In 2009 we did a road trip around Spain starting in Madrid then visiting Burgos, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Laguardia, Santillana del Mar, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Zaragoza and the finishing in Barcelona.
Madrid, Spain’s central capital, is a city of elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. It’s renowned for its rich repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters.
The heart of old Hapsburg Madrid is the portico-lined Plaza Mayor, and nearby is the baroque Royal Palace and Armory, displaying historic weaponry.
In the centre of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain stands the statue of Philip III on horseback. The statue dates from 1616 and was placed in the square in 1847 after the wedding celebrations of Isabel II, during which the last bull run was held in the square. The Plaza Mayor is a huge square constructed in 1617. It has been pedestrianised and can be entered by any one of nine arches. The famous square has played host to bullfights, fiestas and even public executions. From time to time, events such as concerts and fiestas are still staged here. The square contains 136 houses with 437 balconies from which people used to watch the events held here. The square has always been a popular meeting place, especially on Sundays when the many bars and restaurants complement the weekly stamp and coin fair.
The Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, although now only used for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 square metres of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest functioning Royal Palace and the largest by floor area in Europe.
Santa María la Real de La Almudena
Santa María la Real de La Almudena is a Catholic cathedral in Madrid.When the capital of Spain was transferred from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the seat of the Church in Spain remained in Toledo; so the new capital – unusually for a Catholic country – had no cathedral. Plans were discussed as early as the 16th century to build a cathedral in Madrid dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena, but construction did not begin until 1879.The cathedral seems to have been built on the site of a medieval mosque that was destroyed in 1085 when Alfonso VI reconquered Madrid.Francisco de Cubas, the Marquis of Cubas, designed and directed the construction in a Gothic revival style. Construction ceased completely during the Spanish Civil War, and the project was abandoned until 1950, when Fernando Chueca Goitia adapted the plans of de Cubas to a baroque exterior to match the grey and white façade of the Palacio Real, which stands directly opposite. The cathedral was not completed until 1993, when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. On May 22, 2004, the marriage of Felipe, Prince of Asturias to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (known thereafter as Letizia, Princess of Asturias) took place at the cathedral.
The Neo-Romanesque crypt houses a 16th century image of the Virgen de la Almudena. Nearby along the Calle Mayor excavations have unearthed remains of Moorish and medieval city walls.On the 28th of April 2004, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid blessed the new paintings in the apse, painted by Kiko Arguello, founder of the Neocatechumenal Way. The cathedral is the seat of the Patriarch of the Indies and the Ocean Sea, an honorific patriarchate created in the sixteenth century, and subsequently an honorific title for the Spanish court’s chaplain.
This is a rather unique and high impact advertisement printed and dropped full length on a building in Madrid, Spain. It was even custom made to fit around the large entrance door. The advert is for an exhibition called La Sombra (Shadows) at the Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza.
There are numerous cafes and bars with street-side seating allowing you to sit and relax over a meal or some drinks and watch the world go by.
This beautiful little Irish style bar can be found close to La Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain. Early evening in Spain is a great time to find yourself a little bar like this and sit out to enjoy a cool drink, watch the sun go down, people watch and consider what eating establishment you will then move onto later.
In the evening you can sit out in Plaza Mayor and enjoy some food and drinks.
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