bad they didn't have their tail feathers out because their tail feathers weren't there anymore, clearly, they were plucked by someone for some sort of profit. Poor peacocks.

After the peacocks we headed for the exit, but we were distracted by a small cafe selling well, hot drinks. We were cold, tired, and sleepy. We needed refreshments so we got Churros con Chocolate.

Churros con Chocolate.
A ravenous bird.
It was a very relaxing moment. Sitting there in the middle of the huge park eating churros dipped in thick hot chocolate while being cooled by the winter winds. I didn't want to leave! Until, the ravenous birds came.

It was one of the most common, if not THE most common bird in the Philippines and I was surprised to see them in Madrid. In the Philippines they're called "Maya" but more properly the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

They were like flying rats! I was frustrated that they were really trying to get up close and personal with our churros because they didn't behave like that in the Philippines. They were like huge flies hanging around our table constantly coming back even when we were trying to fend them off, it was crazy!

We finished our churros leaving nothing for the birds. HAH!

After that we headed to the train station to go to Puerta del Sol. But we stopped again because I wanted to take these pictures...

Side view of the Monumento de Alfonso XII de España.
Front view of the Monumento de Alfonso XII de España.
The sun was finally setting and the light over the monument of King Alfonso XII versus the brown orange trees and still very blue sky was just too good for me to pass up I hope I did it justice.

So we went to the train station headed for Sol and I was very happy to see that after a few weeks it was finally clean again! *yey* remember it was full of uncollected trash a few weeks ago.

I was even happier to see that christmas season has fallen upon the place and everything around were lit up and decorated for the season. Especially in Plaza Mayor...

Stuffed hats! Cute!
Merry-Go-Round in the middle of Plaza Mayor. 
"Only Happens At Christmas" 
Lights above and beside the exit of Plaza Mayor
Apparently these extended up to Plaza de Oriente. But It was getting late so we just headed for Mercado de San Miguel to eat some snacks, buy food and then head back to the hotel.

Mercado de San Miguel
Sausages meant to be eaten like french fries!
Cocktail snacks.
Arros Negre made from squid/cuttlesfish ink of course
Overall it was a tiring but fun experience. However, I really missed Campo del Moro. Next time I fly to Madrid, I'll head straight there, just relax, and have a picnic by myself or with someone or with a book.

Until my next trip, Adios!