Blogs from District of Madrid, Spain, Europe

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Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 23rd 2022

Our return flight itinerary was scheduled to be Vigo-Madrid-London Heathrow-Washington Dulles. Viking had arranged a coach transfer from Santiago de Compostela to Vigo airport. (Like us, most of the Santiago group were flying to Madrid to make connections. Vigo appeared to offer a better outgoing flight than Santiago.) To accommodate our early morning departure, the Parador kindly provided a to-go breakfast. This included an apple, nuts, a juice drink, a ham sandwich and a pice of almond cake. The coach departed at 6:30 a.m. for the 9:20 flight from Vigo. Once there, we learned high winds at the Virgo airport caused Iberia to redirect the incoming flight to Santiago. We had already checked in, so everyone then had to collect their luggage and head for Iberia buses to take us and hour's drive back to Santiago! ... read more
Sierra de Guadarrama
San Agustín del Guadalix
Madrid–Barajas Airport

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid July 3rd 2022

(Day 3 on the road) I am on the road again - more than 11 years after my last sabbatical ended. And boy, it does feel good! Between 2008 and 2011, I travelled across many parts of Asia, Australia & New Zealand, Central America and India. This time, I am looking at a 12-months trip around (mainly) South America. Originally planned for two years ago, Covid has delayed my plans just slightly. But now I have finally started, and I couldn’t be happier. They say that anticipation is sweet, and it certainly was in this case. A lot of flights to Latin America are going via Madrid, so that's where I am starting my trip. The first order of business was getting a proper and thorough haircut - having almost no hair makes things just so ... read more
Metro Estacion del Arte
At the Prado
Installation at Reina Sofia

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid June 26th 2022

Last night, after suffering what seemed like terminal jet-lag, Jody and I returned to the hotel and immediately collapsed into a well needed sleep. The alarm was set for 6:45, plenty of time to get up and get ready for a 7:30 breakfast. Unfortunately, my internal alarm wasn’t working correctly, so about 5:30 I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. Fortunately, that gave me time to write the Day 1 blog entry, while Jody quietly snored away blissfully until 6:45. Breakfast was great! Plenty of selection, including some unknown and weird looking fruit-like items. No bacon, and the sausage was really just mini hot-dogs. But the croissants and the chocolate donuts were great! Jody also quickly figured out that café Americano will get you a black coffee, and café de leche will get coffee ... read more
Arriving in Toledo
Toledo Bridge
Arriving in Toledo

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid June 25th 2022

We’re on the road again! Our last European vacation was back in June of 2019 when we went on a trip to northern Italy with Grand European Tours and Insight Vacations. It was our first European bus tour, and we had such a great time, when we returned, we immediately booked the Best of Spain and Portugal Tour for 15 days in June of 2020. But in March of 2020, COVID-19 hit and the tour, along with most travel was cancelled and the lockdowns began. For the first year of lockdowns, we mostly stayed home, with just a few domestic excursions by car. But the vaccines came, and after the second year of locksdowns, we were vaccinated and double-boosted and venture bqck out among the living! Fortunately, Grand European Tours was great! While they wouldn’t refund ... read more
Jody's New Friend
Travelling to the Hotel
Our Hotel Room in Madrid

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid June 16th 2022

TOUR 2 – Great Iberian Tour – THU, 16 JUN 2022 – Day 17: Visit Cordoba. Windmills in Consuegra. We leave Seville following the valley of the Guadalquivir to CORDOBA. We will visit Cordoba’s great Cathedral-Mosque and the Synagogue (entrance to both is included) with a local guide. Take a stroll in the old district with its famous flower patios and will have free time to discover its flowered alleys. After lunch, we will continue our trip towards the Castilian lands and stop at CONSUEGRA, with its 12 giant windmills next to the castle. We will take advantage and visit the Gastromolino Windmill whilst we are in the area of the La Mancha plains. Continuing then on to MADRID, where we will arrive towards the end of the day. End of our services. Please, check the ... read more
On the Way to Cordoba, Spain
On the Way to Cordoba, Spain
On the Way to Cordoba, Spain

