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A week in Spain, Madrid and Toledo

Here we are with the very first post about traveling. As already announced, I will start with my last trip to Spain. The trip was to Madrid with a too fast visit to Toledo. This was the second time I went there and confirmed what I had already thought the first time, that is a wonderful city.

This solo adventure began one morning of the last days May a few years ago when I took the plane and then arrived at the Madrid airport around noon. The city welcomed me with a beautiful sun warm and high in the sky to illuminate everything I saw around me as in the best films where there’s always the perfect light. I bought the transport pass and reached the hostal where I left the suitcase. I immediately went out to enjoy my first day of vacation. After having lunch or better said afternoon snack, for the hour, with a fabulous paella I started the discovery of the city. In fact, on the first day I spent all my time discovering the surroundings and settling me down a bit, letting me guided by my curiosity and my feet. I didn’t do big things, I felt into the spirit of the city and enjoyed the moment. The emotions to be back and to realize that I wasn’t dreaming, I was really there. In those streets of which I had thought so much, in those alleys that I had imagined, immersed in the smells and noises of a city ready to be discovered. In these dreamy rides I crossed paths with the most disparate things, from the small craft shops that created really nice things in the streets a little more hidden to shopping malls in the main streets, from a churreria in which I couldn’t not stop me to the most famous fast food chains, all just minutes far from each other. This is to say that even in a city like Madrid if you pay attention you can still find the original soul, the less modernized and more authentic. So the first day was spent like this, between one walk and another.

Awakened early, I was excited to start the day, in fact I had several things to do. After breakfast, I immediately set off for the first daily stop at the Museo Nacional del Prado. My hostal was on the main street of Madrid so I didn’t need the bus and I reached it by foot. The sensations in finding me in front of it and thinking about all the great works and beauties it contains are indescribable. After being able to enter, I spent the next few hours walking back and forth through the wings, admiring fascinated all those masterpieces that stood there in front of my eyes, works very different from each other but with a common charm. I got lost reading the names and imagining how it should have been painting them, what the author should have thought, how those works had arrived to the present day and continued to fascinate a multitude of people. At a certain point, by dint of walking between the various wings and the plans I had also lost my orientation and I couldn’t understand where I was on the map such I had immersed myself in the study of each work. Once I found the exit, I immediately went to the entrance of the Real Jardín Botánico in front of it. A wonderful experience surrounded by plants and trees. A nature that gives you the feeling of recovering from the chaotic rhythms of life and rediscover calm and peace. I found it very relaxing after the hours spent ecstatic in the museum. The noise of the leaves, the bright colors made even more beautiful by the sunny day. to see at a short distance series of plants and flowers that are completely different from each other. Study the differences and similarities or even simply let yourself be carried away in the tranquility that such a place causes to the soul of a person.
On the third day I was ready to start, knowing what the day would have reserved for me. The first stop was the visit at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. All the experience I think could be contained in two main words, Picasso, Guernica. Finding me in front of it after all the crowd that was there to admire it was something indescribable, such a majesty that I didn’t know where to look, my eyes were taken from one particular to another in front of such a work. You could read, the pain, the anger and a lot of other emotions all amalgamated in a single painting. I believe that few paintings are able to arouse so many things all together regardless of the personal tastes. I think this is the reason that pushes the people to go and see it live, to feel those emotions, to feel them on their skin and to see with their own eyes what levels can reach the grandeur of a painter. I managed to get away from the painting and saw the rest of the museum. At the end I was ready for the second stop of the day, the Thyssen – Bornemisza Museum. Seeing the different types of painting from the oldest to the most modern made me better understand how art has evolved over the years. Some central themes in one era in another were just slightly touched to focus on different things, in the same way in different times you can find the same themes but treated differently focusing on different details. The different styles of painting or even the different points of view of a similar situation. As well as the different paintings from country to country, from culture to culture. Not to mention the similarities despite the distance. This made me realize how they have influenced each other and how closely they are all connected in a large network.
The plan for the fourth day was mainly to see the Palacio Real de Madrid. The only thing that comes to my mind is the word fascinating. Going around the rooms listening to the audio guide and imagining how it could be living in that place has charmed me. I arrived at the end of the tour without even realizing it, I was still dreaming about the rooms, the objects and all that was in there. I can’t believe yet that they could actually live there and that the entire building was their home. After the visit to the Palacio Real I spent the rest of the day walking around the Parque del Retiro. This is, how it suggests the name, a park in the center of Madrid. Walking through the paths you can get to see the Palacio de Cristal and the Palacio de Velazquez which are located right in the park. Walking in the middle of the nature, with the green, the trees, the sun, I regenerated myself and it seemed to me that time stopped and there was only me who was walking and admiring what I had around me.
The fifth day promised to be exciting, in fact I had planned to take a half-day trip to Toledo with a tourist bus. So I spent the morning walking quietly through the streets of Madrid and after lunch I went to the meeting point from where the adventure began. Get out of Madrid and see the nature that slowly increased as we approached the destination and the change of color has fascinated me like never before. It brought me back in time and made me forget for a moment the metropolis I had just left. This thought has increased even more once I have arrived. In front of me I had walls to protect that little jewel that is Toledo. Walking through the narrow streets, in the middle of small shops makes it seems that time has stopped. The atmosphere of quiet, the calm that inspires you to think of the old days, when there was not all the rush of today, seems to tell you calm, there is no need to run. Everything taste of the past, of ancient times, of genuineness and of the desire to enjoy life as it is without running in search of ephemeral things. This is what impressed me most of Toledo, how it made me feel, rather than the cathedrals and museums that are still spectacular and deserve to be seen. After the tour, returning to Madrid was like a journey into the future, a return to modern times.
For the sixth and the seventh days I hadn’t organized any plan because I wanted to enjoy the city a little as it is without the fixed stops in which to go. So I found myself wandering through the streets making me dragged by my feet and my curiosity, I discovered in this way things that I hadn’t seen as for example the Temple of Debod or the statues of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. In the same way I found a bookshop in a semi-hidden alley that sold second-hand books in various languages. It looked like antique bookshop, little light, narrow and long with hidden corners. He fascinated me and I couldn’t stop me from buying a book. I returned to visit the Parque del Retiro which had struck me so much the first time I had been there. So the sixth day was over. The seventh I couldn’t do anything because I had to stay at the airport in the early afternoon and I still had to pack my suitcase and backpack so I just took a quick walk near the hostal where I stayed before going to take the metro. Leaving Madrid was strange. It gave me the impression of abandoning a part of me, like leaving something there. While I was packing everything I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I wouldn’t have walked among those streets the next day, that I wouldn’t have heard those noises and smells that had become familiar to me. It was a strange feeling, difficult to explain and I believe that only those who have experienced it in person can fully understand.
This is the end of the story of my trip to Spain. Writing it was difficult because I wanted to try to express the thoughts, the emotions and everything that aroused me at the very best. I wanted to take you on the journey with me and show you how I lived it. I hope I have succeeded in my intent and that you have appreciated this story of one of the cities that has remained in my heart. Do you have a city in your heart?

