Weedend in Madrid - Suggestions?

Old Apr 14th, 2005, 02:22 AM
  #1  
PJI
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Weedend in Madrid - Suggestions?

My husband and I are going to spend a long weekend in Madrid late May. We are arriving early on a Friday morning and departing on a Sunday evening. We are going to be staying in the Westin Palace Hotel (3 bancotel coupons!) Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions of what we should be sure to see in such a short time period. I know we will go to the Prado. I've heard its free on Sundays so we may save it for then. Any other suggestions?
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 02:25 AM
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Don't you hate it when you misspell words in the post title! Of course, I meant WEEKEND in Madrid.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 02:58 AM
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when you do the prado enter via the valesquez portal at the south end of the building. the crowd is much less.

the prado collection is very large. it's unlikely you could see it in even a couple of days. i would suggest you visit their website and be selective.

also, if you like quality museums, don't miss the thyssen a few blocks up the street. i'm not a big fan of the reina sophia but it does have picasso's "guernica".

one thing i like about madrid museums is that one can spend the morning, do lunch and return in the later afternoon very conveniently. i can recommend the cerveceria cervantes on calle cervantes (just across and up the the street from the prado) for some of the best tapas in madrid.

have fun!!!
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 03:42 AM
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one of my favorite musuems/convents/historical places.. convento de las descalazas. ask directions from hotel easy walk i believe, go early. controlled entrance as it is small.

for german cuisine.. famous "edleweiss" huge portions, good prices. behind the senate building across from your hotel.

watch your wallets/bags, etc. near all these areas, especially in/around your hotel entrance as it is a favorite spot for VERY well dressed thieves.

obviously, usually very wealthy tourist are coming out of that fabulous hotel and gettng their bearings.

you will enjoy this hotel.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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I'd walk around Plaza Mayor, down Cava Baja (stopping for along the way tapas), visit the Palace. Visit the major park (name escapes me at the moment) the weather should be great for a stroll, and I enjoyed it even in February.

Also, are you "museum people?" I ask this is all seriousness. At the risk of being ridiculed, I actually only spent about 1 hour at the Prado (I had researched ahead of time and just went to see some specific paintings). I'm not that into portraiture and the kind of art that is housed there. I actually spent more time at Reina Sofia, and it is much smaller.

You could visit Plaza Santa Ana - good restaurants there as well.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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Hi PJI,

the Prado is free on Saturday afternoons and Sundays (meaning that it gets mobbed during that time ). If the Dürer exhibition is still on, and you are interested, I would buy the tickets in advance.

The current exhibition at the Thyssen finishes on the 15th of May, so I guess you wonīt be able to catch it.
http://www.museothyssen.org/

I would probably try to fit a concert or a musical on Saturday night. Cabaret is a great option at the Nuevo Teatro Alcala (tickets in El Corte Ingles), and "Mamma mia" is not bad at all (if you can forget that Nina is singing there ). I seem to remember that you live in Sevilla. If so, the Mecano musical ( "Hoy no me puedo levantar") has got good reviews. I havenīt been there yet, so I cannot tell you for sure.

Rgds, Cova
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Kaudrey - actually, I would have to admit we aren't really museum people either. We will go to the Prado since its such a popular thing to see but I'm thinking we will go on Saturday evening or Sunday morning since its supposed to be free then (thanks Cova). Even if it will be mobbed, we don't enjoy spending "too" much time in museums and would rather not pay if we didn't have too.

Thanks everyone - keep the suggestions rolling in. Suggestions on moderate to cheap eats appreciated also!

P.S. Cova - we actually live closer to the Costa del Mare but we went to Paris from the Seville airport. Thanks for the suggestion for the musical though.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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PJ: I just returned from a weekend in Madrid, and I posted this idea for a night out. Take a look at www.walksofspain and go to the food section. This is a very good dinner with wine in a tavern and a restaurant led by Andres Jarabo. He takes the wines to the restaurants ahead of time, and they pair the foods to them. Then he tells about each wine and food as they are served. He takes a very small group. There were 8 of us, and he asked if two college age girls could join us. We all loved it.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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The a small botanical garden next to the Prado. The park kaudrey is referring to is Retiro Park and is worth a visit, especially on a nice day. Not far from the Palace is the small park with the Don Quixote Statue (that name escapes me).
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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The Reina Sofia I believe is opened late (until 9ish) a few nights a week. This was the first museum we visited the day we arrived. We arrive in the morning (on a Saturday), checked into our hotel early, had breakfast, then took a nap. In the late afternoon we did some wandering and headed towards the Reina Sofia. I prefer smaller, less crowded museums. Reina was not overwhelmingly large, and in the late afternoon/early evening it was not crowded at all. There's also a sculpture garden there. If it weren't for my kids complaining they were hungry (and not thrilled about being in an art museum in the 1st place), we could easily have spent more time there.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Just continuing my previous post...anyway in the days to follow we visit the Prado and THyssen. Reina was my favorite and I was disappointed I didn't have time to return while we were there to see more of it.
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Old Apr 14th, 2005, 11:56 PM
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Thanks everyone. Great suggestions. We are really looking forward to this weekend away. If anyone else has any more ideas I would love to hear them.

