Early morning flight Liverpool-Madrid on 27/6/18
[*] Check into hotel (https://secure.ibis.com/store/index...0 ... w.ibis.com)
[*] Tourist Day for rest of day
[*] Parque de Attractiones de Madrid (28/6/18)
[*] Parque Warner (29/6/18)
[*] Another tourist day in Madrid (30/6/18)
[*] Train to Zaragoza (1/7/18)
[*] (International Science Week Zaragoza (1-7/7/18))
[*] Parque de Attractiones de Zaragoza (7/7/18) with train to Barcelona that evening.
[*] Check into Hotel (https://secure.ibis.com/store/index...a ... w.ibis.com)
[*] Tibidabo (8/7/18)
[*] Tourist Day in Barcelona (9/7/18)
[*] Port Aventura (10-12/7/18)
[*] Late night flight back to Liverpool from Barcelona (12/7/18)
Day 1 – Madrid Royal Palace and Old Town (27/6/18)
Trip started with a 6am Easyjet flight to Madrid out of Liverpool airport. Airport experience was smooth except for the fact the gate supposedly closed at 5:50am but didn’t even open till 5:40am! By pure luck, I did end up sat right outside the gate while waiting for gate to be announced. This meant I was first in the queue to get on the plane!
Me on the plane while waiting for everyone else to board.
Once on the plane, flight went smoothly and landed in Madrid on time. Bit of faff at the airport as wasn’t sure where to find where to buy the unlimited travel pass for the Metro. Eventually found that and was straight onto the Metro to my hotel. Ended up at the hotel 30mins before check-in time so used that time to sort myself out and get on the hotel Wi-Fi. Once checked in, I dumped my bags and straight into the city centre aiming for the Royal Palace. Walking out of Opera Metro station and seeing Madrid City Centre was one of the few ‘Wow’ moments I’ve had recently. While I was expecting nice architecture, I wasn’t expecting how nice it was and set me in good spirits for the rest of the trip.
I then wandered over to the Royal Palace and Cathedral, still enjoying the local architecture. Ended up walking through a formal gardens style area on the way.
Before going into the Cathedral Museum, I decided to take a look at the view from the plaza area to find you can quite clearly see Parque de Attraciones from there! Was a rather unexpected bonus as didn’t realise how close to the city centre the park is! Roll on day 2 when I planned to be at the park!
After that excitement, I utilised my student discount to get a discounted ticket into the Cathedral Museum. I’m not religious so wasn’t fussed about the history of the building, I just knew this would allow me up to the top of the dome of the cathedral for the view. As expected, the view was fantastic and I took many photos:
(Soon Abismo, Soon...)
(Can’t remember whose football stadium this was, it’s not Real Madrid though)
Inside the cathedral is nice but only average in comparison to other cathedrals, especially as they tend to get very samey after a while.
This box was mentioned as significant in the cathedral museum but can’t remember significance myself. Roughly translated from Spanish, the cathedral website has this which I think is about the box pictured:
Cathedral Website wrote: The central chapel of the ambulatory is dedicated to San Isidro Labrador and his wife Santa María de la Cabeza. The images of both saints, imposing polychrome carvings of baroque style (17th and 18th century) attributed to Villabrille and Ron, flank the funeral ark, protected by a double glass urn, which contained the incorrupt remains of the saint who, at present, they are in the Collegiate Church of San Isidro. This ark, from the thirteenth century and from the Episcopal Palace, presents scenes of the saint, painted in oil on coated leather; These are developed between typical Gothic arches of the s. XIII. The sarcophagus is made of wood covered with parchment.
After the cathedral, I went into the Cathedral Vaults which weren’t particularly interesting but still grabbed a few photos:
Afterwards, I again utilised student discount to get into the Royal Palace. Palace was very nice although the decorations in most rooms was a bit over decadent for my liking. No photos were allowed inside but I did take numerous photos in the allowed areas:
After the royal palace, I took a slow wander back through the city centre aiming for Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Reached Puerta del Sol first:
(Not at Sol but was on way, think some sort of old Jailhouse/church but not sure)
Although it was nice, it was very busy with tourists, detracting from the experience as it felt like a tourist-trap. Was nowhere near as bad as most of Barcelona later in this report though. After Sol, I “accidentally on purpose” got lost wandering vaguely towards Plaza Mayor. At this point, I hadn’t configured the data roaming on my phone so no Google Maps to direct me. This did allow me to see parts of the city I otherwise wouldn’t have although I probably was just wandering in a very zig-zag fashion for a while.
Eventually found my way to Plaza Mayor. Again, this felt very touristy but was enjoyable enough.
(Attempted a Panorama photo using the built-in feature on my phone, seems to have come out quite well, if a bit small on here.)
More old town wandering followed this before finding the recommended Mercado de San Miguel. Had eaten a large late lunch in the Opera area so only purchased a drink from one of the fruit stalls which was lovely. I did return later on in this report for paella though.
It was about this point I realised how close to Plaza Mayor and Opera station I still was, given it felt quite far apart due to my roundabout route of finding them. With this knowledge, I continued wandering with the aim of missing the worst of rush hour on the Metro. This caused me to end up wandering generally towards Callao metro station:
(back of jailhouse/church building pictured earlier)
(This shop name made me smile)
At this point, my feet were aching after so much walking so jumped on Metro back to hotel and crashed out after the long day. Day 2 with Parque de Attraciones coming soon!