Madrid for 2 hours

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Apr 17th, 2008, 10:16 AM
  #1
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Madrid for 2 hours

First of all, I know what you are going to say, but I have already deducted the hour and a half to store my carry-on, get out of the airport and to town in a taxi, as well as the 2.5 hours to get back to the airport (again via taxi) in time for my flight. This is a Sunday morning.
Therefore, if I do not go into the city, I have 6 hours in the airport! And I'd rather ride in a cab and grab a bite or take in a museum than do that. It's a long day.
I am considering going directly to the Reina Sofia or the Prado and eating in the cafe of whichever I choose.
If it is nice outside, I will just walk around and grab a bite. I know there are parks nearby those museums. Have I picked the best area or do you have other suggestions?
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Apr 17th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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no, it sounds like a good plan to me, that's also where I would go. There are parks right in front of them and cafes across that park, at least. Sometimes they have vendors in that park, also, so you can do a bit of shopping -- scarves, etc.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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yk
 
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Can you post the actual arrival and departure times of your flights?

The Retiro Park is right next to both museusm, so that will be a good option.

Look for AnnMarie_C's trip report to Madrid (posted just a few days ago). She spent some time at Retiro Park on her trip.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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I arrive at 10am, so am allowing an hour to exit and store luggage (just a backpack) and 30 minutes for the taxi.
I depart at 4:30, so will give myself 2.5 hours for return taxi and airport stuff. I will be booked through.
That gives me about 2 hours for whatever.
As it is a Sunday, I am not expecting traffic. I have transited through Madrid once before, and I remember it being efficient.
Yp hablo un pocito espanol.
One day I will return for a real visit I swear, just trying to get through this long day!
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Apr 17th, 2008, 10:42 AM
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Also thanks for the input. I did read that trip report and it just reinforces that I will visit one day. I also loved her attitude, a really refreshing trip report.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Your attitude is also refreshing and admirable. Best of luck with your plans!

You might check Maribelsguides.com for restaurant ideas around the "Golden Triangle" of museums.

Here's hoping for great weather and no traffic!
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Apr 17th, 2008, 11:00 AM
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ha I misspelled Yo.
Ah, I have seen Maribel's knowledge of Spain here often but did not know she has a site. That is perfect, thanks!
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Apr 17th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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You might just want to limit your time to strolling through the very, very expansive Retiro park, which gets quite lively on Sunday mornings from about 11 am on. You'll find vendors and kiosks for food/ice cream.

It's a 3 block walk from the gate of the Retiro to the Prado Museum entrance, but the Prado can get super crowded on Sundays. And starting April 15 (running until 6/13) when the major show on Goya and the Napoleonic War opens, it will draw even more visitors.

And the Reina Sofía will also be quite crowded due to the large Picasso show (400+ works from Paris's Picasso Museum) going on currently.

Two blockbuster special exhibits that bring in big, big crowds.

So with only 2 hours to devote to the city and your long, long day on planes, I'd go straight to Retiro park to get some fresh air and exercise and spend the time strolling and enjoying the special Sunday atmosphere there.

I'd save the Prado and Reina Sofía (and add the Thyssen, Caixa Forum and a few more) for your "real" visit next time.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 11:33 AM
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Even better, a response from the lady (si? you never know) herself. That is just what I was thinking--after hours on a plane after an ungodly wake up, and many more to go, fresh air and lack of crowds is more than likely just what we will need.
This was just a general plan to get to a good area because I don't want to do a lot of research for 2 hours. I am a bit "researched out" after thinking of Turkey for months. Otherwise, I would look at different plazas, etc. This seems like a good plan then, with enough to entertain us and ease of catching the taxi back.
Sometimes I just need to be told the obvious--I know how those museum exhibits can be! Now I am just thinking aloud.
One last question, it would be good for me to tell the taxi driver exactly where to take me, so is "parque del retiro" sufficient? Or should I direct them to a specific street, etc.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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If I had that choice, I would probably take the taxi/metro to Puerto del Sol, the city center, and then walk to Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city -- nice cafes to get a snack and beautiful architecture. Its also not that long a walk from Plaza Mayor to the Prado, so you can get dropped off at one end and walk to the other.

The two museums you mention are fantastic, but with so short a time, I would prefer some sunshine and stretching my legs to walking slowly in a museum, as great as they may be (and they are both among the world's 10 best painting museums).
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Apr 17th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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It's a very large park, I would be more specific myself, based on what you want to do and where you want to spend your time. It is very very big.

