Madrid – tour of the city !–(part 2)

In the first part of the story you have read about my arrival of Madrid and visit to some beautiful places.

Well then after this tiring night adventure, we came back to hotel and slept. There was no official program left and I slept deep, not caring to wake up  early the next day.

Next day at around 9 I woke up took my breakfast and with another friend inquired about the city bus tours.   We were a little sad to know that due to a marathon going on most of the roads in city center were closed and the city tour bus will start around 2 in the afternoon. We thought of going and exploring the city on foot, took a map from the hotel and started from the Central Garden which was just near our hotel.

The Garden is in the heart of Madrid and is known as Jeronimos. The garden is spread in several acres and has beautifully laid paths.

Entrace to the central Garden

We also saw some trees which were trimmed so strangely that they looked like green mushrooms.

beautifully trimmed trees in central garden

This garden is a heaven for joggers and there are several joggers’ routes indicating their map, total length and approximate time taken to jog. One can not believe such empty big space lies in the heart of a costly, populated and crowded city

Loooong walkway in the garden

In the center of the garden there was a beautiful lake with some historical monuments nearby. The lake was full of people enjoying the peddle boats.

Lake in the garden

Another view of the lake

Crossing one side of the garden and after walking for about 2 Kms, we came out of one side of the garden and found ourselves before another famous landmark of Madrid – La puerta da Alcala…. on in desi style the India Gate of Madrid.

The Alcala Gate is a National Monument and it was designed by famous Italian architect Fransesco Sabatini in 1764. It took 9 years to complete this 19 meter high granite monument. This was a real gate to enter the city of Madrid and was erected to welcome King Charles-III into the city of Madrid.

Gate of Madrid

The roads were all empty because, no traffic was allowed then due to the Marathon….. hence we enjoyed taking photos from different angles, even standing in the middle of the road.

From Madrid Gate we walked towards sol… another tourist spot with lot of galleries, malls and restaurants…but due to Marathon most of them were closed, so we enjoyed watching the marathon, and encouraged the youngs and the olds. We saw a couple of around 90 years jogging slowly and all the crowd clapped seeing their courage.

Marathon in the Sol

Nearby was the place called Cibele, Roman goddess of Nature. This square had a beautiful building, carved in white stone. The building was earlier made for communication center but now it is used as Town hall and Mayor’s office. On the square is the fountain which has this statue of Cibele whose chariot is being driven by 2 lions.

Town hall of Madrid

Another view of the Cibele, the Goddess of Nature with Town Hall in the background.

Cibele the goddess of Nature

Parliament house

We had taken a long circle of about 4-5 Kms and were tired. My friend had to leave so we started back towards hotel. In the way I saw a small statue lying on the footpath. I was surprised as to how they kept a statue on the path… I stood near the statue and got myself photographed and then saw that there was a small box lying before the statue which had some coins in it.

a woman artist posing as statue

Then i bent downwards to see the coins in the box, the statue suddenly opened eyes and saw !!! LOL it was a woman who was sitting like a statue after make up.. it was really hilarious and we appreciated her art, shook hands with her and put some coins into her box and moved forward.

My colleague then started his journey to airport, leaving me all alone. I just wandered here and there and saw a Janpath type shanty market nearby and purchased some scarfs. The girl selling the scarfs was so friendly, warm and cooperative that I ended up purchasing 6 scrafs instead of one …LOL. This friendly trend is rare among people of UK, France and Germany where even if they are friendly they give you a latent feeling of being white and we being inferior.

The same friendly Spanish Kanya told me that the city bus tours are going to start soon, so I purchased a day ticket and sat in the bus which was showing the old Madrid. There are two tours one takes you to a circle of New Madrid and the other one in Old Madrid. New Madrid we had seen on foot, so it was turn of Old Madrid, which was awesome, with some great buildings, cleanliness and open. Here are some photos of old Madrid which I shot from the city tour bus.

City tour by bus

Main street of Madrid

When I boarded the city tour bus, I saw one Indian family sitting there. Husband, wife and 2 little daughters. I smiled at them to greet, but seeing me, their faces deformed as if suffering from some facial piles and they started looking towards other side.

A monument on the cross-roads

When two French meet each other in India or when two German meet each other in Africa or two Italians meet each other in Asia, they become so happy to see their country men and greet each other with smiles.

A busy street of Madrid

When We used to live in Edinburgh, there was an  Indian  in our building and whenever he would come face to face with us, he would look through us, as if we do not exist. Whereas the Scottish would always greet us and held the door open if my wife was coming. I dont know why we behave like this… if anyone knows the answer please let me know.

