Monday, October 15, 2007

Madrid - old meets new

During our Spain trip in March we also visited Madrid. I found that it was much colder there than it had been in Barcelona, that people were less likely to speak to you in English (fine by me), and that the general feeling was a little less fun and a lot more rushed.

Church in Madrid

Walking around Madrid did give me a great sense of the country's history and it's current state. It was interesting to see old buildings next to busy roads, and plazas in the middle of streets and every intersection. In the middle of the day as well as in the evening there were plenty of people bustling around.

Statues lining walkway

There were many statues throughout the city. The ones above were lining a pathway in a garden outside of the Palacio Real (the Royal Palace). Other statues were in parks, plazas, outside of museums, and outside buildings. It felt like the whole city was alive in art. I really enjoyed that aspect of the city.

lake at park
nice park area

There were also many parks in the city, but one particularly nice one. This park was quite expansive, with gardens, fountains, benches, statues, even a very old tree. It also had a lake area where people boated. This area of the park seemed very popular as there were many people walking, running, and generally enjoying themselves. Of course what would a Spanish park be without the obligatory statue? Although I was quite chilly by this point, we still spend a little while here just generally relaxing and enjoying ourselves.

glass wall

When we were walking over to the Palacio Real from a park, we crossed a bridge that had glass walls along the walkway. It's rather windy, so I definitely felt safer. But it did seem that one of the main reasons the walls were there was to help deter jumpers. I was however immediately amused by the prospect of a photo with the Madrid crest hovering in the middle on it without any editing required. Too bad I was too cold to try to take a really good one.

I really love the pictures from parks and old buildings, so I will end this post with just a series of them. One of the best parts of Madrid was the scenery, especially how parks could just randomly appear (same as statues). I could comment on all of them, but would you want that? No, I'm fairly sure you'd rather just see the pictures!

And that's the end of the short version of around the city Madrid pictures!


Nina said...

Thanks for posting the pictures Megan! They are really pretty.

Jill said...

What is a plaza? I really don't know... do they even have those here in the US??

Megan said...

A plaza is something that doesn't happen very often in the US, but is very popular in Spain. One thing it can be is an area in the middle of an intersection with a fountain, statue, benches, etc. Usually those are small.

A plaza can also be a sort of city center, with a large open area surrounded by shops/restaurants/etc. Often there is a fountain or something similar in the middle of these as well. When we were walking around Madrid we often ended up in plazas of this type for shopping, food, or site seeing. All of these plazas have names (Plaza Mayor, Plaza del Sol).

I feel like plazas are one of the main things that define Spanish culture. They can be a gathering point, a festival area, etc. We have some in the US, but they are not as common (it's hard to walk in Spain without ending up in a plaza of some sort every block or two). One example I can think of is in San Francisco outside of the Macy's. Also the middle of Time Square in NYC is a sort of plaza, as well as many parks in the middle of roundabouts in Philly and DC.

I hope that helped and wasn't too long winded. :)