Only in Madrid will you be told how to make a watch when you only ask for the time. Madrilenos are surprisingly helpful people. Ask anyone about anything or simply think aloud and you may get an answer and more. Alright I’m exaggerating a bit but this place is definitely less hostile than I was prepared for.
Only in Madrid, you can walk about almost everywhere even though the city’s 95-year-old Metro takes you to most places of interest and the distance between stations could be just a street crossing away.
Relatively a small metropolis by European standards, Madrid was an incidental capital of the country when a Spanish king Philip II decided to move his court to this backwater town from the aloof Toledo round about the Renaissance period.
As a capital, Madrid bore witness to an exploding art culture as well as brutal wars, both evident in paintings by Spanish artists. A history walk around the city reveals much of Madrid’s tumultuous past now buried under quiet lanes, swanky cafes and memorial stones.
Must admit I am about to get an overdose of museums and galleries here. Even a walk in a park brings me to special art exhibitions in old royal garden halls and greenhouses.
Just as I thought there’s enough to see and do here, I found this arch that leads to the once-only road to Toledo, the oldest surviving restaurant in the world Sobrino de Botín where artist Goya once worked as a waiter, and that for Euro 2.50 you can get a nice beer and tapas on the house. Muy bien.