Cherry blossoms

A beuatiful building in Old Madrid

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A part of Royal Palace

The tour was coming to an end… the bus reached back its starting point and I alighted from the bus.  The tour of Madrid was quite wonderful and energising… now it was time to leave Madrid

Some rates for reference :

 

City Tour by bus – Euro 20 pp ( for two routes -old and new Madrid – valid for full day anywhere drop and pick up)

Hotels : From Euro 40 to Euro 1000

Food : there are about 15 indian restaurants in down-town.  Normal meal per person may be around euro 10-20

Flamenco dance show – Euro 32

 

the city is not very costly as per European standards… people are friendly and normally it is safe for tourists .. at least better than Paris and Germany

(contd in next part ….)

13 Comments

  • Beautiful pictures and Wonderful city. Shape of the buildings are awesome and somewhat different than other cities specially Town hall.Waiting for next.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    SS Ji,
    Another beautiful story with nice pictures. The town hall of Madrid looks really magnificent. The incidence of lady in disguise was really entertaining, looking her picture nobody can guess whether she is an idol or a women.

    I felt really very sad reading about the behavior of the Indian family you met in Madrid city tour bus and the Indian person living in your building in Edinburgh, it was really shocking for me. I can’t guess their mentality, why they behaved like this, being from India they must have been very happy and excited seeing an Indian fellow in the country thousands of kilometers away from their home country. This is irony of fate that people turn their faces looking someone who is his own.

    Well, thanks a lot for this beautiful post. Waiting for the next part.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Mukesh. Most of the times I see Indian ignoring other Indians in Europe, still dont know the reason.

      Yes I also saw for the first time, a lady sitting like Idol.

      thanks for your comments

  • Rita says:

    Thankyou silentsoul. You have given quite vivid description of Madrid. Photos of Park are beautiful. This is where I jog every Sunday mornings.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    The park looking amazing. We have not done a great job in this area and lack these large eco-balancers in our cities. Blr has a lot of big, great parks and Delhi has a few as well but whenever I go to US, I see so many of them even in small sub-urbs.

    Was at China last year and had the same/similar experience with a couple of young women. When we offered a smile, they looked away, probably not prepared. But at the same time, I met a gentleman during city-tour at Tokyo and we had a good time talking about various things. I was with a US citizen so could speak to him only during breaks but we did respond to each others’ warmth pretty well. So it has been a mixed experience for me.

    You were lucky to be around during Marathon, I would imagine that this must have been some big-ticket event. Lookfwd to next one.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Nandan. Yes u r right we Indian use parks for other things… In delhi only a few big parks (like lodi or Nehru parks) are seen. otherwise parks are used by smackers, beggers, jhuggis etc etc

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Very interesting series, SS ji. Your narration is both delightful and insightful at the same time.

    In all European cities, one finds beautifully maintained parks in the city centre with plenty of benches under the shade of trees where one can relax. Such parks are the lungs of densely populated urban areas and they absorb all the Carbon Dioxide spewed out by vehicles and humans. It is a pity that our urban planners do not provide for large green spaces in our congested and highly polluted towns and cities.

    Regarding your “khatthi” experiences with Indian expatriates abroad, all that I can say is that it is really sad that we do not trust our own people. I have personally had negative experiences; one friendly compatriot (well he was a Pakistani) turned out to be a pimp and a well-dressed gentleman who told me that he lost his passport and money and asked for a hundred dollars (loan, of course), turned out to be a professional beggar. Such experiences inculcate a negative attitude to strangers even if they are our own countrymen. However, such behaviour is inexcusable and there is no harm in at least smiling back or saying hello. One feels so happy at seeing a fellow desi in a distant land and being treated with rude hostility is rather distressing. I have never seen a Westerner who does not greet you back when you greet him/her.

    Eagerly looking forward to your next installment and hoping to see you astride a Segway, which Madrid is famous for.

    • SilentSoul says:

      DL thanks for detailed comments. I had a photo of such segway but could not post it for no reason. I have to learn many things from you.

      You are right, many Indians and Pakistanis do cheat their Indian brothers and hence people keep distance. But Charles Shobhraj also cheated, looted and killed his french fellow travellers still French greet each other.

      In Paris I had given monetary help to many stranded Indians… once a family with 2 little kids I had to accomodate in my house, as they were robbed. None returned the money or even came to Delhi to thank me…. except one Bengali business man, who all the way came from Calcutta and met my father and returned the money to him with a thousand appreciations. I remember him and have forgotten others

      Thanks again and congratulations for becoming FA of the month.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    S.S. _(”)_
    Thanks for excellent and beautifully narrated post about old & New Madrid.
    Picture are quite beautiful & awesome and they are sowing culture & cleanses of the City..
    We have never go outside of India except Nepal.. But your post are completing my this wish.
    Thanks for good post.
    Ritesh.Gupta

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