Madrid Has It AllJune 23rd, 2009 by Flight Centre Staff
Flight Centre’s Heather Reimer joins us again with part two of her travel blog through Spain. Heather tells us more about her great vacation including shopping, museum hoping and sightseeing in Madrid.
I was sad to leave Andalusia and Costa del Sol behind… but the next morning; a high-speed train to Madrid was calling me. Spain has a vast network of high-speed trains connecting the various regions in the South, Central, and Coastal areas. The 300km per hour train was smooth and comfortable. It reminded me a lot of the bullet trains in Japan. Apparently Spain’s system will connect to the TGV in France within a couple of years, making high speed train travel from London to Costa del Sol possible in the near future. Great for anyone with a fear of flying!
Madrid is the capital of Spain, with over 6 million residents. Art museums, parks, football, shopping, beautiful old buildings, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and theatre – Madrid really does have it all. Did I mention the shopping??
I stayed at the Petit-Palace San Bernardo in Madrid. It’s part of the high tech chain of boutique hotels in Spain. All of their hotels are located in the middle of the city, each room with a laptop computer, free internet access, and incredible hydro-massage showers. This was a great feature after hours of walking in the 30 degree sunshine. Yes, 30+ degrees in mid-May! I can only imagine how hot Madrid must get in the summer…
The hotel is a 30 second walk to Gran Via, the main shopping drag in Madrid. I managed to shop until I literally dropped, taking advantage of the reasonably priced leather shoes, purses, jewelry, and clothing.
I also crammed in some culture, visiting the Prado Museum to take in some Classic Spanish Art. Apparently the Prado is one of the few museums that doesn’t have any stolen art, as all its paintings were commissioned by the Royal Family over the last several centuries. The Prado is centrally located, as are the city’s other main museums; Thyssen and Reina Sofia.
A walking tour of Madrid will take you through most of the main squares, like Plazas Mayor, Santa Ana, Espagna, and Puerto Del Sol. It’s a great way to get acquainted with city and learn about the history and beautiful buildings along the way. Writers and musicians are very important to the city’s history. Hearing about the olden days as you wander through the cobblestone streets makes the city even more appealing. Spending the afternoon people watching and having lunch in the Plaza Mayor was a wonderful way to give my feet a rest from all the walking.
A few things surprised me about Spain. I didn’t expect it to be SO clean. Everywhere I visited was impeccably spotless. The people were very warm and hospitable, speaking a lot more English than I anticipated. I will definitely be going back!
Next time I will definitely bring an extra suitcase so I can bring back more shoes, purses, and wine!
I think I’ll stick to fall or spring though… if I go in summer I might just melt!
Madrid, Spain is highlighted on the Flight Centre travel map.
Heather Reimer is an Assistant Manager with Flight Centre based in Toronto, Ontario and can be reached by E-mail or at 1-866-816-2337.