May 31, 2008

Madrid, Spain 2008

After a 7 hour flight from Newark, New Jersey to Madrid, Spain I was exhausted. For whatever reason the plane was too hot for the majority of the trip. Everyone on board was uncomfortable and feeling quite dehydrated when we landed. So our team made quick time in reaching our hotel. The Hotel Charmatin is located directly across from the train station and metro. So I didn't want to waist one minute in Spain. Tired or not I opted to go out with a few members of our team. I thought it would be a shame not to look around and just stay in the hotel to rest!
Having been to New York City only two months before this trip, I can say that the metro in Madrid is significantly cleaner. And I loved the waterfall of blue lights in the metro station closest to our hotel. It was quite a sight to see and about three floors high! And even the escalators were pretty with bright yellow lights just under the hand rails.

I joked with a few members on the team about how clean and shiny the floors in the metro station were. They reminded me of a bowling alley! Another thing that was really nice about traveling on the metro was that there was a good deal for groups of six or more. We were allowed to pass ten people through with just one ticket! Nice.

One thing you do have to be wary about is keeping your purses, bags, etc. directly in your line of sight. And on the metro this is especially true. Folks can tell if your a visitor or not. But since we were in a group everyone looked out for each other and we had no incidents even during the height of the evening commute. Spain's metro cars fill up quickly around the hours of 7 to 8pm when most folks are returning home from work. That was a bit uncomfortable for us because people were really packed in. Definitely not a good thing for anyone who might suffer from claustrophobia.

When we got off the metro we found ourselves emerging from the underground tunnels, up a steep and wide staircase into the very center of Spain... the Plaza de Sol. And what a sight it was! While I was there I couldn't help making some comparisons between New York City and Madrid. Times Square is a caleidascope of colors, lights, and sounds and it is fun to be sure! But Spain's Plaza de Sol has more artistry and old-world charm in one block than any city I've visited here at home. Madrid holds a dignity all its own. You simply can't find its type of architecture and quality to detail in the US.

The Plaza de Sol is in what the Spaniards call the " old Madrid." Basically Madrid today can be seen as both old and new. The old Madrid is where you will find buildings, streets, cathedrals, etc. as they have been for centuries past. Very little has changed. But in the new Madrid there is much more industrialization and that part of Madrid looks very much like any modern city complete with tall shiny buildings, apartments, and graffiti.

If you took a flight into Madrid, as we did, you will find yourself in the " new Madrid." You have to take a taxi, bus, train, or metro to reach the " old Madrid." But it is definitely worth the effort!

Come back again when I post a new batch of photos on Plaza de Sol, its streets, Plaza de Mayor, and Spain's royal cathedral!

" He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle's!"
Psalms 103:5

No comments: