Madrid, the capital of Spain holds a connection that I was only slightly aware of. Over the coming four days I was to realise how significant a role this city has played in the Blythe family life.
I board the plane at Heathrow, thinking that I should have been preparing myself for running the 40th Madrid marathon. Unfortunately a knee injury has made sure I won’t be taking part. Lydia is however keen to take my place and show me around.
From the airport we head to our apartment in Chueca, right in the heart of the city. The old streets lined with bars, cafe’s, shops and the occasional rainbow flag. Happy with our choice of location, we head out for a look around.
We walk towards the Plaza de Cibeles, a gothic palace and fountain and a sign fluttering with the words “refugees welcome”. A warm message in the current politica climate. On this occasion, there appears to be no refugees around. Still a wonderful gesture.
Onwards we walk up the Grande Via. This is the city’s main tourist road with the iconic Metropolis building and its domed crown in front of us. I take a photo and we move on to the Puerto Del Sol. The area is full of people just hanging around, I am unsure what is going on, but we stop and take more photo’s by the statue of the bear and the strawberry tree. The image also being the Madrid coat of arms. On closer inspection this area also has km0, the place where all Spanish roads are measured to..
We walk further to the Plaza Mayor to see the central plaza of Madrid. Around the outside under the arches are many cafe’s and bar’s and Philip III statue takes pride of place in the centre. We stop for a deserved coffee and I reflect on all that I have seen.
The following day we continue with the sight seeing, from the Royal Palace of Madrid and its 18th century grandure , to the Temple of Debod moved piece by piece from Aswan to the current location in central Madrid and on to the Buen Retiro Park. The Retiro is a spectacular park with a boating lake, rose gardens, fountains and statues and a must for anyone who visits this city
The evening comprises of beers in the Plaza Mayor and the Market of San Miguel. I stumble back to the apartment at 3am and the city is still alive with revelers.
The highlight of the following day was taking in the views of Mardid from the rooftop terrace at the Circulo de la Bellas Artes. From the patio area you can see the whole city, the avenues, the statues, the buildings, and the green spaces, not forgetting the skyscrapers Cuatro Torres. What trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the museum, we visit the Museo Reina Sofia to see Picasso’s Guernica and stare in admiration at such a piece of art. I learnt however that I prefer the work of of Salvador Dali.
The final day is the Madrid Marathon, and was glad to be watching ranther than running.
Hasta pronto Madrid