Madrid Spain, Town of Many (Part I)

Madrid is a beautiful town full of museums, history, and incredible parks.  It is Spain’s central capital and has a population of approximately 3.25 million.  Madrid was a short ride from Valencia, but I learned an important fact, double check your train ticket the night before. Yes, I almost missed my train! At 8:53 am I realized my train was at 9:15 am. A half mile run with two 20 lbs backpacks, a taxi from the Estació del Nord train station to the Joaquin Sorolla train station, a misplaced ticket, another dash into the train station, and somehow I made it with thirty seconds to spare.

The Airbnb I stayed at was conveniently located right across the street from the Atocha Railway Station.

Madrid - Atocha Railway Station and a Hub for Metro Rail
Madrid – Atocha Railway Station and a Hub for Metro Rail

After working out a game plan I headed to the Reina Sofia Museum of Arts. On my walk over to the museum I saw a familiar Austin site, a Pub-Crawler.

Madrid
Madrid

The Reina Sofa was another grand museum with Picasso’s, Van Gogh’s, and many other paintings.

Reina Sofía-Picasso-1901 Woman in the Loge
Reina Sofía-Picasso-1901 Woman in the Loge

One of my favorites, the Picasso “Guernica” is massive, as well as incredible, but you couldn’t take a picture of it, so here is a picture from the internet.

Guernica - Picasso - 1937
Guernica – Picasso – 1937

Imagine this painting being 11ft 6 inch  x 25ft 6 inch. Now you have the “big” picture. Background: Spain acquired the mural “Guernica” from Picasso in 1937. When WW II broke out, the artwork was moved to the custody of New York’s Museum of Modern Art for safekeeping.  It wasn’t until 1981 that the piece finally returned to Spain.

“Pablo Picasso’s motivation for painting the scene in this great work was the news of the German aerial bombing of the Basque town whose name the piece bears.”

Van Gogh - 1890 - Daubigny's Garden
Van Gogh – 1890 – Daubigny’s Garden
Reina Sofía-Pissarro-1901 The Seine Seen from the Terrace of the Pont-Neuf
Reina Sofía-Pissarro-1901 – The Seine Seen from the Terrace of the Pont-Neuf

After completing my stroll of the Reina Sofia, I headed to the Madrid – Real Jardin Botanico Garden. This was a lovely and relaxing walk through a beautiful garden.

Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden
Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden

The Iris’ plants were incredible. Such a simple flower, but the colors were so vibrant!   As a child we had several different Iris plants, and it reminded me of my youth.

Madrid - Real Jardin Botanico - Iris
Madrid – Real Jardin Botanico – Iris
Madrid - Real Jardin Botanico - Iris
Madrid – Real Jardin Botanico – Iris

It was good to see some Agave plants, reminding me of home and Austin.

Madrid - Real Jardin Botanico Garden - Agave
Madrid-Real Jardin Botanico Garden-Agave

I ran across a couple of cute little ducklings enjoying a dip in the pond at the botanical gardens.

Ducklings at the Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden
Ducklings at the Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden

We never could get our “Little John” dwarf bottlebrush (callistemon citrinus) to grow like this!  This is actually a cousin.

Dawson River Weeper Bottlebrush
Dawson River Weeper Bottlebrush

A little lavender anyone?

Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden
Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden

I didn’t catch the name of this beautiful flower.

Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Gardens
Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Gardens

The roses were quite beautiful too!

Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden
Madrid Real Jardin Botanico Garden

One of my many meals while in Madrid.

