Packing our bags and leaving Seville, I was a little disappointed. Before the trip I had little interest in visiting the city, but it surprised me. I really enjoyed my time in Seville, so now I was sad to leave it. But we had one more city on our itinerary and it was time to see it. We were heading to the capital city of Spain…. Madrid.
We thought it might be a little different on this particular day in Madrid. The night before, in our Seville hotel, we watched Real Madrid soccer team win the Champions League. For Europe, this would be the same as an American team winning the Super Bowl or the World Series. So the city was bracing for a big celebration for their winning team, and we were going to be right in the middle of it!.
We took the high speed train from Seville to Madrid. As I always mention every chance I get, I LOVE the trains in Europe! They get you there quickly and no fuss, and I’m always mad that the US has lost the desire to travel by train. It is my favorite mode of travel.
Arriving in Madrid
Once we got to the city and arrived at our hotel, it was time for a quick bite to eat. Then we met up with our tour guide and headed off to see the city.
Madrid is an old city (dates back to the Celts and the Romans), but it doesn’t “feel” old. Buildings are new for European standards, and well maintained. Streets are bustling with cars and pedestrians, and the city has a sense of purpose. This is probably due to the fact that it is a capital city. Spain puts it best face forward with Madrid. Visitors will not be disappointed with the look and feel of it.
As part of our tour we walked through the highlights of the city. We visited the Plaza Mayor, the grand central square in central Madrid. Built in 1619, this cobbled square has been the center of city activities since that time.
We also toured the Prado Art Museum. This museum boasts an impressive collection of Spanish painters like Goya, El Greco, Rubens and Velazquez. On our tour we walked past the Restaurant Botin, Founded in 1725, it is the oldest operating restaurant in the world.
We also visited the Mercado de San Miguel. This large market has dozens of small shops for tapas, drinks, desserts and other items. It had a delightful atmosphere to it. We didn’t have time to sample the food, but we decided to visit it in the coming days.
Evening and Real Madrid
Heading back to the hotel we could see the crowds forming for the Real Madrid Champions celebration. Thousands of people were gathering in the plaza near our hotel. Being visitors, we were happy for the city, but obviously were not celebrating ourselves. While the Real Madrid fans were waiting, we walked near the hotel and found a nice little Italian restaurant for dinner. Having a table at the window, we were surprised to see the Real Madrid team bus drive right past us. And we didn’t even have to deal with the crowds!
It was a good day and a good tour, and we looked forward to exploring Madrid the next day.