Sunday, February 10, 2008

Madrid, Part I

*Thanx for the update, Aisamuddin! \(o^.^o)/*
Anies and I arrived in Madrid around 7:30 in the morning. It was still dark and it was slightly chilly outside. A contrast to the 7 hour plus bus ride which was stuffy and dry. But at least we got to sit next to each other, even if it was only from Valencia onwards. My throat felt dry and I needed some "agua"

We made our way into the bus station and we sat down on the chairs inside. We were careful to tie our bags together this time. The incident the previous night at Barcelona's bus station was still occupying my mind. I was still counting our blessing that they didnt make it with my camera bag which was filled with my camera and it's equipment and most importantly, our passport. God knows how we would go on without them.

I met a fellow muslim at the station and he was kind enoughto teach us how to use the Madrid Metro. It was similar to Barcelona's, cept it just had more lines and levels to it.

First stop.... Sol

Puerto del Sol is the official center of Madrid (ok, we didnt know that till later on. Ni la akibat die, men nonong2 jer time travel) The rain earlier on was now reduced to a slight drizzle but it was still somewhat gloomy. Anies suggested we check out our hostel first in hope that we might get lucky and we could check in terus. Our hostel was in Plaza Santa Cruz which was only 2 minutes walk from Sol. We couldnt check in yet as our room wasnt ready but they lady was kind enough to allow us to leave our heavy backpacks at the hostel.

Next stop... Old Madrid

Right next door to Plaza Santa Cruz was the infamous Plaza Mayor. There was still remnents of what I speculated was astage and left overs from the new years celebration. There was a clean up team dissembling it all too. But apart from that, there were hardly any people around as it was still quite early in the morning. As with all the places we went towe stopped a while and took some pictures before heading off to our next destination, of which we just realized then that we didnt bring along our intinerary. So we did what we did in Barca... nonong lagi =p Little did we know that most of the attractions in Madrid are in close proximity to each other and even without our itinerary, we were actually following what we had planned. Although we based the names of everything on what we remember reading. And given our great memory, that's not a whole lot.

We passed the Cathederal Almudena something something something (the name's too long to remember) before arriving at Placio Real (The royal palace). The facade of the palace is just magnificent that I couldnt help but take a few extra pictures of the palace. Given the cloudy skies above, there were quite a few dramatic pictures that came out. I loved it. I dont remember why we didnt go in tho.

Plaza de Oriente was next door to the palace. It's a small garden with stone paths on each sides with statues running along side them. In the middle of the garden and right in front of the National Theatre is a really nice fountain. We spent a bit longer here taking pictures. Consequently, some of our favorite pictures were taken here.

We made our way back to the hostel after but not before stopping by a supermarket to buy some crossoints and some smoked salmon for our lunch which would also eventually become our breakfast the next morning as well as some other supplies. We actually did end up lucky. Our room was upgraded from a double to a triple. Of course, I had first dibs on the double bed =p After a quick afternoon nap, of which it took a lot of persuading on anies's part to wake me up. We headed out again, this time with our itinerary in hand =)

It was off to Plaza Espana next but with was all covered in white painted wooden stalls. Apparently they were showcasing Spanish carfts there. It was an interesting walk around as both of us are into arts and crafts. Anies said that if we werent on holiday she would spend a lot longer there and would probably buy some of the crafts they were selling. They had everything from leather book casing to wooden carvings, to embroidery and some really nice shirts too. I was tempted to buy some stuff too, but decided otherwise.

And that was just half our day...


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