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Épater la Bourgeoisie
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night. Appointments with a friend are habitually made for after midnight at the cafe

Ernest Hemingway


The ever important Soundtrack

The return to Madrid after 5 years absence was a longer and more rewarding one. We got to see, feel and experience more of the city and the things that it offers. From endless walks to sampling new restaurants, from bars to doing the highbrow stuff in galleries and museums. Madrid remains the same city I saw all these years ago. Still lively, very liveable and exciting.

1. Plaza Mayor. The main square of Madrid. Built in 17th century and once used for executions, celebrations and bullfights. Today, not surprisingly
it is a tourist trap full of stores and vendors selling tourist tat and overpriced restaurants and cafes serving dubious quality stuff. Looks pretty though.



2. The focal point of Plaza Mayor is the wonderful Casa de la Panadería.



3. With its stunning painted facade...



4. Royal Palace of Madrid an absolutely monumental but somewhat austere royal residence. Although these days the Royal family no longer lives here. It is instead used for state ceremonies. The interior is impressive. Although you get the feeling that the kings of Spain that built it went overboard and made it so large for the sake of it...the result was that it feels rather cold and empty. The problem with big spaces is that it is difficult to fill them...We went in during the 2 hours in the evening that it is free. The staff were not very friendly.



5. Santa María la Real de La Almudena, built in 1993. An imposing and impressive building.



6. The Museo del Prado - the world famous repository of the best Spanish art. Cheapskates that we are we once again went in during the hours there's no admission fee. However the minus of this approach is that couple of hours is nowhere near enough to properly see the place. We did get to see Goya, Velasquez, Ribera (the leader of the notorious Cabal of Naples - a semi-criminal band of rogue painters who's primary goal was to prevent the competition from other artists, Annibale Carracci and his followers were especially hated by the group) and Bosch.



7. The other entrance.



8. Edificio Telefónica on Gran Via, built in 1929. From a time Europe wasn't afraid to play hard.



9. Gran Via. The most impressive street in Europe?



10. Palacio de Cibeles. Now the City Hall run by Socialists. Sadly.



11. Plaza de España and its monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, below it are the bronze statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The dreamy noble and a simple farmer.



12. Plaza de la Villa.



13. Once the main centre of Medieval Madrid now it is a rather quiet place.



14. Random street. The weather was very changeable. One day hot the other non-stop rain.



15. A beautiful street besides Plaza Mayor. In the background we can see Posada del Peine - one of the oldest hotels in Spain.



16. Beautiful facades. The architecture in Madrid is somewhere between Rome and Paris.



17. Mercado de San Miguel. The wonderfully elegant and light structure built in 1916. Today it is a Tapas market with many stalls and vendors. It is impressive both inside and outside and is very, very busy. However this isn't Asia, a couple of buys will cost you quite a bit.



18.



19. Absolutely full of people.



20. You can barely move around. It seems to be popular with both tourists and locals. It does look good, but way overpriced.



21.



22. Mercado de la Cebada another food court. Equally pricy. For cheap eats it is best to head for certain bars that serve hearty portions of tapas with every drink you buy. Be careful. ;)



23. Chocolatería San Ginés. An absolutely busy place, with three separate queues heading for three different entrances. The dunking cup of hot chocolate and 6 churros are 4 euros which is reasonable. However the interior isn't impressive and the whole place feels like a box you tick on a tourist trail rather than a place to sit and relax with friends or a special someone. It is rushed with staff not even bothering to smile or greet their customers and simply yelling "next", "next". If you in Madrid give it a go. If you're living there, then there are better places.



24. Crowded and noisy. The chocolate and churros were good though.



25. Buns and Bones. This place we LOVED. The tiny little eatery with funky interior design and hidden away by the Mercado de Antón Martín left a great impression on us. The staff are great, the food is great and prices are fine. Give it a go.

 

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Épater la Bourgeoisie
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Discussion Starter #4
26. Street art in Madrid. There's plenty of that in the city. Too bad most of the time it takes the form of the lame-ass tags.



27. An imposing church in the rain. Interestingly enough in such a Catholic country we found a lot of the churches shut.



28. An old and elaborate doorway attached to a drab building.



29. I like the facades in Madrid. There's a far greater variety than in Paris.



30. Another one!



31. Pasadizo de San Gines which leads to the Chocolateria San Gines. I love the street signs in Madrid. London's are iconic but Madrid's beautiful.



32. Curious looking building there.



33. More facades!



34. Amazing door there!



35. Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores. It transforms into El Rastro market on weekends. One of the largest flea markets in Europe.

 

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Épater la Bourgeoisie
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Discussion Starter #17
Continued...

36. The beginning of El Rastro Market. Bunch of useful idiots with commie symbols 'n shit. Honestly what is wrong with some people? They should be packed off to NoKo or Russia to live their wet dreams.



37. Personally I failed to see what the fuss is all about. The market is full of hippies with dirty dreds, all kinds of hipster varieties, the usual petty criminals and bewildered tourists.



38. Grown men trading stickers and collectible cards.



39. Sunday Gallery in a courtyard.



40. I find that a lot of continental cities are covered in graffiti and tags. Pretty much every single surface is sprayed, even stones in the countryside (no joke). The scumbags that do that should be made to scrub their shit off the walls with their bare hands!



41. A cool modern apartment complex in what once was an industrial area (hence the chimney, and it is a lovely chimney).



42. Madrid Rio Park - probably one of the most ambitious urban renewal projects in the entire Europe. This was once an area blighted by traffic and pollution...But then the city authorities put the roads under the ground and built this fantastic park. Hats off! Very impressive.



43. Rainy day.



44. Madrid has an extensive PT network. The Metro began operation in 1919 and has 13 lines with the 293.0km of track. Getting from place to place is easy.



45. Near Plaza Mayor in a chocolate store.

 

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Épater la Bourgeoisie
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46. A rather cool little corner bookstore. It sells usual tourist stuff but also some interesting books - both contemporary and antique, as well as maps and pictures.



47. Spanish Sakuras. These were everywhere in the city and added a lot of charm.



48. On a rainy day...Maybe it's not Sakura but Plum?



49. Somewhat Parisian feel here.



50. Very beautiful little sleepy corner somewhere in La Latina. It's solid, urban but also unmistakably Spanish. Love it.



51. A narrow street somewhere in the city. Reminds me of the closing scene of Goya's Ghosts.



52. Very old houses near Plaza Mayor. This is tourist central, however there's one very local local place called Bodegas Ricla. A family affair and accord to Time Out - "A tiny, bright and friendly mother-and-son operation, Bodegas Ricla does a great line in garlicky 'boquerones' (whitebait) and an incongruous one in soft rock. Cheap but good wine and sherry are available by the litre, poured from tall clay urns, or there is vermouth on tap. Also worth trying are the 'cecina' (thin slices of cured venison) and cabrales cheese in cider." Unfortunately we didn't try it...Next time.



53. Rainy street scenes in Lavapies.



54.



55. Calle de Segovia.




Warning

The next batch of pictures will feature scenes from the bullfight...just so you know...
 
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