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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Madrid, Spain

After Malaga's trip, before Toledo's trip, I stopped over in Madrid...

From Malaga, I took this high speed train to Madrid. The distance between Malaga and Madrid is 522 km, and this train can bring me to my destination in 2.5 hour time, means its average speed is 210 km/h. Pretty impressive !!

I arrived at Madrid at around 5 pm the same day, and checked in to this Husa hotel which is quite near to Atocha Train Station.

The hotel room is quite big, washroom is big too, surrounded by big mirrors at 3 side.

Those big mirrors had triggered me to camwhored a bit...(learnt it from my dearest friend, SY).

So, SY, this pose ok or not?
Actually, I feel very funny to see myself like this. What was it in my mind at that time? I probably felt bored & restless, I guess.
So, I decided to go out for a walk, albeit the time was getting late, and albeit husband warned me not to walk alone on the street when the sky turned dark.

Just when I bent a corner from the hotel, this beggar was sitting there quietly with his cat. The world seems to ignore him. If only he is very old, very sick or handicap, then I think he would get more attention.

For the following 2 days, I saw him and his cat sitting at the same place, same position, whenever I passed by that corner. So, I supposed he is a full-time beggar.

Saw some teenagers hopping across the zebra crossing with a spring-stand. They were protesting for something, but I didn't get that. Luckily they did it with peace.

There is no more swaying palm trees along the main road. Instead, bald-tree again.

The concierge told me to walk straight along this main road and I should be able to see the places for tourists.

The Botanical Garden. Since the time was getting late. I didn't go inside there.

I didn't know what does it carries, cause....

I simply can't read Spain.

The Museo del Prado is a museum and art gallery, features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection.

Velázquez, Diego (1599-1660), Spain's greatest painter. He was also one of the supreme artists of all time. A master of technique, highly individual in style, Diego Velasquez may have had a greater influence on European art than any other painter.

Francisco de Goya (1746 - 1828), consummately a Spanish artist whose multifarious paintings, drawings, and engravings reflected contemporary historical upheavals and influenced important 19th- and 20th-century painters.

This man seemed unhappy. Is he a lonely backpacker? or a university student? or a jobless young man? Hope he's fine now.

On the contrarily, this couple is so sweet.

The side entrance to Museum Del Prado.

A church nearby the museum.

The time was 6.30 pm by then, I better start walking back to my hotel before the sky turned dark. So, I crossed the road from here.

On the other side of the road, saw this most amazing human statue I've ever seen. At first, I thought both of them are human. Then, they are in this difficult position where there is nothing to support at the back.

Well, I was half-right. Only the man on the right side is human, the left side isn't.

One of the famous fountain in Madrid City, Neptuno's Fountain, divides the Paseo del Prado in two, with the Tyssen Museum on side and the Prado Museum on the other.

Neptuno's fountain, sculpted in white marble. The works pays homage to the Spanish colonies and the Navy and represents Nepture, god of the sea, standing in his shell-shape chariot, drawn by two horse-like marine animals. In one hand he carries his trident and in the other a coiled snake.

There was a super long queue here, I couldn't see where it started and where it ended. Wonder what were they lining up for?

Before going back to the hotel, I decided to take my dinner in this local restaurant bar...

Inside the restaurant bar...

I picked this restaurant because it offers paello, the dish I wanted to try out since I was in Malaga, but failed.

I ordered a seafood paello. It tastes very delicious, especially with lemon juice. I finished it up very fast, and paid the bill happily with €11.

On the way back to the hotel....saw this weird building.
CaixaForum Madrid. The old Mediodia electric station that supplied Madrid with electricity for most of the 20th century is home to the CaixaForum, the new exibition and cultural activity centre. It has 2 floors below ground and 4 more that "floated" above an esplanade.

Perhaps the most curious element of the CaixaForum, is its vertical garden, a natural tapestry made up of 15,000 plants of 250 different species.

Large Upright Elephant, created by Miquel Barcelo, is 7m height and made by bronze.

Nearby my hotel, there is this shop that sells all sort of hams.

Feeling curious, I walked in to take a quick look. Boy, there are probably hundreds of dried legs hanging up there. The smell is so strong that I couldn't stay any longer, don't mention taking meal in there.

Don't know how many years those dried legs have been hanging there...

What a scene...

Besides dried meat, there are desserts too. Weird combination.

I went back to my hotel room at around 7.45 pm. After taking shower, I took some relax time before going to sleep at around 10.30 pm. The next day, I would be going to Toledo.

When I came back from Toledo, the time was around 5.15 pm. I decided to go to Royal Palace for a walk.

