A Visit to Madrid, Spain




While the ship is docked in Barcelona, we boarded a train for an overland trip to Madrid. This was a high-speed train that got up to a speed of 187 mph (301 km/h). When we found our Madrid tour guide and boarded the bus, we drove to a beautiful public park that used to be the private property of the royal family (Parque del Buen Retiro). There was a nice lake with a lot of people in row boats, street artists, a puppet show, fountains, and lots of people. After our short visit, we took a panoramic tour of the city. One sight was a large vertical garden on the side of a building. Madrid is a very green city with many trees and plants.

Our guide told us that two iconic symbols of the city of Madrid are a triumphal arch (The Alcala Gate) built by King Charles the III and a fountain of the goddess of agriculture (Cibeles) on a chariot pulled by two lions. After our tour, we had two hours to ourselves at the Plaza Mayor. After lunch, we found a churro and chocolate shop. The chocolate is amazingly thick, so we dipped the churros but only drank a little of the leftover got chocolate. We wandered around the shops and a large square where Ron had his picture taken as a bullfighter. We found the Museum of Ham which was a store where you could buy whole hams or many varieties of ham-based snacks. We took a turn through the Mercado de San Miguel which is an indoor market where you can get a drink and then walk around and buy all sorts of interesting and sometimes exotic things to eat.