I was already in Spain for my Granada Islamic Pattern trip and decided to at least visit the big cities in Spain that I used to read about in books never thinking it will be so accessible to me. After my Gaudi Quest in Barcelona, I made my way to the capital, Madrid. I didn't know what to expect because I haven't really done any prior research. I just booked a series of tickets and hoped for the best.
When I arrived to Madrid, I checked my route on google maps and it was fairly easy to find. Thankfully, the hotel I booked, Francisco I, was located perfectly in the middle of the town centre. When I booked it said it is a two-star hotel, which worried me a little, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was fabulous. I later found out that their star rating depends on facilities, so the lack of gym meant they scored less. The hotel was a little gem. The room was really chic and contemporary with a glass bathroom door. Their breakfast was yummy. They even had the traditional Spanish breakfast of freshly cut and prepared tomatoes and olive oil.
I only had two days in Madrid and I wanted to make the most of them. I started with a walk around up until Plaza de Oriente and Palacio Real De Madrid. It had a lovely garden and the weather was not too hot so I just sat on the benches enjoying the calm and watching other tourists discovering the place. Then I headed the opposite direction and walked towards the museum passing through Salamanca District and Calle Serrano with all their shopping spots.
On the way, I saw the art academy, Real Academia De Bellas Artes De San Fernando, and went in. I am so glad I did. It was my absolute favourite thing that I experienced in Madrid. There were many fabulous pieces of art in the form of paintings, sculptures, figurines and collectables. It had three floors. Each one had two symmetrical sections. I even enjoyed the architecture of the place. I snapped so many images there. I really liked it.
Afterwards, I walked for another ten minutes until I arrived to Museo Nacional Drl Prado. The building was impressive, but all my *aww* went away when I found out that photography was not allowed. That just instantly kills the experience for me. I honestly do not remember the amazing art I have seen. At the time, they had a rare exhibition of Picasso's work starting from his early works until his blue state. I could not even take a sneaky photo. There was a security person beside each painting.
After all that walking I was exhausted and my stomach was growling, so I made my way back to the town centre where I had some delicious Italian food. The next day I was not sure what to do, so I kept walking around in circles with the huge masses of people. There were countless numbers of stores and shops. Everyone was walking with at least one shopping bag, but I could not do any shopping because I did not add that to the budget. Indeed a rookie mistake. I wish I have done a better research to discover more local spots and galleries. At that moment, I learnt the importance of prior planning.
By sunset, I was back to my hotel because I did not know how safe the area is at night and I did not want to risk it. I am not sure if I will go to Madrid again. I did not really see much to make my mind up either way, but it looks like a great place for shopping!