Project Week 2012 – Camino de Santiago Day 9

Free day in Madrid! Whoo.

Woke-up on the train to Madrid and after a few more train rides, we were at the Museo Reina Sofía. OK, we had to do an oral presentation in front of the Guernica, but we still got a lot of free time that day. And in all fairness, I have to say that doing an oral about a painting in front of the painting really is a very useful technique.

I spent most of the day wandering through the streets of Madrid. Checked out the stunning Cathedral of Almudena, the Royal Palace and the ancient Temple of Debod. To be honest, the Temple was a bit of an enigma, still not sure exactly what was there. But cool all the same. After that, I slowly wandered from the west side of the city to the east, stopping for Churros and chocolate that were so filling I didn’t eat anything else for lunch. Caught a sneak peak into the Casino of Madrid as well. It was a pity I didn’t actually go into the Naval museum, but thankfully I was able to get into the Museo del Prado for free. Wandered around for some 30 minutes, not usually a very big art person myself, but I actually quite enjoyed myself which was surprising.

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Madrid quite surprised me as a city. Having been to Hong Kong, Singapore and London, I was shocked by the amount of green space that Madrid had even at the very heart of the city. The city had lots of open, public areas that were cool and free. Even on one of the busiest streets in Madrid, I could find a road crossing that meant traffic stopped for us. A very different atmosphere, although I must admit I’ve seen only a very tiny part of Madrid. Also, the architecture and buildings are very well preserved.

A few other odd bits. Some of the road signs were in 3 languages; English, Spanish and Japanese. Still not entirely sure why Japanese is used on the road signs… apparently Japan has a lot of connections to Madrid. To be honest, I’m still confused. Equally with the weird hats that some policeman were wearing. Didn’t take a picture myself, but an example can be found here.

And with that, our day in Madrid was over. Wisked off to the airport, sleepy and tired we arrived back at AC shortly before midnight. A brilliant trip.