MadridPosted: November 2, 2011
Seeing there had been SOOO many people at Segovia, we expected a quiet Sunday afternoon arrival into Madrid, time to drop Jo to her hotel, find a park and go for some lunch! Not so! The city was busy – populated with pedestrians, taxis and cars; it was all we could do to tip Jo out in the general direction and drive 4 kms out of town until we found a very comfy Cubby park on the Madrid River, Rio Manzanares.
Still, we had 3 days left with Jo and we intended to make the most of it.
We decided to ride the bikes in to meet Jo which was a good idea until we hit the hill that leads to the labyrinth of the old city from the river. Some streets tiny, curved and narrow, others are massive and broad. Madrid is a city of monuments and monumental boulevards, fountains and flamenco. Most neighbourhoods and streets have their historic charm preserved and its a lovely city to walk through.
Gardens flank either side of this ancient network of streets, all connected by an incredible underground metro system. To think this city is less than twice the size of Melbourne. Its embarrassing to think we have trouble getting a ticketing system right, let alone such a punctual and convenient form of transport as this metro.
Within the city there are a total of 8 palaces marked on the central city map!!! The art galleries, including the 3 galleries comprising the Paseo del Prado, are world class and entice art lovers of classic and modern art from all over the world. Even the shopping can resemble an Art Gallery. One of the shops I visited felt like an architecturally designed gallery museum. Unfortunately more staff than customers on my visit, but still, to me, a gracious opening from the doorman! Throw in some stunning stately buildings, a Basilica, Cathedral and Templo, and all tastes are catered for.
If fashion in Australia still follows fashion from Europe, girls, this is what to expect. Gum boots are growing in favour (and why not! Such sensible winter footwear!) An androgynous horsey look is in. A bit of fur will go a long way, especially as a vest or on a boot! Tight skinny jeans that accentuate the bum are IT and a pair of high heeled ankle boots finish the look and help the said bum to have just the right strut!
Most memorable for each of us will be our night at Villa Rosa – Flamenco. (www.villa-rosa.es). I have come to the conclusion that everyone must have at least one night of good Flamenco in their lives. I have also come to the conclusion that you could never have too much of it.
Flamenco – a lot of hand wringing, gut wrenching, vocal cawing and passionate body slapping, feet stomping angst. The drumming of the dancers feet on the timber floored stage was thrilling and HOT! We would not have missed it for the world. As Jo said , that alone was pretty well worth coming to Spain for.
Leaving the show on a high, we were sobered by the cool air of the night streets and the fact that tomorrow we would put Jo on the VERY fast train to Barcelona. We will miss her company and our bit of home she brings with her! We thank her for resharing our Camino, in Portugal and Spain and being such a good sport as the 3rd wheel in Cubby. Bye bye Jo Jo. We will see you again soon.