The Palacio Real or Royal Palace, former residence of the Spanish Kings. Today, it is only used of official arts.

Inside the palace, is filled with paintings by Goya and Velazquez and beautiful glasswork, tapestries and bronze pieces. I would want to go in there, but it will be closed at 6pm. Too bad.

At the public area outside the palace, people are earning their living in many different ways...like puppet showing..

I bought this forever-yummy wafer, cost €1. The sweet and crunchy sensation made me happy.

The garden outside the palace. Nothing too special here.

The other side of Royal Palace, gated.

Catedral de la Almudena, located just opposite the Royal Palace.

The other side of the cathedral.

Ok, nearly 6.30 pm by then. I better go now.

It's getting late now, got to go.

From here, I need to look for Sol station so that I could take the underground metro to my hotel.

Walking on this busy pedestrian road, I felt like I was back to Hong Kong.
This is a shopping street, with many things I would love to buy, for example, clothes and shoes. I like Spain's design, for example the fashion from ZARA and H&M, also their shoes design. I think they are very easy to be carried by Asian woman too.
Problem was : The more I see it, the more I want to buy it. Just when I walked in to a shoe's shop to want to pick some shoes, the sales girl told me my backpack was unzipped. Oh my, it's true. Immediately I checked if I had lost anything. Thank God my camera & purse was still inside. Actually it doesn't matter if I got pick pocket the purse, cause there was nothing important inside there except a minimum amount of cash. As for my passport, credit cards, cash, they were all kept in a waist pocket and tied on me wherever I went.

Although nothing was lost, I had lost the mood to continue this shopping. Also, this incident had cooled me down a bit. And I realized it would be very difficult to squeeze some spaces in my luggage for new shoes. End up, I left the shop with empty hands.
Feeling dead tired, I just took away some pasta for dinner. Then went back to my hotel room straight away. I slept at around 11 pm that night.

Woke up at 8 am the other day. After taking a simple breakfast, I thought of going out for a walk before departing to the airport at around 11 am later. My hotel is the 2nd block from this junction.

Estacion de Atocha, built in 1851, this is the first railway station in Spain. On the 11th, March 2004, Madrid suffered a brutal attack in which 192 people died. In 2007, a monument to the victims was opened - a cylinder-shaped dome inside which the names of the victims and the numerous messages left by the inhabitants of the city have been inscribed with a laser.

I felt bad to see this old man slept on the street, especially in cold day. The temperature was lower than 10C that morning.

Ok, finally I saw the introduction about this structure. Those are the iron sculptures made by the Spanish artist Xavier Mascaro. Coincidentally, they were on dispayed at the Paseo del Arte in central Madrid until the 4th April 2010.

An unknown monument.

The street was quiet in that Sunday morning...

Just when I was about to cross the road, I saw a clock tower from one of the building, showing the time was 11.15 am. Feeling puzzle, I checked my watch, but mine was 10.15 am. And I was sure I had tuned the time correctly the first day when I arrived at Madrid 2 days ago.
So, I stopped a man to ask him the time. He showed me his watch, told me it was indeed 11.15 am, not 10.15 mm. OMG, what happen? My heart was pounding fast, I supposed to depart to the airport by 11am, to catch 2 pm's flight to Paris. So, the time was due! But I was still 25 minutes away (walking distance) from my hotel.
I ran all the way back to my hotel to check out and grabbed my luggage. For a brief moment, I thought of hiring a cab to drive me straight to the airport. But it was too expensive if compare to taking a metro. Also, worrying the company would question me about the necessity in taking cab at Sunday, so I decided to take the cheapest way anyway.
After several interchange, finally I arrived Madrid Barajas Airport slightly over 1pm. Luckily, the flight was delayed to 2.45 pm. So, I managed to check in without troubles. Whew !!
When I arrived Paris, my customer told me the whole European countries had tuned the clock 1 hour faster in that day (28-Mar), in order to save the energy consumption. Also, they would tune the clock 1 hour later in Sep. No wonder.
And it was a relief to know that it wasn't because of my careless or absent minded !


Gargles said...

yes, the camwhores pics, good! you will get used to it, just practise more would do! heh!

the 1 hour tuning? that's called the "daylight saving"? i first heard of it while i was in aust the first time. and i thot how weird. now that was a close call for you. lucky you managed to run so fast!

jessylee said...

ok, I will practice more often.
Hope I will be half as good as you one day.

I don't know what it's called until today.
But I sure ran that fast to get back to my hotel. Thank God I didn't get heart attack lo(touch wood).

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