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16 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Such an amazing post, such great pictures. Its all such beautiful places, loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow! What a great trip well expressed! I like the way you’ve explored the known and offbeat places. I agree there is an authentic side to any modern city and that is found in the local streets and the hidden corner shops. Spain is on my bucket list and I hope to visit all these places you’ve listed someday. Thanks for sharing this beautiful experience. 🙂

    1. Thanks to you for commenting!I love to explore the hidden part of a city, to discover the true soul of it. If you’ll visit it someday I’m sure that you’ll love it, it’s so precious!

    1. Thanks for the support! Your comment push me to keep doing better! I’m so happy to have inspire you! I’m sure that you’ll love it, it’s a wonderful country full of marvelous places to discover and see!

  3. I’ve just started thinking about holidays so this post is perfect timing. I love your writing style. It’s so descriptive! You’ve convinced me! Spain here I come!

  4. Hi! I accidentally stumbled on your blog while researching about Spain. There is so much to do in Spain apart from Madrid and Barcelona. Thanks for suggesting Toledo as a day trip adventure. Is the high speed train which was due to start in 2018 has already started. We are waiting for it since it will reduce the distance between the places tremendously. You can see more in little time then I suppose.

    1. I didn’t know about this train but I think could help to see a lot of places in less time. There are a lot of cities and places to see apart from the big ones, you are right!

  5. Such an informative post! I think the Bornemisza Museum is what I would want to see the most, but if I had to choose between that museum and seeing the Gournica – I don’t know how i would choose!!

    1. It’s a really hard choice to choose between the two of them, I don’t know if I could ever choose one of them, they are amazing! Thanks for commenting!

  6. Spain is such a beautiful country, I absolutely love it! Madrid has been on my bucket list forever and your post inspired me even more to go there. I have never specially heard of Toledo before but will definitely remember it when going to Spain.

    1. Yes it’s fabulous! I’m so happy that I inspired you even more to go there, it’s a wonderful city and I think you should visit Toledo too, it is a real beauty!

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