Madrid Itinerary - please critique?

Old Jan 28th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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Revulgo.. you certainly deserve a round of applause. What great lists! Aren't we lucky, fodorites?!

(Wish I knew how to do those clapping hands!)
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 11:52 AM
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In response to Mikeleg and Aduchamp1,

You're wrong about the Valley of the Fallen. The iniital exclusion of Republican soldiers was overturned (in the early '60s if I recall) and now soldiers from both the Nationalist and Republic sides are buried there. It is truly a memorial to the Civil War dead.

Also, while in the past the anniversary of Franco's death brought out demonstrators at the monument, this is not the case nowadays. We were there on Nov. 21,2009, and there was very heavy police presence. Our guide told us that they forbid any flags or other overt signs of support, for or against, Franco at the monument and they check each car going up to the Basilica. We encountered no demonstrators at the monument but did happen across a Falange rally at the Plaza Oriente the next day, which was certainly interesting.

As regards describing the monument, "charming" is not a word I used and is certainly out of context. I found the monument moving. The Civil War tore Spain apart and there are people still alive who fought and lost fathers, brothers, etc. in that conflict. One of my memories at the monument was of a very old man who approached the spot where Franco is buried and solemley bowed his head as he gave the sign of the cross. I couldn't help but wonder if he fought in the war, lost loved ones, or was just someone who supported the old regime. Regardless of where you stand politically, a monument to the war dead is moving to most people. And, this particular monument is living history because the event occurred in the not too distant past. For these reasons, I found this place more interesting and memorable than El Escorial.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 12:26 PM
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First, I wrote that is was built with slave labor. I did not address who was buried there. And the word "charming" was obviously sarcastic. But on-line people love to take things literally.

No matter who they allow to be buried it was a monument to facism and an oppressive regime.

We have been visiting Spain since 1972 and had cousins who fought in the war and we are well aware of the emotional toll that still exists. There used be blind veterans in the streets selling lottery tickets.

There are still many who hold Franco in esteem, but that change the intent. I have also visited Asucshitz and even though it is memoriam to those who died during a war, I have no compassion for those who perpetrated the atrocities.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 01:00 PM
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I can´t agree. The monument was built to honour just one side, the winners. The founder of Falange (a fascist group) is buried there, by Franco, in the most prominent place. The extreme right and those that miss the Franco times consider this monument as a symbol of their beliefs.

The prohibition on illegal rallies at the monument is new, until very recent years the (diminishing) members of extreme right parties celebrated Franco´s death anniversaries there.

But yes, you may find it moving, Franco took its time to find the perfect spot for his monument and the result is really awesome.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 05:29 PM
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So what if the monument was built by fascists? They fought and died for their beliefs and their country, just like the communists, socialists, and other assorted lefties did for the Republican cause. Again, one's politics shouldn't interfere with one's ability to appreciate a memorial to a nation's civil war dead. The memorial is fascinating, architechturally stunning, and the views, both on approach and from the courtyard, are fantastic and worth the price of admission alone. Just the fact that my mentioning the Valley of the Fallen ilicited such strong opinions suggests that this place is worth a visit.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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Just the fact that my mentioning the Valley of the Fallen ilicited such strong opinions suggests that this place is worth a visit.

Odd logic.

It was built by facists for facists with slave labor. Franco oppressed millions of Spaniards, there is nothing to celebrate.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 06:59 PM
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"So what if the monument was built by fascists? They fought and died for their beliefs and their country..."

I cannot believe that someone would openly admire fascist and their deeds.
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 10:49 PM
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As you may know, the fascists started a "coup d´etat" in 1936 against the legal government. That´s the objective fact. They were helped in their fight by Hitler and Mussolini soldiers. Fascists, again. After their victory,Franco established a dictatorship that lasted 40 years. In the first 10 years after the war there were thousands killed in retaliation for their political beliefs.

Both sides fought for their beliefs and their country. But one side won and established a regime of terror, for several years, in which the "enemies of Spain, of the Catholic religion and of our secular traditions" had to be eliminated or sent to prison.

It has nothing to do with my ideas. As I say, this monument may be moving, but it doesn´t represent any idea of reconciliation or forgiveness. Quite the contrary, it´s the best example of a brutal and fascist regime. This fact should be taken into account when visiting it, as one would never say that the nazi prison camps should be admired for their architectural values...
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Old Jan 28th, 2010, 10:57 PM
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Can you imagine a prominent burial place of Mussolini in a huge monument like this in Italy in the 21st century? Well, really it is not so impossible as seems…
… who could imagine someone like Berlusconi in Italy in the 21st century?
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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I <B>love</B> your easy pace. Leave it like that & do not rush things. Do not be concerned that you must have every minute planned, that is NOT the spanish approach ..experince the cities as you go.

