Madrid and Seville
February 26th to March 9th 2000
Saturday 26. february
Leaving with Iberia from Copenhagen and direct to Madrid in the evening. The hotel was Plaza Mayor and was plazed very central in Madrid. And on a saturday night like this you should go out to look at the city by night - but on the other hand - you have just arrived to see Real Madrid vs. Barcelona on the big screen (14 ") in room 115 - so what the heck - this is vacation after all. Real wins the match 3-0.
Sunday 27. february
The start of this trip was pretty lazy, so in fact I get up pretty early. And now for some breakfast. But that is not easy on an early sunday morning in Madrid. Have to stroll around for half an hour, before I finally end up at an open cafe, and then it's about time for the first Cafe con leche on this trip - and som very very dry toast.
There is one thing you have to do in spanish towns on sundays - that is to watch people. They seem to be everywhere - everybody is taking a stroll. And suddenly the weather has turned from danish rain to spanish spring - this is a good thing.
First sight is the local market El Rastro. Here you can buy everything you need - and don't need. From here I take a long walk recommended by my tourguide from "Time Out" - among other things to Parque de las Vistillas, with a good city-view - and a look at the biggest cathedrel in Madrid called Catadral de la Almucena.
Later this day another sunday-must. A visit to the big park in Madrid called Retiro. A huge amount of people are hanging around - and a lot of activity - amont others plenty of toy-theatres - very much enjoyed by the kids. So this is a really got spot to hang arund for some hours - just relaxing and looking around.
Later this day to the more noisy and polluted Gran Via - and streets close to. This is the shopping-area of Madrid - and that's just what it is.
Monday 28. february
Today the plan was to go to Segovia by bus. So I head off for the big busterminal in Madrid - which is not in fact placed very central in the city. Arriving here a problem turns up. The bus for Segovia doesn't leave from here (bloody Time-Out-guide !!!) - but from somewhere else in downtown. But thankfully plans have been made to change. So instead I go to Toledo - because there is a bus.
Toledo is a very old, very historic city about an hours drive on the freeway from Madrid. Very nice and exiting to look at.
Back home from Toledo - late afternoon - the hunt starts for what in my humble opinion will be the highlight of this tour - the champions-league match played om tuesday between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Rumours say that the match will not be sold out, and there are tickets to get. But you can only buy tickets at the stadium - and the open in the early evening-hours. So I go by the local Metro (by the way - one of the best I have ever seen) to Estadion Santiago Bernebeu. Here you immediately run into the black market. They want 10.000 pesatas for a ticket - thats about 80 us-$. And of course they tell you that getting a ticket at the ticket office is impossible. But I insist of trying, and good people as they are, they show me the way to the ticket office. Not the nearest way of course - I have to take a long walk around the stadium before I'm finally nearly back at my starting point - and there is the ticket-office.
Saturdays triumph against Barca has made the Madrillians in a good mood. So there's a long line at the office - and an hour till they open. Thankfully a pair of "ticket-sharts" is sneaking around in the back of the queue. The offer me a 3.500 pesatas-ticket for 5000 - I buy - and save a couple of hours queueing.
From here back to my head-quarter. Tonights dinner is on the cafe in the hotel. They have a good offer - 3 course menu with bread, wine and coffee for 15 us$ - I go for that. But I do get a little surprised when they actually put a whole bottle of white wine on the table for me alone.
Tuesday 29. february
And what a match this turns out to be. The germans win by 4 goals to 2 - but the homecrowd doesn't panic for this reason. Football-culture exist here, so they enjoy a very good game of football. Stefan Effenberg is brilliant - but the detail of the match is when Hierro smashes a 70 yard ball against the corner-flag - there Roberto Carlos turnes up - volleys the ball into the head of Raul, who cant do anything else but score. "Quel Gol" - you here from an old gentleman on the seat behind me - and he is right about that.
Back to the hotel - the match is being analyzed again and again on all the spanish channels this night.
Wednesday 1. march
End of first-half here in Madrid - so I went for the big train-station i Madrid Atocha. From there the very fast AVE-train to Seville.
The AVE-train is in Seville on time. Thats a shame - if its 5 min late you get a refund for your ticket.
I have no hotel booked in Seville. Stupid of me. The first part of the day I spend looking for a hotel. Finally I find a room at Hosteria del Laurel - they can house me for one night. So the hunt continues until I find some other hotel, where I can spend the following nights
Finally - time to take a look at Seville. I have to mention that the weather is great. About 25 celsius og sun from a sky with no clouds - I bet that it's raining in Denmark. So its very nice to walk around this city, with orange-trees all over. Since there is no snow in this part of the world, the kids use oranges as snowball. So take a little care now and then - especially around schools.
I get to see the old quarter of Seville "Santa Cruz" - full of american tourists and souvenirshops - and because of that - not the most exiting part of the city. Later I find the bull-fight-arena called Plaza de Toros de La Maestranza - one of the most famous in Spain. I take a guided tour around the arena.
