Having visited for only two days, it was always going to be a challenge to give an informed opinion on Madrid. Mr and Ms X were in agreement. Of all the places visited on this trip this was the ‘big city’ that held the least appeal. At the end of a trip one must always be mindful of being influenced by trip fatigue however our travellers don’t think this was the case. As is their practice, they took a 2 and 1/2 hr walking tour upon arrival to centre themselves. They knew from the tour guide that there was not this great sense of history about the place. Sure he was passionate and entertaining however didn’t seem to have the places and moments to connect you to this city.
The palace no longer houses the royal family. They have built a new place up the street, over some hills and around a corner. Mr and Ms X still felt a sense of duty to go and have a look see. It’s a massive site for an empty place. There were so many portraits of some pretty hideous Spanish royals hanging in the place. Those Austrian Hapsburgs who married into this mob sure brought some of their less than attractive features with them. Hook noses and long jaws all round. There were Ms X’s favourite Spaniards, Isabella and Fernando however who managed to salvage the tour.
There are some pretty gardens, a cathedral with a less than interesting past and many many public squares. Plaza de Sol, which also happens to be the centre of the whole of Spain reminded these two of a cross between Las Vegas and Times Square with characters parading around in costumes offering paid photographs.
The shopping is good and there were comments made about the number of SHOE stores!!!! People were out in force each night which really felt like a ‘party place’ even though it was a Monday and Tuesday night.
There were so many other beautiful, memorable cities visited on this trip and sadly Madrid was not high on our list.