Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The view from Madrid

So I'm back, having spent a few days in York, most delightful, before jet setting off to Madrid for the first of my birthday celebrations.
It was my first Easy Jet flight ever, having feared their draconian attitude to human error, but my sister has them very sussed and so clutching out priority boarding passes we had very uneventful flight both there and back. The weather was mostly glorious, the architecture most covetous, the food delicious, the art amazing. We walked miles and miles and very much ticked out Madrid box. There were surprises too, the smallness of the city, it is tiny considering it is a capital city, I live in a city of 7 million + my last holiday in Istanbul, population 13 million + Madrid is 3 million + and we only saw them on Saturday! The city is a throw back to Leeds circa the late 70's, Madrid has that feel to it with very few generic shops and most of what you need compartmentalised into tiny specialist shopping areas. Unlike Leeds....

The architecture is very pretty.

The trees in the park surreal!

Tapas is everywhere, really, you can eat far better here than you can shop. I love the more out of the way places, with their beautiful tiled floors.

We found some lovely boutiques selling teeny tiny clothes, not for us giants!

And some very plush restaurants

More tiles, this time on the facade of a some beautiful buildings in the park, which is where most of the population gathers on a Saturday.

On the opposite side of town by the palace, all was calm and serene, I did not doze off in the sun I was just resting my eyes!

Sunday, my sister dragged me to one of the oddest markets ever, sprawling for many streets all the eye could see was rubbish, put the doll down!

We climbed this tower for a glorious view of rush hour, there appears to be little in the way of iconic architecture in Madrid, it does beautiful domestic, but little else stood out.

Like I say wonderful places to live everywhere.

Around the back streets were wonderful little shops selling food and cute stuff for the home.

Even a shop selling flamenco shoes.

I loved the tiles both inside, outside and underneath.

I I discovered the best places to eat were where women of a certain age gathered for lunch, the city is very female friendly with and abundance of aging couples who eat and group of women of all ages in bars and restaurants.

Down by the botanical gardens is this row of book sellers, we found many small stalls but failed to find the more upmarket shopping areas, my sister soon saw why the Spanish love the department stores of London because they have very little in the way of variety here, with only a smattering of Zara's and other high street stores.

The hotel was central and the night time is very, very noisy, so sleep was difficult as it only stopped around 4am, it certainly dispelled the urban myth that only the British drink to excess and get rowdy, the Spanish certainly do too.

We saw some amazing in art in both The Prado and the El Museo de arte Thyssen Bornmisza, which was show a stunning Chagall exhibition. After our feet were throbbing I then dragged my sister to Arco art fair, where I managed to grab a handful of sartorial style photographs and saw some wonderful contemporary art, it wasn't cheap but it was a great end to our break.

I arrived back midnight Sunday and was back at my desk the following morning, before going to college that night, it was truly lovely to go away, but lovely to be back in my own bed too, to catch up on many hours of lost sleep. Now to catch up with all of you !


lin said...

You're right about Madrid in that it doesn't have an "iconic" building or architecture, I remember staring at pictures I took in Madrid and wondering "what is this place?"

I thought the women in Madrid, especially the older women, were wonderfully dressed, and so elegant. Their style stood out more for me than any other European cities I've visited.

materfamilias said...

Oh, you make it look so enticing. I think this has to go on my list of cities to spend some time in. We're hoping to get into Northern Spain this May (from our base in Bordeaux, so it will be limited). Glad to have you back although glad for you that you got to be away.

indigo16 said...

Hi guys.
Yes the women are most stylish, I wish I could have found where they shopped, although they are all pocket sized so the clothes would have been far too small.
Mater you would love the food it is a great place for a couple of days no more. My sister swears by Grenada though.