Posted by: travelrat | July 9, 2007


 Madrid 13th April 2007

There are two ways to fly to Madrid from Britain. You can get a scheduled BA or Iberia flight from Heathrow, or you can fly on one of the budget airlines from one of the UK’s regional airports.

I like the EasyJet flight from Bristol, but one of the disadvantages of using that service is that, if you’re taking part in a Vaughan Systems programme, any savings you make are eaten by having to spend an extra night in Madrid.

But, that does give you time to explore a beautiful city. And no, I haven’t been to the Prado Museum yet. So far, my visits to Madrid have been on too nice a day to spend on museums and art galleries. I’m saving the Prado for a rainy day, preferably in the low season!

On a couple of occasions, I went to the Casa de Campo, a green open space to the west of the city. There’s a cable car, the Teleferico, from near the Argüelles Metro station to a hill overlooking the city, from which some good views can be had.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t start running till noon. So, the first time I visited, I thought I’d walk to the top station, and ride down … and still be in plenty of time for my 2 pm. appointment.

I even had time for a look around the Rosalede, the extensive rose-garden near the bottom station. Some of the roses were just starting to flower; both my visits so far have been in mid-April, and my roses at home hadn’t even budded.

Although finding the way up is fairly easy … you just follow the cables … it isn’t all green space. There’s a railway, a motorway and a river to be dealt with. But, these are provided with bridges at strategic points. But, one witty visitor did say, on sighting the River Mazanares, that the madrileños ought to either sell the bridge, or buy a river!

But, it’s a lot easier to wait until noon, and ride up on the Teleferico.

It has been said there’s not much up there when you get to the top, just trees, grass, flowers and a maze of paths … and plenty of views of Madrid. Those alone are worth the ride, or walk up. There’s also a restaurant, where I had lunch and. there’s a mirador, or viewpoint. And, a surprise! Use of the seaside-type fixed telescopes provided is free!

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