Marty - I remember reading about your experience with walksofspain. It sounded really nice. I do have a question. I am not a drinker. Do you think it would be worth the price to go if I didn't partake of any of the wines? My husband would certainly enjoy them though.
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 06:07 AM
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PJ: I don't thing you would enjoy it as much without the wine. The food was good--various hams, calamari, paella, beef that you cook at the table on hot bricks, chocolate covered figs. One of the girls was a vegetarian, so they brought her a salad and spinach croquettes which were delicious. It was 39 Euros per person.
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 12:15 AM
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Hi PJI,

El Corte Ingles is already selling "Cabaret" tickets up to the 22nd of May. If you decide to go, I would opt for the 22:00 session, and Iīd try to get tickets either in Patio or in Palcos. In those cases you can order drinks and tapas and enjoy the play while having your dinner

As you are not a museum person, I might try to visit the Palacio Real (the visit is quite good and not boring at all), and maybe the Jardin Botanico, near the Prado http://www.rjb.csic.es/

I agree with Kaudrey about researching the Prado before going there. Although I am a Friend of the Museum, I always feel that the Prado is not so big as places like the Louvre or the National Gallery. Itīs worthwhile to me because all of the Velazquez pictures (I can spend hours sitting by "Las lanzas"), but I think that it can disappoint some people who come with greater expectations.
http://museoprado.mcu.es/home.html

The Reina Sofia doesnīt have so many interesting exhibitions as they should have (other contemporary art museums in Spain have more vitality), but it is open until 21:00, and it has some very good things :
http://www.museoreinasofia.es/portada/portada.php

Have you checked the renovated Madrid tourism website?
http://www.descubremadrid.com/
http://www.esmadrid.com/
Click on descubremadrid on this last website, and you will get directed to the Madrid guided walks (in spanish and english)
http://www.esmadrid.com/monograficos.../es/index.html
They arenīt very expensive, and look like a good way to spend a couple of hours.

Rgds, Cova
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 03:34 AM
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Thanks everyone for the info. I'll check into them. Glad to see my post still getting some responses.
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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Hi there... literally just back from a weekend in Madrid and missing it already. Don't even think of the Prado on a Sunday, the queue was unbelieveable..... and wrapped half way around the building. We did the Thyssen instead and really enjoyed this. We used maribel's guide to Madrid (she's another foderite, just key in her name to the search area and you should get it) which was our bible while there.. great hints and suggestions. The Royal Palace is worth a visit too. For fantastic steaks and the best meal while there we would recommend a small argentinia place close to the Plaza San Martin..(Just off one of the side streets) they also do great tapas. DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER eating anywhere around the Plaza Mayor.. Maribel warned against this but as we were tired and hungry on our first night we ended up there and were completely ripped off for what will amount to the worst meal we've ever had..) We were warned alot about pickpocketing but had no problems - although used a neck purse just in case. Another good option for cheap dining is Fresco - again close to San Martin Square... they have an 'all you can eat' buffet for just €7.50 and consists of great salads, pizza, pasta, coffee, ice cream, rice pudding etc........it was GREAT value...
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Thanks Al_Mo! Yes, I have Maribel's guides but thanks for pointing it out. Looking forward to your resturant suggestion - sounds right up my hubbys alley.
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 12:11 AM
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Hi PJI,

Frescco has 4 or 5 locations in Madrid, you can find them in : http://www.frescco.com

We discovered them three or four years ago in Barcelona, and we find them a good option when you want to have something quick and healthy. It can get a bit packed at lunch time (after 1:30, more or less), but as it is open the whole day, it doesnīt matter a lot.

First you pick up your salad and order your drink (first one is included), then sit down and afterwards you can go and pick up the pasta, soup, pizza, your main course, coffee and desserts. You cannot send someone in advance to find a table, only do it after you have paid for your menu. One thing that you should remember is that you cannot have, letīs say three people eating and one of them keeping them company, the four of them should have ordered and paid their lunch.

We witnesed a very "funny" argument regarding this last March. Three middle-aged french ladies sent one of them in advance to secure a table, and by the time the waiters realized what was going on, it was a bit late. She made as if she didnīt understand, not even french, and then her friends arrived with only two menus, and lot of dishes. It seemed that they were planning on sharing At the end the manager of the restaurant had to come and show them the rules, which they finally agreed to comply (paid for the third lady) among many complaints that spaniards donīt like french people and so on ...

Another thing. Plaza de Santa Ana is becoming a favourite spot for pickpockets, specially the outdoor tables, although they sometimes venture into the bars. The bar owners send them away as soon as they spot them, but be very careful nevertheless. The pickpockets look pretty normal to me. The ones I saw was a middle-aged latinamerican couple, well dressed. The woman went into the bars while the man waited outside, and she hanged out mostly near the people sitting in the tables. She certainly didnīt make distinctions among spaniards and foreign people (maybe she tended more towards the spaniards), and went in a huff when she was told away by the manager.

Rgds, Cova
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 02:21 AM
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Funny story Cova. Thanks for the info on Frescco. We will keep it in mind for a fast and cheap lunch. I was contemplating having breakfast at the hotel one of the days but I'm not sure 50 Euros for breakfast is something we are going to want to do or not. At least if we have tostada and cafe con leche we will be ready for a cheap meal at Frescco by lunch!
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 02:55 AM
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50 euros is a lot, but I have heard that the Palace buffet is really amazing. I think that they serve it under the glass coupoule, so maybe one of the days will be well worth it ...

I have been thinking a bit more. I donīt know how interested you can be in Egypt, but if you are, there are a couple of places in Madrid :

- the temple of Debod. Brought to Spain as a reward for the help with the Aswan dam build. I like it a lot.
http://www.munimadrid.es/templodebod/
http://www.andarines.com/walkers/dedodin.htm

- the "Azules Egipcios" exhibition at the Conde Duque Cultural Centre. It will be on up to the 22nd of May. Free entrance. A collection of blue egyptian faenzas.
http://www.elmundo.es/metropoli/2005...109676699.html

Rgds, Cova
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