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid June 1st 2022

WED, 01 JUN 2022 – Day 2: "Madrid city tour. Stroll through the Retiro Park. Visit to the Las Ventas bullring. Evening transfer. The morning starts with a comprehensive tour through the centre of Madrid including the Paseo del Prado, Cibeles, Neptuno, the Gate of Alcalá, Plaza de Colón and Plaza Mayor. We then will visit Retiro Park, an oasis in the city centre, where we will see the lake and the Glass Palace. A visit to Las Ventas Bullring (admission included) is next. This is one of the most famous bullrings in the world where we will learn about the tradition of the “corridas” at the Bullfighting Museum. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your own leisure. At sunset we will provide a transfer to Plaza de Oriente, opposite the Royal Palace, an elegant ... read more

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid May 31st 2022

TUE, 31 MAY 2022 – THU, 16 JUN 2022 TOUR 2 – Great Iberian Tour – 17 Days; Europamundo – Overview The push and pull along with the give and take that dominated my travel calendar resulted the substitution of my post-tour time in Madrid, Spain for some spontaneous, freelance escapades in and around Barcelona, Spain; however, the abandonment of the “Tangier/Gibraltar option” between Marrakech, Morocco and Madrid offered me the opportunity to spend six days in Madrid before I met up with the folks participating in the 17-day Great Iberian Tour offered by Europamundo. From the introduction provided by Europamundo: “Start and end in Madrid! With the In-depth Cultural tour Great Iberian Tour, you have a 17 days tour package taking you through Madrid, Spain and 29 other destinations in Europe. Great Iberian Tour includes ... read more
Awaiting the Start of the Great Iberian Tour
Awaiting the Start of the Great Iberian Tour
Awaiting the Start of the Great Iberian Tour

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 20th 2020

MADRID 10/21/19 We began the day with an amazing self serve breakfast at Catalyna Atacha, what a delicious spread of culinary treats from Spain! I loved the fuet salami, the fresh bread with ovo and tomato salsa as well as the many varieties of hams and cheeses. The delicious Bocadillos, mini sandwiches with peppers and lettuce, were a surprising treat for breakfast and the creamy fresh yogurt with goji berries, nuts, bee pollen and chia topping options was a nice plus. Lots of fruit, fruit juices and delicious coffees were there to compliment it all. If only I could repeat, repeat. Instead I have added many of these options here at home to our daily routine. After breakfast we embarked on our first tour of the day walking toward the Plaza Mayor and through the major ... read more
Restaurante Sobrino de Botin on Calle Cuchilleros, a favorite of Hemingway’s mentioned in A Sun Also Rises
Madrid’s famous coat of arms, a statue of a bear and a strawberry tree in the pavement
Church in Madrid

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid November 16th 2019

A decision has been made, we are flying to Madrid, SPAIN. Walking to the bus, the skies start to spit rain, but arriving in Marsaille, and boarding the plane, the tarmac is like a shallow river. Am so relieved when the aircraft lifts off. Once in Madrid, it is necessary to visit the Atocha train station to find out where we can get to from here, a process that takes two and a half hours. While waiting, we think about the fact that in 2004, this was one of the stations bombed by Al Qaeda, killing 193 people, and injuring 2,000, in opposition to Spain participating in the Iraq War. Cannot imagine the destruction and suffering. Our apartment is in an 1800’s building, and since the elevator does not function, it is 70 slanted stairs up ... read more
Say hello to my little friend!
Atocha Railway Station
An inside terrerium at the Atocha station

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid October 20th 2019

MADRID 10/20/19 After an early morning landing in Madrid we taxied from the airport to the Hotel Catalonia Atocha located within walking distance of the famous Plaza Mayor. Our hotel is located in the historic Literary Quarter where Spain’s great literary giants once lived and roamed the streets. The remains of Miguel Cervantes and Lope de Vega are said to rest in this area. We were met in the hotel lobby by lovely Vera, our Gate 1 guide for the next eleven days. Vera provided us with maps, an overview of the area including shopping tips such as the large open air flea market and places where we might find a nice lunch. Under cool and questionable skies we were off to explore Plaza Mayor and beyond. With a reputed 300 days of sunshine a year, ... read more
Archway to Plaza Mayor
 The iconic statue of King Phillip III
La Casa del Bacalao inside the Mercado San Miguel




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