In Spain, to go on a “paseo” is to take a slow, casual walk. Like a stroll in the park or meandering through the city going wherever the streets lead you. It is how we approached a recent visit to Madrid.
We haven’t spent much time in Madrid. One day and night on either side of a trip connecting through the city has been the norm. That’s not nearly enough time to do the city justice, so we decided to change our norm. Dare I say that the sunny warmth of Valencia left us craving winter weather for the holidays? I doubt that many will sympathize, but we headed north looking for some cold air. The trip took us through Madrid and this time we stayed for a few days.
We set aside time for sight seeing, hoping to hit some of the tourist spots that we always miss when passing through Madrid. It didn’t work out that way. Signs reading “Cerrado. Disculpen las molestias” greeted us at each gate. You don’t really need to know Spanish to understand that this means you’re not getting in.
It happens to us often in Spain; businesses close for no apparent reason. The Royal Palace of Madrid was closed for three days straight for an official celebration. We continued on to the Templo de Debod, also closed for an unexplained period of time. Our next plan was to ride the Teleferico de Madrid, a cable car traveling over the Parque del Oeste, but this time we smartened up and checked the website calendar: “Cerrado Hoy”. At least we saved ourselves the walk. Lesson learned (again) – always check before you go, regardless of the posted hours, and have a backup plan.
The capital and largest city in Spain still had plenty of sights to keep us entertained. In the midst of the holidays, the plazas were busy with Christmas markets and the streets sparkled at night with lights. Despite the cold winter air, life was taking place outside. Perfect for those of us just wandering around looking to experience a few December days in Madrid. And perfect for a photo essay.