Nazare Region
The Douro

Madrid served as a wonderful starting point for our journey, offering a blend of exotic culture and comfortable amenities. We rented an apartment on the Tirso de Molina plaza from where we were able to walk to the major attractions, including Retiro Park shown above. There was a metro station in front of our apartment for easy access to farther sites, or to the Atocha train station.

The opulent Royal Palace with its gilded rooms, frescoed ceilings and armaments collection is a must-see cultural stop.

Across from the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral, despite its neo-gothic exterior, has unique "pop-art" style frescoes and stained glass.

Plaza Mayor, built in the early 1600's is ringed by residential buildings, with traditional shops under the porticoes. Historically the plaza has been the site of bullfights, soccer games and public executions.

In Plaza de Coln, monuments representing the three ships of the Columbus expedition are engraved with philosophical statements. 


Madrid's city hall, along with 4 other grand buildings, was built by flamboyant architect Antonio Palacios in 1909 to originally serve as a post office. 

A stroll down the grand avenues of Calle de Gran Via  and Calle de Princesa is a tour of early 20th century Madrid architecture.

This was the view from the side balcony of our apartment, showing our location in the middle of the action. We picked up groceries at two nearby markets and enjoyed living like the locals.

The Columbus Towers in the commercial district exemplify the post-Franco growth and energy of modern Spain.


Three great museums are within a 10-minute walk of each other, The Reina Sofia, the Thyssen-Bornesmisza (shown here) and the Prado.

The Prado has more than 3000 canvases featuring great Spanish artists such as Velazquez, El Greco and Goya.

Pedestrian streets between the Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol and the Museum district have lively shops, tapas bars and buskers.

The Metropolis building, along with the nearby Telefnica building and the Correos are architectural icons.

El Corte Ingls is a major department store with stylish fashions and home decor, sporting goods, a gourmet food and wine market, and a travel agent.

Puerta del Sol is the literal and figurative centre of the city, from which interesting streets radiate.

The small Sorolla Museum is the actual home of the impressionist artist Sorolla displaying his artwork and his family heirlooms. 


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This site was last updated 03/14/15