In the evening I go for a long walk along the river called Ril Guadalquivir - onto the "other" side to a cozy neighbourhoold called Triana - and taking a look at the area where EXPO92 once were held.
Thursday 2. march
Another day for sightseeing in Seville. It doesn't really matter where you go to "sightsee" - because everywhere you will find beutifull house, exiting - and very narrow - street, and good neighbourhoods - at least if you stay away from Santa Cruz - the real tourist-scene in Seville. A lot of fine mosaics in on a lot of the walls around town.
Today I visit the cathedral in Seville - and take the long walk up the tower of La Giralda, with a great view across Seville. I also go for a trip in Reales Alcazares, which used to be some kind of summerhome for spanish kings years ago. It is build in socalled "Mujadin"-style, some kind om muslim-inspired architecture with tiles put together in beautiful ways.
Friday 3. march
Time to get out in the countryside - out into the real Andalusia A busride for some hours to Aracene - a small village west of Seville - with a bautiful castle-ruin, a very exiting and extremely beuatiful cave (sorry - no pictures - not allowed) - and a very cozy andalusian "white town" where nearly all houses are painted white.
Saturday 4. march
Another day out of town. This time east - and higher - up to the city of Ronda another 2-3 hours bustrip from Seville. Ronda is located high on a mountain, with a shonishing wiew down the valleys beneath it. That gives you impressive views from this nice city.
Sunday 5. march
Last day in Seville before going back to Madrid. Sunday = going to the park - this time Parque Maria Louise and Plaza Espanya. But here you feel that Seville is more a tourist-city than Madrid - Horse-carriages and things like that is not my style.
Later this afternoon its time for another game of football. I walk to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan where the Premiera-leagues absolutely number last Seville is playing at home to Valladolid. And when number last is playing some not very interesting team from the middle of the league - there should be room enough. Or should there?. I arrive 20 min before the game, and once again I have to go to the black market to get a ticket. But the price was reasonable. There are a crowd of 45.000 people to this match - that is class from the homecrowd. Valladolid gets a man sent off early in the match - Seville is in control - but they loose the game 1-0, when Valladolid scores on their only chance in this game - not good for the home team.
Monday 6. march
Exit Seville - back to Madrid on AVE - and unfortunately no deleys this time as well.
Back in Madrid - and going to my old hotel for the last few nights on this trip. This day in spend on walking around - looking on streets, houses and people.
Tuesday 7. march
Time - again - to go to Segovia. This time from the right terminal, so this time I succeed. Segovia is also about an hours drive from Madrid og is best known for the aquaduct, that passes high above city-centre. It's carnival-time in Segovia so a lot of children is dressed up and behaves madly. There are very few tourists - this is out-of-season. And the toy-theathres are playing - seems to be a very popular thing among kids around here.
The town is very nice to stroll around - very beautiful - and much more than the aquaduct.
Wednesday 8. march
Today I do something that is very rare to me - I visit a famous art-museum - the world-famous Prado. And god knows this is not an area where I consider myself an expert - but it is very impressing - and a lot of paintings. Some of them are very famous - why some are masterpieces and others are not, I really dont know - but thankfully you can always recall the masterpieces by the huge amount of people gathered around them. Goya and Valázquez seems to be ghe Effenberg and Roberto Carlos of this place. And if you dont care about the paintings you can always watch the people who are her - 1/3 is tourist that read that the guide-books say they should go here - 1/3 is the bourgoise that find it exiting to be here - and 173 are schoolchildren that has been forced to go here and find it very very boring.
The rest of the day I just walk around in the city - now there are no more "must-sees" around.
Thursday 9. march
Back home today - this has been a great trip. Madrid was exiting (and not very tourist-minded - which I like) - and Sevilla was fantastic. And I have seen some great places around the city's as well.
And the weather - faboulous - sun all the time - not too hot - when they have 25 celsius in Andalusia on this time of the year it must be HOT in summer.
Plane back - back to the rain.
You have to do something before going to the match. So I start heading for the aerial ropeway - that according to Time-Out can take me to the great park of Casa De Campo. But when I find it, I find out that it's only working sundays - thank god for Time-out - so now I have to think of something else.
The station Principe Pio is close to here. Time-Out say that from here I can take the train to a nice town calle Alcala De Henares. And for once they are right - of course its not their fault that I take the train in wrong direction, so I have to be driven around most of Madrid's surroundings before the train finally head for Alcala De Henares.
But it was worth the effort. A cozy little town - and a good walk around the streets before I turn back - to be able to go for the match in decent time.
Early in the evening I head for football - and there are a lot of people out there. Around 75.000 - and one other famous dane - Kim Milton is the referee of the match - I can spot him even from my place on "8. floor" of this huge stadium.