Wednesday 24 April 2019 to Friday 26 April 2019

We arrived in Madrid late afternoon weary from a long flight. We stayed in a charming old historical building converted into a small hotel, Escala Opera and located right in the centre of the city. The receptionist was just as charming and so helpful, we booked here for our return and were able to leave some of our travel bags and clothes in a box to collect on our return from our Camino.

The main city plaza Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun) has been the city’s social centre both day and night. Since the 15th Century, some of Madrid’s most important events have taken place here. The Statue of a bear climbing an arbutus is the official symbol of the city,  I’ve yet to find out why. Also in Puerta del Sol is the Casa de Correos (Royal House of Mail). We had quite a few Corrreos adventures with Jorge and Silke on our last Camino but that is another whole story. 

Puerta del Sol – Royal House of Correos

The next morning after a good sleep we set off in the rain for the Temple of DEBOD. At 2200 years old it is the oldest building in Madrid but was built in Nubira in ancient Egypt.

We then followed the tourist route past the Royal Palace of Madrid which dates from the 18th Century and is one of the largest palaces in the world. It is surrounded by supposedly beautiful gardens, Campo del Moro, Jardines de Sabatini and the Plaza de Oriente but unfortunately they were all closed for maintenance. We did catch a small glimpse through the gates though.

Next a reccy to the Plaza Mayor and Peurte del Sol where we were meeting a friend’s daughter Genevieve, who is currently studying in Madrid. Plaza Mayor the main square in Madrid was commenced over 400 years ago. However, it was only completed in the 17th century after it had been destroyed three times by fire. The central part, called the House of Bread, was the only section remaining as a reference to rebuild.

Not all bad news with the rain as we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

House of Bread – centre building

Tonight we shared a lovely evening with Genevieve.

On the way to dinner we passed by the world’s oldest restaurant.

Our last day in Madrid saw us click up 30 kms. First stop was Plaza de la Villa which houses the most ancient of Madrid’s civil buildings; The Tower and House of Lujanes (Torre y Casa de los Lujanes) from the 15th century Gothic Mudejar style plus 2 other interesting buildings in the sane plaza; The House of Cisneros, a 16th Century Renaissance Palace and Casa de la Villa a 17th Century Baroque Palace.

With the rain easing a bit a stroll along the Gran Via which was established in 1922, and along which sits many of Madrid’s iconic buildings. These include the much photographed Metropolis building, the Telefonica building (the first skyscraper in Europe) and the Capitol building.

As the rain was gone we headed to Retiro Park passing Plaza de Cibeles which is home to the Palacio de Comunicaciones and now serves at the City Hall. The Fuentes de Cibeles (Cibeles Fountain) which sits in the centre of the Plaza is the first of five mythological fountains commissioned by Carlos III.

The Parque de Retiro has its origins in the 17th Century as a second place of residence of King Phillipe IV.  Felipe IV used the iconic Grand Lake for battleship simulations. Fountain of the Fallen Angel, Crystal Palace are also located in this large park.

The Fountain of the Fallen Angel sits 666 metres above sea level and such a beautiful fountain unfortunately dedicated to the devil. It was cast by
Ricardo Bellver for the third Worls Fair in Paris. It was then acquired by the Museo del Prado and later donated to the city of Madrid and in 1885 was installed at its current location. This is where we left this lovely park along a wide pathway flanked by beautiful trees and the start of my hayfever for the next five weeks. I am still trying find out what type of trees these are

Puerta de Alcala was the first arch of triumph built in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Built in the 18th Century.

The Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is one of the most unknown and least visited monuments in Madrid. You must go inside this rather ordinary building to appreciate its grandeur. It houses the largest dome in Spain and among the largest Christian domes in the world.

 El Paseo del Arte (Walk of Art) includes Prado museum, National Museum of Art Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has some of the most important artworks in the world. We visited the Thyssen- Bornemisza Museum with its many original works of the old masters such as Diego, Monet, Renoir, Dali, Picazzo and the list goes on.

Picazzo’s – The Bullfight

Tomorrow afternoon we take the overnight train to Lisbon.


  • Stuart Macdonald April 30, 2019 at 06:27 Reply

    I just showed the pics to the troops & we all agree how healthy you both look, retirement suits you both.

    • Ron and Susan May 1, 2019 at 04:18 Reply

      Hi Mac, say hi to everyone. Healthy? – fat cells fill out the wrinkles.

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