Madrid is a miracle of human energy and peculiarly Spanish passions, a beguiling place with a simple message: this city knows how to live.Lonely Planet’s best of Spain.
On arriving at Alicante airport I was swiftly guided to the required bus stop by a friendly member of the always professional and always helpful Jet2 team. It took less than 20 minutes to get to Alicante train station where I found my seat (coach 5 seat 5B) on the 14:45 – bound for Madrid.
Travelling at speeds of up to 285 km/h (178 mph) it took exactly 2 hr 30 min to travel the 490 km to Madrid. The train was punctual, clean, the staff polite, and every seat was occupied.
Stepping into the main hall at Madrid-Chamartín-Clara-Campoamor train station, my look of obvious bewilderment was quickly spotted by one of the eagle eyed metro staff. A young lady, with long blonde hair, tight jeans, and wearing a distinctive hi viz jacket (colour blue), homed in on me with boundless enthusiasm. I was quickly shown how to book a metro ticket and then escorted to the relevant platform.
From Sol metro station it was a short walk to Hostal Aresol. It has clean, private rooms, with en suite facilities. Close to all of the ‘must see’ tourist attractions, it also has one of the most amazing lifts that I have ever seen. Nearby there are a couple of excellent ‘value for money’ restaurants – my favourite being Caña y Tapas.
I had two full days in the city – with two ‘must see’ locations on my to do list.
Museo del Prado, officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado, is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It is widely considered to house one of the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, based on the former Spanish royal collection, and the single best collection of Spanish art. Prado Museum is one of the most visited sites in the world, and is considered one of the greatest art museums in the world.
The Royal Palace of Madrid (Spanish: Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish royal family at the city of Madrid, although now used only for state ceremonies. The palace has 135,000 m2 (1,450,000 sq ft) of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms. It is the largest royal palace in Europe.
Next stage: Seville.