Baked Cod, Potatoes, Sheep Cheese Tapas, and Fried Peppers
Baked Cod, Potatoes, Sheep Cheese Tapas, and Fried Peppers

One of my favorite museums in Madrid was the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.  It had quite a collection of art work. Here are some of my favorites from the Thyssen-B Museum:

Picasso - 19 - Bullfight
Picasso – 1934 – Bullfight
Ernst-33 Little Girls set out for the White Butterfly Hunt
Max Ernst 1958 – 33 Little Girls set out for the White Butterfly Hunt
Van Gogh 1885 - Evening
Van Gogh 1885 – Evening Landscape
Pissarro 1897 – Effect of Rain
Camille Pissarro 1897 – Rue Saint-Honor’e in the Afternoon. Effect of Rain
Andre Derain 1906 - Waterloo Bridge
Andre Derain 1906 – Waterloo Bridge
Mattesse
Henri Matisse 1898 – Canal du Midi
Maximillion Luce – Factory in the Moonlight
Maximillion Luce – Factory in the Moonlight
Claude Monet – The House amongst the Roses
Claude Monet 1925 – The House amongst the Roses
Emil Nolde – Red Clouds
Emil Nolde – Red Clouds
Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Wheatfields
Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1879 – Wheatfield

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the artwork. After the Thyssen-B Museum I continued on down Paseo del Prado to the Palace of Cibele, also known as CentroCentro,

Palace of Cibele - Madrid City Hall - Formally Post Office
Palace of Cibele – Madrid City Hall – Formally Post Office

followed by the Plaza de Cibele, an iconic symbol for the city of Madrid.

named after Cybele, a Phrygian goddess
The fountain was named after Cybele, a Phrygian goddess

Behind the Palace was the Puerta de Alcada.

Puerta de Alcada
Puerta de Alcada

I continued my trek down Gran Via and up Calle Fuencarral Street to the Museo de Historia de Madrid. This museum provides an idea of the evolution of Madrid both historically and from the perspective of its urban development.  You can see paintings, prints, maps, scale models, drawings, photographs, postcards, sculptures, precious metalwork, fans, furniture, weapons, coins and medals on display.

Museo de Historica de Madrid
Museo de Historia de Madrid

Much of the information was in Spanish, but it was still very interesting. Here are pictures of fans from the 1700’s – 1800’s,

Museo de Historia de Madrid
Museo de Historia de Madrid

and a beautiful table piano from 1785.

Museo de Historia de Madrid
Museo de Historia de Madrid

If you like parks, then you need to go to Park Retiro. It is a very large and beautiful park with many trees and paths covering about 345 acres. I entered the park walking up a large hill. People were laying in the grass under the trees, resting, picnicking, enjoying themselves.

Parque del Buen Retiro, literally
Parque del Buen Retiro, literally “Park of the Pleasant Retreat”, ask my friend here

There were paved paths for rollerblades, jogging, and bike riding. There were mazes of walking trails, and playgrounds for children.

Parque del Buen Retiro, literally
Parque del Buen Retiro, literally “Park of the Pleasant Retreat”

Hiking through the park I came across a glass building (Palacio de Cristal ) in front of a small pond. Here I found guitarist, groups of people sunning or chilling, admiring the views.  Nowadays exhibitions of modern art are regularly scheduled inside the Crystal Palace.

Palacio de Cristal - Retiro Park
Palacio de Cristal – Retiro Park

Next was the Monument to Aflonso XII, King of Spain. Another fantastic sculpture/statue in front of a large pond or reservoir with recreationists enjoying the day rowing boats on the pond.

Monument
Monument to Alfonso XII of Spain – 1922

The Park Retiro was a nice treat, and for individuals who enjoy the great outdoors, a must see.

As I was headed for the Atochoa train terminal to leave Madrid, I stumbled across this nice surprise. This garden is part of the Atocha Train Station.

Atocha Train Station
Atocha Train Station

There is much more in Madrid, and I hope to cover additional pieces like the Temple of Debod, and the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande when I am back in Madrid in a few days.

3 thoughts on “Madrid Spain, Town of Many (Part I)”

  1. Looks beautiful. Would love to know the story of the folks in the pink skirts on the pub crawler. I also see blue skys. We haven’t seen alot of those lately but grateful that the rain is helping the lakes. Stay safe.

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  2. The colors of the paintings are all so beautiful! And those Irises are breath-taking. Madrid looks wonderful, and looks like you had great weather for it as well.You know I “awww”-ed out loud to the duckling and kitty pictures.

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