1. Puerta del sol – “Puerta” means gate or door in Spanish, but there was not one in sight. It is however the true heart of Madrid. Whenever someone arranges to meet, they do right next to the bear and tree statue, “El oso y madroño”. That’s where they also meet for a Free Walking Tour at noon.
2. Plaza Mayor – Beautiful square right in the centre of the city; had it pro’s and con’s. I love the architecture and all the street performances, especially “Fat Spider Man” – Legend!! You have to watch your pockets here though and don’t bother sitting down and eating right in the square because you’ll be charged an arm and a leg. I’m on a budget, obviously, so I buy Bocadillos de Calamares (fried squid sandwich) for under €3 in one of the side streets. Delicious.
3. Caixa Forum – It looks like it as floating, or am I still hung over!?! Free to get inside, whenever you want, and some strange vertical garden outside, what are these guys taking? I’ve seen wicked photography expositions but they change it all the time, so I guess it’s the luck of the draw – I love it! This is a must for me.
4. Prado Museum – Apparently it’s the second biggest museum in the world! I personally like the painting by Goya, “El Tres de Mayo” (The Shooting of May 3rd) I went in the last 2 hours between 6-8 PM when it was free, (well that was the second time). The first time was a Monday when it was closed so I went to the Retiro Park that day in the end for an explore.
5. Retiro Park – Here I saw the only public statue of the devil in the world, and standing 666 metres above sea level!?! No way! Retiro has some beautiful trees that look like brains (see my photos) and endless walkways that lead to the Palacio de Cristal, (That’s Crystal Palace to you and me) and the Palacio de Velazquez. If you’re lucky you can even see peacocks wandering around in the part that used to be a zoo. Parque del Retiro, which is it’s name in Spanish, literally means “Park of Pleasant Retreat” – and that’s exactly what I do there.