In America, we are used to having to drive to our destination and many attractions. In Madrid, history could be 5 minutes away from your block. For example, I live in Sol, which is a 3 minute walk from Plaza Mayor which is a major historical site. This is the beauty of Madrid, most historical sights are at a walking distance. This week I’m happy to say that I got more sights off of my list for places to visit according to my Spanish History and Culture class. Although I know I have a whole semester to explore the whole city, I sometimes still struggle with having the mindset of a new traveler and get a little overwhelmed. However, the proximity of everything is beautiful and makes it a seamless experience.
My only intention this week was to see the Palacio de Cibeles, but on my way there I got to see some other really cool sights as well. I got off the metro at a stop called Anton Martin and still had to walk a couple of minutes before I arrived at the Palace de Cibeles. However, immediately exiting the metro I saw Parque Del Retiro and took a detour. Parque Del Retiro is an essential and iconic place to see while in Madrid, and I’m lucky that I got to see it on a sunny day. Close to the entrance I saw students laying on the lawn reading and many people having picnics. It was also very relaxing to see people rowing boats near the little lake in the park. Everyone seemed to be strolling without a care in the world. After lingering around a little longer, I began to walk back to my original destination.
However, it did not take long before I took another small detour. I had forgotten that right next to the Parque Del Retiro was La Puerta Del Alcalá. It brought an immediate smile to my face because it was one of the sights at the top of my list. I learned that it was a symbolic door for the entry of Carlos III during his reign and he has been so far one of my favorite kings I’ve learned about since he tried his best to progress traditional Spain. Shortly after admiring and shamelessly taking a picture with La Puerta Del Alcala, I finally walked over and arrived at my destination.
El Palacio de Cibeles was a really interesting place to visit and not at all what I expected once I was able to see it on the inside. The only prior knowledge I had was that the observation deck was a “must see” for El Palacio, however I was pleasantly surprised that it had many different floors with art exhibitions and historical walkthroughs. One floor even had a map of what the future of Madrid will look like and how it will transition towards green energy. There were also blueprints of city plans for a building that has the ability to have plants grow on it which was really interesting to see. El Palacio also had a mini bar and deck that I had the pleasure of enjoying over the view of the city and Fuente De Cibeles. When I looked over the city, I realized that sometimes some of the best days are unplanned. I implore anyone who is thinking of traveling to not have such a rigid agenda. I think before coming to Madrid I thought I had to experience everything in a meticulous way, but now it is much better at a pace which I can really enjoy. I’m definitely going to keep this spirit and mentality throughout the rest of my time here.