What are your interests?

Here are my looong suggestions & commentssorry)

1. I stayed at the Infanta and really enjoyed the overnight.
Be sure to ask for a plaza view. Be aware that the tiny bistro downstairs will offer a breakfast that seems to be mainly continental breakfast for about 12E if I recall. However we learned (in 07) that eggs, bacon, toast all sorts of things were included in the price. There is just no sign saying that. Just ask first to be sure it's still the offer if you are breakfast people.

2. PIG: As the others mentined Jose Maria, Candido are highly recommended for cochinillo. We did dine at Candido & enjoyed it but I did also loved our meal & good service at the smaller restautant "Narizotas". They do have great menu del dia...great value and are a lighter feeling more modern, varied menu.
It is on the way from your hotel to the aquaduct and if you can handle more food for lunch I would recommend it there, if not dinner.

3. La Granja. Yes try to stop there as suggested if you have time it is great.

4. We also stayed in Pedraza and had the famous baby lamb at
Yantar (lunch only, no dinner is served) The best, but you would need a car. It was recommended by Maribel. You can't go wrong with any of Maribel's suggestion on maribel's guides.

5 I do however agree the Palace can be seen same day as arrival as suggested. It does not take that long but is a must see. I believe that Wednesday is the day they have the bigger ceremony for the changing of the guard. (I personally prefer quieter times though) The Mercado San Miguel is fun, especially for the first day. No cheap but very nice & fun to stop by. All Revulgo's suggestions are great I loved the costume museum (but it is a quiet and small exibit) I also recommend the Dezcalsas monestary smack dab in the area between Puerta del Sol and the Palace. Pay attention to the scheduling though..again maribel's guides.

6. Tapas : For your tapas w/ friends I suggest you do three/max 4 places in plaza Santa Ana. We started out by standing at the bar in one of the larger sit down places (I will try to get the name) but resist the temptation to order too many things at once or you will be too full. Be SURE to hit the tiny Casa del Abuelo for their fantastic shrimp in many ways. They also have a delicious but sweet house wine you can try (and buy by the bottle there )Casa del Abuelo has a new little annex across the street from the original...they gave us some free drink cupons for a few copas.

Lastly we ended up at the Museo del jamon in Santa Ana which is toutisty but fun and we did a ham (jamon) comparison to conclude things, ordered the serrano, iberico de bellota and compared them with some more wine and cheese. It gets really hopping at night and is crammed with people but fun to do. You must learn how to push you way through...

Right down the street is the flamenco bar Cardamomo you can see what is happening there if anything. We happened upong the end of a show But it is hit or miss.

Lasty Toledo we enjoyed very much. Again re the food, there is a small bakery there somewhere owned by two ladies they have really good stuff for the ride back....yum! If I recall empanadas...
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Old Jan 31st, 2010, 06:17 AM
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A couple of suggestions:

Café Central is a grat jazz venue, new top musicians every week; concerts every night at 10pm. Admission 10€. At Plaza del Angel, just off Plaza Santa Ana:

You also bump directly into the annual Caja Madrid Flamenco Festival (the city's most important flamenco event) with some of the world's greatest flamenco artists. At Teatro Circo Price from the 15th to the 20th of February. I would highly recommend Arcángel (song)/Dorantes (piano)/Joaquin Grilo (dance) on the 19th and Enrique Morente (song) on the 20th.

The 2nd floor on the fabolous Reina Sofia museum holds a display of art (films, paintings, photos, posters) related to some of the major civilizational break-downs of the 20th Century; the Spanish Civil War and WWII.

Finally, regarding some of the comments in previous postings, every Spaniard know that Valle de los Caídos/Valley of the Fallen is no "memorial to a nation's civil war dead" but a monument to honour Franco and his regime. The banning of Franco support ralleys at the monument must be seen in relation to the recent braking of the so-called "pact of forgetting" after Franco's death in 1975, the ongoing opening of mass graves from the franquist period and the Ley de la Memória Histórica/Historical memory law from 2007 which aims at, finally, honouring Franco's victims:
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Old Jan 31st, 2010, 07:21 AM
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I very much agree with usernameistaken about staying overnight in Toledo. It takes on a completely different character then. We have stayed overnight there twice and are glad that we did.
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