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Posted by on Apr 16, 2012 in Europe, Spain

Madrid – Frolicking in the City Centre

Madrid – Frolicking in the City Centre

My first time in Madrid was highly influenced by the time of year I decided to arrive, more so the holiday I arrived on; Easter. This means a lot in a strongly catholic country.

This means the city is shut down but the churches are open. I arrived in Madrid’s centre at 11am on Good Friday. The city was silent and nothing was open. Not exactly what you want to occur as a tourist wanting to experience a city. What is does mean for a tourist, is you get to partake in all the Easter festivities and get a glimpse into the life of devout Catholics. Processions marched through the city to the beat of drums, with masked priests carrying the Virgin Mary stop a platform, and the smell of incense in the air; Pushed firmly up against one another in the silent crowd, hoping for a glimpse as the procession passed you by.

Most people who head to Madrid want to immediately line-up at the Prado or Reina Sofia Museums and view some of the world’s best art. Not me. Museums are great, but I prefer to leave them for art critiques or rainy days. I just don’t find the beauty in art as others do. So how did I spend my time in Madrid if not in the Museums? I walked the City with no direction or intention in mind.

The city is a beautiful one; Pretty buildings all around and happy people chit-chatting away. Since I was in Madrid for the weekend, as well as it being Easter and beautiful outside, the locals all headed out to the Plazas and parks. So I did the same.

I accomplished some prime people watching in the Plaza Major. It was more a game of an “Identify the country of origin” as the majority of the Plaza populous was foreign. So leaning on the stereotypes of foreigners I identified me some Austrians with the socks & sneakers combo, some Americans with the larger waist and American Eagle branded clothing, and some Chinese with the socks pulled up to their knees and their camera lens the length of their arms.

Of course, these are only stereotypes and I am certainly epitomizing a North American stereotype: Bright Orange trainers, black leggings underneath my beige capris, graphic tee with zip-up hoodie over, and last but not least by rainbow colours hat, mitts, and scarf combo. You could spot my Canadianness from across the Plaza.

   

I had a map firmly tucked inside my backpack because I preferred to walk in whichever direction looked the most interesting. I took the roads with nobody on them and tried to get away from the standard walking routes. I wanted to see Madrid as the locals knew it.

   

The City centre is small enough to walk across comfortably without requiring any riding of the Metro. At the end of the days, I would head towards the setting sun, as my Metro station was next to the Palacio Real in the West end of Madrid.