Madrid 2017, February
February, 24th, 2017, Algeciras-Madrid
We finally travelled to Madrid after the possible delay of this trip due to the national stevedore strike which was delayed ten days.
We left home at about 08:30, half an hour later than expected. Mariana stood in for me driving and we reached Madrid at 15:30. Finding our attached-rented house via AirBNB was not very difficult. It was in the Vallecas quarter, 300 meters far from the Rayo Vallecano football team stadium. An underground station could be found by the stadium, Portazgo which we used to use to the city center, concretely to Sol station, direct without leaving line number 1, nine stops far from our Portazgo. Once me settled in ar apartment where we were welcomed by Concha's parents, the owner of the house, we took the tube to Plaza de Castilla to a Barbie exposition where more than 400 of this dolls were shown, Marta had a great time there. When we left this place we had some "tapas" just at the foot of the Kio towers, very close to the place we had just left. We made to the Opera underground to another exposition to watch the impossible pictures of Escher this time. Very amusing and interesting. When me left this second exposition we took the underground to Lavapiés and we looked for our favourite bar "La Curruteka". We left this bar like the first time, completely satisfied both because of the quality of the food, quality of service and price. When we checked the time it was 23:30 and we decided to return home.
Outside Rayo Vallecano´s Stadium
Picture from the foot of the Kio Towers
February, 25th, 2017, Madrid
After resting all night along, we woke up at 08:30, we had breakfast and we made to the Barajas airport, where my fathers in law were to land in a flight from Sofia. We were on time, they were late though. We finally received a phone call from Mariana's mother to say that one of their bags was lost. After waiting for about an hour and a half, Mariana decided to enter the place where her parents were waiting for their lugagge in order to arrange all the lost-lugagge paperwork. They finally left with the hope of receiving a phone call saying that their case was found. So it was. We received the case via courrier once we reached Algeciras.
We returned home to leave their lugagge and went back to the capital center using the tube later on. We went to Lavapiés again and we had lunch in a bar very close to the Reina Sofía museum from where we left not completely satisfied, to tell truth we wouldn't enter that place again if we had the chance. After leaving that place of uncertain quality we walked to the Royal Palace; we had to resign ourselves to stare it from the outside because there was a very long queue at the entrance of it. Where we did enter was the Almudena cathedral, very close to the Royal Palace. Mariana's parents felt quite tired after the journey for what they decided to return our house in Vallecas, while me and Marta stayed out strolling Sol, La Plaza Mayor and surroundings. We met Mariana again within an hour and a half at the 0 km. in Sol. We strolled the Preciados street and Gran Vía visiting El Corte Inglés among other places. We were home again to have dinner at 21:00.
Me and the Royal Palace at the bottom
Inside the Almudena Cathedral
February, 26th, 2017, Madrid
The sun rised in Madrid, it was sunny yet cold. Our plan for that day was driving to San Lorenzo del Escorial and El valle de los Caídos. We left at 09:30 from Vallecas guided by the GPS in our phone; we couldn't have driven a single meter without it in Madrid. Not everything was easy with this device though: the M30 had a quite long tunnel, along which there was no satellite signal and that made you drive without knowing whether you missed any exit. We reached El Escorial at about 11:15. We were lucky and we found a parking close to the monastery of El Escorial. We were visiting this monastery till 14:00. Then we made to a restaurant with good references in Tripadvisor. It was just in front of the place where I parked: La Taberna de Antioquía. We had lunch there. It was a good experience in general although it was not cheap. Anyway, for we left satisfied we didn't care much about the price.
We made to EI Valle de los Caidos, not too far from where we were, about half an hour by car. When we arrived we found a huge monument, typical of a megalomaniac like Franco. The famous cross lays on the summit of a quite steep stone hump in which core the tombs of Franco and Primo de Rivera can be found. Due to the risk of landslides, climbing up to the cross was forbidden which, by the way, showed majestic at the summit of the rocky hump. At the foot of the basilic and after some steps, you could walk over a great plain of concrete from which edge Madrid could be spotted. At the back of the cross the hostelry could be found, a kind of hotel 200 metres far from the monument. Our visit was over at 18:30. We programmed our GPS to drive us to Madrid avoiding tolls, and the device itself chose a road crossing the Navacerrada mountain pass, 1850 metres over the sea level. The minimal temperature which the car showed was 3,5°C, cold enough for the car sensors to warn us against freezing terrain. The landscape was astonishing, snow everywhere, snowed and totally white mountains, through which ski slopes could be made out as well as some weather station at the top of the highest peak. Once we crossed Navacerrada, the temperature turned normal again, that's to say, about 12 or 13°C.We were back to our apartment at about 18:30. Then we left Marta with her grandparents and Mariana and me went to the center of Madrid, strolling Malasaña and having dinner in Fuencarral, in a restaurant called Merimee.
Outside the Escorial Monastery
La Taberna de Antioquía, San lorenzo del Escorial
Selfie with the cross of El Valle de los Caídos
February, 27th, 2017, Madrid-Segovia
We woke up early, had our breakfast at the apartment and we made to Segovia at about 10:00. The traffic in Madrid was quite heavy for, although it was public holiday in Andalucia, it was not in Madrid. Once in the outskirts of the capital, the density of cars was not so high allowing a fast and comfortable driving. Along our way, La Cruz de los Caidos and El Escorial could be seen at the distance. We visited both places the previous day. We reached our destination at about 11:30. I left the rest of the travellers by the Aqueduct and I parked our car in a public parking to a five minutes walk from where they got off; I joined them again in order to continue our visit. We walked up a comercial street which leaded to the central square where the Cathedral was. The temperature was so low, never below zero, that I was forced to enter a sport shop to buy a woolen cap. We reached the Cathedral and we entered, being able thus to admire for the fourth time the astonishing beauty of this building. It was 14:00 and we decided to look for a place to have lunch. We chose a restaurant called Veintiocho, ten minutes walking from the Aqueduct, going down the commercial street whe had previously walked up to reach the Cathedral. The place was just what we needed: a quiet and wide place where we could eat, rest for a white and fill our batteries up to continue strolling Segovia. When our lunch was over we headed to El Alcázar. It was the fourth time we visited this marvellous monument as well. When we were done we went to look a couple of places from where breathtaking views of El Alcazar could be enjoyed. After taking some pictures from these places we made to Madrid at about 18:00. As I previously stated previously in this chronicle, the traffic in the outskirts of Madrid was smooth and fast. As you approached the capital itself, the problems arised. All kind of vehicles with people ending their working day made tedious, slow and despairing reaching our apartment. When we finally managed to get home we had dinner and we went directly to bed after a tiring day.
Marta and me in Segovia, the Cathedral at the bottom
Outside the Alcázar de Segovia
February, 28th, 2017, Madrid-Algeciras
It was about time we returned home. We woke up early, had breakfast and we were ready to hand the keys of the house to the owner at 09:30. They arrived at 09:50, we saw them off and we started our trip back to Algeciras at 10:15, reaching our real home at 16:45. Mariana drove for two hours. We stopped for 15 minutes to eat something in the car and to swap drivers. It was a long yet comfortable trip.
View of the attached house where we stayed in Vallecas