Hi! Maybe you don´t know us. Let us introduce ourselves! We are a family traveller who live in Madrid (Spain). We love travelling and our purpose in life is to meet every corner of the world together.
In this post we are going to talk about how you can know Madrid from a different point of view; not like a tourist but like a local. If you are interested in this… Stay and keep reading!
A walk to remember…
Maybe the first contact with the city could be Atocha Station, which is the most important railway station in the city, where you can take any train to visit the rest of the country. It was inaugurated in 1851, and It has a beautiful and distinguished botanical garden with more than 7000 plants and 400 species from Asia, Australia and America.
When you take the exit you can walk down the “El Prado” street. In this long avenue you could find the famous “Gold triangle”, this name come from the composition of the three most important museums of the city: El Prado, Thyssen museum and Reina Sofia, where you could see some jewels of art. Naturally, you can´t miss the visit of them!
By continuing the walk you will come across the “Cibeles”, is a fountain in front of the town hall. In the past this building was the old post office of Madrid.
If you want to see one of the most popular views you must go upstairs until the roof top, where also, you can enjoy and take good photos meanwhile you have a great experience drinking a “Tinto de verano” (The well-known Spanish drink with sweet lemon and strong red wine). In front of this point you can see the most photographed building of the city and probably one of the best known in the city. This building is called “Metrópolis”, with a French origin was inaugurated in 1910 for an insurance company.
From this location you can take two ways to continue the visit: going to the left you can walk until “Sol” square, the neuralgic point of the city; and going to the right you can cross and walk around “Gran Vía”. But… seriously! If you are a great traveller, not a common tourist, you have to do it in a circle; take your time, and enjoy it all.
We will take the first road until “Sol” because here starts our best and most popular tradition. If you see the clock; this austere and classic clock in the big square, has a really special meaning. Each 31st of December, people around the world celebrate the end of the year, following their own tradition. Here in Spain, we eat 12 grapes; One grape for each strike of the bells (The twelve strikes of the bell mark the end of one year and the beginning). Yes, we know it! It Is a stressful moment but it´s exciting and so funny for us. You can go to the square and live this moment with party costumes or you can stay with family and friends at home and see the most popular shows on tv, that broadcast live this important Spanish event. We never forget to start the year with a good beginning and with beloved people.
Apart from that, under the clock you can find the KM0 signal. Evidently, here is where all the roads to the rest of the country start. It´s a meeting point for local people.
Before we leave this fantastic square, we need to look for the icon of Madrid. It´s called “oso y el madroño”, You can see this symbol in our city shield. In very remote time, Madrid was an unpopulated land with strawberry trees where innumerable bears lived. Local legend says it is the best meaning of the heavy sculpture.
Please, keep walking until emblematic “Callao” square. Crossing “Preciados” street. We arrive to another important point of the city centre. In “Callao” you can enjoy the magic and the chaos of Madrid. While you´re taking a picture of “SchWePpEs” building, people are crossing the “Gran Vía” without looking. Believe us! At rush hour Madrid looks like Manhattan. Around us there are restaurants, shops, coffee corners and the best theaters. But not! We aren´t in Broadway.
The city centre has a lot of life almost the 24 hours.
Going down to “Plaza España”, maybe you´re hungry; maybe you going need to take a break for lunch and to enjoy Spanish food. What do you think about a special restaurant in the reception of a very precious hotel close to here? Yes, its “Botania”. On weekends you need a reservation but in their website you can do it!. It IS decorated with botanic plants and it is absolutely delicious.
After the binge eating, we should walk to do the digestion. Go straight until “Royal Palace”. This part of the city is too much historical. We don´t want you to get bored while you read it, so we don´t say more historical facts than books or local guides. Have a great afternoon in the “Sabatini´s Gardens” outside the Royal Palace, take some pictures of “Almudena´s Cathedral” and go back to the city centre across “La plaza Mayor”.
Finally if you like chocolate, maybe you can taste “Chocolate con churros” in “San Ginés” (most popular place in the city) and take some time to relax and to fall in love with Madrid, this city has a lot to offer.
By Nata from @elmundo.en.mispies