With the chance that you might want to go to the Prado, I'd ask to be dropped off not far from there, otherwise maybe I'd want to be around the pond area of the park. If you left it up to them, who knows where you'd go (possibly the farthest point, which wouldn't be where I'd want to go). It really depends what you want to do, if you don't want to go to the museum, perhaps I'd say near Plaza de la Independencia (NW corner).

Plaza Mayor would be a good alternative, I agree, but it is farther.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Thanks again. I will dig out my old Lonely Planet and rip out the Madrid map to pick out a good walking route.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Hi yorkshire,
Yes, I would tell the taxi driver to take me to the Puerta de Alcalá (also known as the Plaza de la Independencia). This is a gorgeous spot in Madrid that is highly photo-worthy! You'll exit the taxi on the right, probably at the corner of very posh Calle Serrano. Just cross the street and into the Retiro Park there. I would walk up Avenida Méjico once inside the park which will lead you to the lake (Estanque) where people will be renting paddle boats on a sunny Sunday. Then you can continue south, over to the Palacio de Cristal, in the center of the park, below the lake.

Then after your 2 hr. stroll, go back to the Puerta de Alcalá where you can very easily catch a taxi back to the airport. Driver will probably take the route up Calle Velázquez so that you can see how the upper class Madrid denizens live (very well, indeed!)
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Apr 17th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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Hola


You can also do El Rastro flea market on Sundays. Morning is a good time to go.
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Apr 17th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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You know, as many times as I have had a ball at the Rastro (and in the little bars surrounding it!) on a Sunday, I think walking around Retiro would be prettier, less hectic and easier (to do and to find) but would still give Yorkshire the Madrid "buzz" of people out enjoying their Sunday.

I also like the idea of cabbing it to Sol or even a little closer to the Plaza Mayor (okay, it's like two streets, I know) and walking around there a bit (perhaps an overpriced coffee in the Plaza Mayor for atmosphere) then walking, cabbing or Metro-ing it over to Retiro for a park stroll. This option might press you for time a bit but you'd get a little preview of the heart of Madrid for your next trip.
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May 5th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Hi All,
Just got back yesterday and my stroll and lunch in Madrid went perfectly. I got out of the airport even quicker than I expected, and had more than 2 passport booths been open, had I been more organized with my bags, and had I not had to ask 5 people where the consigna was (all the way at the left on the T4 arrivals floor), it would have taken less than 30 minutes. The taxi drive was a little less than 30 minutes (25-30 euros each way). I went to the botanical garden first while I woke up, then walked through the park. I was about to settle for the cafes in the park, which no one was eating at (maybe a time of day thing), but then when going to the atm in Plaza de Independencia I spotted Mallorca ("since 1931"). Best. Sandwiches. Ever!!! DH had three jamon variations and I had vegetable mini quiche, a salmon/avocado on ciabatta, and a mini sandwich with white asparagus and mayo. It would have been around 10 euros but I stupidly grabbed expensive waters. Luckily you just point to order because my Spanish was rusty.
The architecture in the area is stunning. A highlight for me was the Rosaleda.
We took our chances and left for the airport later than we probably should have (already had boarding passes though) and still had plenty of time to get our bags and go through security and get to T4S.
It was an expensive 3 hours, but compared with 6 in the airport it was priceless, and I I'd do it all again just for that asparagus sandwich.
Thanks all for your advice--I look forward to taking a real trip to Madrid one day!
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May 5th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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I'm toying with this same idea myself for Saturday, May 17th. We only have a five hour layover. Curious how long you gave yourself to get back to the airport and if it was enough or too much?

And I thought you could just take a metro into town...no?
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May 5th, 2008, 12:10 PM
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yk
 
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ccrosner - Yes, you could take the metro but it takes considerably longer. Depending on which part of town, the metro will easily take 45 minutes + eacy way.
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May 5th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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yorkshire,
So glad it worked out well for you, that you had nice weather and that you found your way to Mallorca-my favorite gourmet deli!
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May 5th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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The cab, though expensive, takes less than 30 minutes. I just don't think it would be possible with the metro.
As for time, my departure was 4:30, so I planned to hop in a cab at 2:30, it may have been shortly after that. Because I had my boarding pass, that was the perfect amount of time. I had plenty of time to get the luggage from storage and go through 2 security checkpoints plus the fastest passport stamp ever, plus take the train from T4 to T4S. Once there, had a little waiting time but wouldn't want to cut it closer than that. I think it can be done with 5 hrs though, if you are willing to shell out for the cab--getting out of the airport was a must for me.
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