Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mini breaks close to Madrid 1

There's lots of possibilities around Madrid for those who fancy escaping the city (and pollution) for a weekend or a couple of days. Here are 2 of my favourites...

Manzanares el Real

The town contains the fakest looking real castle I've ever seen but the Natural Park of La Piedriza has some fab trails for hiking as long as you don't lose your way on the trail as night falls (like we did). 

Accommodation - We stayed in a guesthouse that seemed a bit more like a boarding house as most other guests were long term residents. Good sized rooms but it was a bit of a walk from the centre. (Warning - Don't electrocute yourself and cut of power in entire building, like I did)

Getting there - Bus from Madrid. To get to the Park from Manzanares, there's a local bus service running from town (make sure you don't miss the return bus or you'll face a daunting walk back to town - like we did)

Fake castle

The never ending trail (study map carefully prior to beginning hike - lesson learned)

Pretty views


Aranjuez's cultural landscape (whatever that means) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (though to be fair, Spain has loads of World Heritage Sites so it's one of the many) They also have a train which serves Strawberries and Cream which I am very interested in getting to know, though sadly it only runs in summer so I didn't get to experience it during my visit.

Accommodation - We stayed in a bungalow in Camping International Aranjuez which was reasonably priced and cosy. Imagine it's packed in summer but in October it was quiet aside from Dutch and French retirees in their mobile homes. (Though once Monday came around we realised were the only ones under the age of 60 there aside from the receptionists...) 

Getting there - Train from Madrid followed by a taxi to the Camping (it's located approx 20 minutes from centre of town and 30 from train station)

Facilities in camping

Hallowe'en in our bungalow :) 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adiós Madrid

Leaving on a jet plane. Back soon to visit, counting the days!
Adiós Madrid. Te echaré de menos!!

The Tooth Fairy vs. Mr Perez, The Little Rat

There´s always going to be cultural references and language stuff that you won´t be familiar with if you haven´t been brought up in a country. For example, I blame my inability to master the past and subjunctive tenses on my parents not having read me bedtime stories in Spanish (an unreasonable complaint given the fact that they don´t speak Spanish but nevertheless....)

Until I watched the movie the Tooth Fairy on a bus journey to Granada (a.k.a Rompedientes o Hada por accidente) I didn´t realise that the Tooth Fairy didn´t bring the money in Spain but, in fact, Ratoncito Perez. Cute! There´s a museum in his honour on Calle Arenal, go visit, it´s suitably random (and free if you just visit his statue on the ground floor) I brought my boyfriend but children would probably be more appropriate!

Jugglers at traffic lights

Love these guys

Terraza @ Vincci Soho

One of my favourite terraces to grab some alone time. Located on Calle Prado just around the corner from the Palace Hotel. The drinks prices are exorbitant but can be worth it if you want to play guest and just chill out with a book and a never ending drink...

Mahou bar or Miaow Bar?

The Reina Sofia terraza needs to consider a name change... I´m not sure stray cats mix with the luxe feel they were going for...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rooftops V

Círculo de Bellas Artes - My new favourite roof (a steal at euro a visit). Best views of the city I've seen so far and a photo exhibition with a hilariously bizarre image (see below)