WARM SUN, WARM PEOPLE

“Photo of the Week” time! Here we are in Madrid, Spain.

I usually end up in a city and have a dilemma to resolve: sleep after traveling and/or working all night, or go see the “town”. At home I am not ashamed to say that I would vote for the “sleep option” but not when I travel. I can get yesterday’s rest…tomorrow! Right? So what’s the quickest way to see the sights with very little time off in any city?

My favorite option is a tour bus! Rather than take a taxi to one area, and walk, missing many of the local sights, I prefer to take a bus tour. In many cities in Europe, these tour buses stop frequently allowing you to get on and get off as you wish. The routes are typically a loop and buses are very frequent: like every 5 to 15 minutes. Now you can see the main sights and decide which sights you want to spend more time on. Later, on my next visit, or the next day if I’m so lucky, I now know exactly where I really want to focus my sight-seeing.

So I found Madrid City Tour (Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour) do these types of tours with their open-top double-decker buses. It was about $28 (US) and they took credit cards. Awesome.

They had two routes. One was the historic route and the other was a tour of modern Madrid. I preferred the first option, getting off at various places that looked interesting…getting loaded up on espressos and walking about. The historic route will have stops at The Royal Palace of Madrid (the official home of the Spanish royal family), the museums at Museo del Prado and Museo Reina Sofía. The peaceful parks were amazing, such as the tree-lined Paseo del Prado.

The second route of modern Madrid…well I mostly slept. That’s not saying that it was bad. It’s just saying that I was exhausted and was struggling to care about what the tour guide had to say anymore.

I have done these types of tours in many of the European cities that I have visited and is a great way to quickly get familiar with a city’s tourist traps and feel. On your next visit or the following day, you will have a much better idea on what or where you want to focus.

As for the photo, it’s not terribly exciting but for a man that was barely awake, it’s great to look at these photos to remind myself what I saw on that quick tour of Madrid. This shot makes me smile as it reminds me of the warm sun and equally warm people that roamed through the streets of historic Madrid. This is a very vibrant city and I look forward to my next visit!