Another bargain Ryanair flight from Bournemouth; our plan was for a two(ish) night trip to Madrid. It seemed strange returning to Spain, less than a month after leaving it earlier in the year.
The flight was brisk with us arriving at a sensible time during the morning. We had some reservations about the connections from the airport to the city centre, but the under ground network turned out to be simplicity itself. One Euro each to travel anywhere we wanted.
We took the underground in the direction of the three major art museums and walked the last half mile to get a flavour of the town atmosphere.
We toured the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza galleries and decided that was enough art for one day. We walked back toward the centre of town to find the "Hotel Moderno-Puerta del Sol, where we were staying." Stopping several times to enjoy beers and tapas, we located the hotel with ease and were pleased to find that it was conveniently located right in the middle of town, yet quiet with the windows closed.
The remainder of the day was spent exploring the central area and Plaza Mayor, where we ate that evening. We strolled up to Grand Via where we found lots of people gathering outside a cinema. There was a large display of Harley Davidson motorcycles. It was the premier of Wild Hogs. We had a debate as to whether any of the cast would be there and sure enough, Tim Allen and John Travolta arrived!
Checking out early, we walked to the nearby Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales which is a convent and museum at the same time. Although the tour was in Spanish, the eyes told us enough - there were fantastic ceiling frescoes and tapestries.
After, we strolled down to the Palacio Real where we stopped for coffee before visiting the palace, quite a bit of which is open to the public. We were lucky in that the day we visited was a free entry day for European Union citizens.
Next, we walked next door the Madrid Cathedral, which was much more unusual than any other we have seen in Spain - a recent building with modern stained glass.
We found that we had covered the ground very quickly again today so walked back into town where we stopped for more refreshments, before carrying on to visit the last of the three art museums, the Reina Sofia. The art here was much more unusual, such as a room full of old television sets. We strolled through Parc del Retiro which was very large and almost a village in it's own right. The central boat lake was in use by a few rowers and some canoe polo players. As the evening drew in, we set off again back toward Plaza Mayor, stopping for beer and tapas along the way before eating in another restaurant at Plaza Mayor. We stayed late into the night, to about one a.m.
Just in to the 28th, we caught the under ground train back to the airport where we settled in for a few hours until our flight home.