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A few photos from Madrid on a long January weekend


May 6th, 2012, 07:11 AM
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A few photos from Madrid on a long January weekend

Good morning

Finally getting around to sorting photos from my January long weekend in Madrid. I still have to add the food photos to the below but the wanderings photos are up.

My first visit to Spain! I went over the MLK weekend, arriving early on Friday morning and heading home on the Monday. I was able to use FF miles on United and flew on a new (or new looking) Aer Lingus plane, Dulles to Madrid. Green seats and shamrocks on the winglets!

I stayed at AC Palacio del Retiro (which was just fantastic) and spent the three days hitting up the main sights. The Prado of course, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen Bornemisza (and so luckily, an exhibit on Canaletto and others at the Fundacion Caja Madrid) . I strolled through the Palacio Real, Parque del Buen Retiro, and had lots and lots of tapas. The churro con chocolat at San Gines in sinful.

I lucked out on timing in that the Prado had a special exhibit from the Hermitage. In fact, I ended up spending much more time in that exhibit than the rest of the Prado, in part because I lingered over many pieces and was pooped when I finally exited the exhibit to wander the rest of the Prado. I did, at least, make a beeline to the Goyas as well as Hieronymus Bosch.

I also managed to find a painting by Velasquez of Philip III. Why was this a reason for me to do a double take? Because he was wearing La Peregrina in the painting... and I had just, a month previously, seen La Peregrina in person at Elizabeth Taylor's auction at Christie's in Manhattan! How bloody astounding is the fact that a private citizen, our Elizabeth Taylor, owned a piece of history, a piece of jewelry that was once part of the crown jewels of Spain??

I would stay at the Palacio del Retiro again but I would also consider the Westin. I spent a few hours one afternoon sitting under its dome, with lunch and a few glasses of wine, people watching. The Westin is a bit more centrally located and it's of a similar quality although larger than the Palacio del Retiro (which used to be a private palace/home, I believe it was owned by the family who owned Spain's high speed rail system).

Anyway, enjoy the photos. I'll add the food photos later. I should mention I did a "tapas walking tour" on Saturday night. I only found out about this after I arrived and I was glad I sought it out. The walk was with Andres Jarabo and here was our rough itinerary:

Vermouth on tap
200 Monges Rioja 2001
Punto Diez
Fino Inocente-Bodegas Valdespino (Sherry)
Pedro Ximenez-Bodegas Lustao (Sherry)

Casa Paco
As for the last two eating stops, he asked that the names be kept a secret and I had already stopped taking photos of the signs by then.

flygirl is offline  
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May 6th, 2012, 07:51 AM
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Love your pictures. We were there this past November; they bring it all back.
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May 6th, 2012, 08:25 AM
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Madrid is beautiful any time of the year! Thanks for sharing!
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May 6th, 2012, 08:45 AM
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Your pictures are wonderful! I was in Madrid the weekend after you in January, and your pictures are a great recall of my first time there! I love the shot of the rowing pond in Retiro Park and the Plaza Mayor photos! What camera did you use? I am jealous!
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May 6th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Gorgeous pics! Thanks for bringing back memories of this beautiful city.

Looking forward to more!
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May 6th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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Stunning photos (as always!) flygirl.
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May 6th, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Beautiful photos!
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May 6th, 2012, 04:58 PM
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Gorgeous photos as always, flygirl. Sounds like such a lovely weekend.
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May 6th, 2012, 05:06 PM
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Wonderful photos!

Madrid is wonderful and far more beautiful than I ever expected. I stayed at the Westin Palace - large, well decorated rooms in a perfect location. Would return without hesitation.
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May 7th, 2012, 04:05 AM
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Good morning!

Thank you everyone for viewing them and the kind words!

Madrid is indeed beautiful. I initially was looking for FF Miles to Barcelona, as everyone I had asked said "go to Barca first" but alas, from Dulles it's a PITA to use miles. Also, since this was only a long weekend, my one rule for wkd trips is "it must be nonstop" and Barcelona isn't nonstop.

And if Madrid is "second" in the eyes of some to Barcelona, then I cannot wait to finally visit Barcelona!

The only (small) mar on the trip was that I got ripped off by the taxi driver who took me to my hotel. He charged me 70 euros, which I didn't even think twice about because the Paris airport run is 50-60, London isn't cheap, etc. So I paid it, but thought it was odd that he pulled up into a side street at least 50 steps away from the front door. I figured he just wanted to get out of the way of traffic, or something... it wasn't until the next day when I happened to mention something to the hotel about getting a driver BACK to the airport and told them... and they told me I was ripped off. So THAT was why he wouldn't drop me at the front door - why start a fight in front of witnesses. Not that I knew any better, but someone who came to Madrid regularly would have known. I know how bad the economy is, I bet he needs those extra euros more than I do.

@smith: My camera is a Canon 7D with a 24-105 F4L lens. Did you also have nice weather? Friday was nippy but fine, Saturday was GORGEOUS, Sunday was nippy with some drizzle but not bad. I wore dresses and tights and boots the entire time, so it really wasn't all that cold.

@eks - thank you! I relied a lot on your report because you went in January yourself. You gave me the idea about the Westin and after my visit to the Thyssen (which was after viewing Guernica) I plopped in the Westin for a while. I really may stay there the next time, the Palacio del Retiro was really, really nice but the Westin is a 20 minute walk closer to the "action". The Palacio is well situated for the Prado but so is the Westin, etc.
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May 7th, 2012, 04:27 AM
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ps. the hotel photos are already linked above, but, if you just want to see the hotel photos, here they are:

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May 12th, 2012, 06:37 PM
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Great report! Thanks for sharing.
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