15 June 2010

Europe in 2 Weeks: Madrid

I was able to post all my Europe pictures on my Facebook account. But just in case Facebook becomes as obsolete and baduy as Friendster in the next few years, I still have my blog where I can recall those excellent 14 days I spent in Europe.

Will try to post these in a series, and add as many captions as I can. Those of you who have seen these from my Facebook account can gladly skip all my Europe entries.

First stop was Madrid!

It's supposedly one of the warmest cities in Europe, but in 10-degree March weather, I begged to disagree. Was bunched up in my wool coat as I stomped around in my thermal socks and boots.  But cold weather aside, getting around this small city was pretty easy (thanks to Metro Madrid, this amazing iPod touch app that guided me through the city's mazelike subway system) and the people were always, always friendly. Of course, it also helped to try and speak a little Spanish with them. Armed with my faulty Spanish (the remnants of my foreign lang lessons back in college), I'd make an attempt to ask directions or order food, and the locals would always break into a smile and enthusiastically help me with my queries.

I was getting so used to going around the city on my own that I actually gave some tourists (who were totally unaware I wasn't a local) the directions to the Prado Museum. In basic Spanish.

The Royal Palace of Madrid

A street performer by the Royal Palace.

Some young people trying to earn a few euros by playing at the Palace grounds.

Where Jose Rizal used to 'hang out' with his revolutionary friends.  felt proud that Spain paid tribute to the Philippine national hero!  

Met with my dear friend Marelle, who now works in Madrid, and she showed me where the yummiest tapas are. I still dream about this sometimes. 

the quirky Caixa Forum and its vertical garden

 Cuesta de Moyano, this charming outstretch of outdoor stalls selling secondhand books

in Cuesta de Moyano

I wanted to buy some art books but they were all in Spanish.  :(

Authentic churros from Chocolateria San Gines (est. since 1894)

in a typical pub where everyone's glued to the TV watching football while eating dinner
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where Real Madrid plays

Plaza de Cibeles

Accidentally stumbled upon this peaceful little park, the Jardines de Sabatini,
which was right beside the Royal Palace.

Spring is coming soon to Madrid!
statue of Don Quixote

Kilometer Zero in Puerta del Sol--the center from which all distances in Spain are measured. Gina and her scruffy running shoes were here!

Botin, the world's oldest restaurant according to the Guinness Book of World Records

a street performance at Plaza del Sol

at the Reina Sofia, which houses modern art

watching a Buster Keaton silent movie at the Sofia

Nobody was allowed to take photos of Picasso's "Guernica" inside the gallery,
so I sneaked out and took a stolen shot 
from afar!

black-and-white photo exhibit at the Sofia

Oh hello there!

Prado Museum, the highlight of my Madrid trip.
Went here twice and still could not cover the entire collection.

Madrid, March 13-21, 2010.


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