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15 May 2014

A tour of Madrid with your senses

If, like me, you love to travel but don't get much chance to go abroad, you will surely love our solution: experiencing Madrid with your 5 senses.

You may already know some of the history or some facts about Madrid, due to its constant modernisation and development, and far from pretending to be a tourist guide, today I would like to suggest what not to miss when visiting the capital of Spain with your five senses.


Sight


This month we are talking about Madrid, the capital of Spain, a city that has seen Royalty, revolutions, academia, culture, sport and fashion all develop here in the centre of the country. It is home to the world's oldest restaurant, the third largest bull fighting stadium and even one of Europe's most successful football clubs, so there's no argument that there is a lot to be seen. However, stealing the top spot as the sight not to be missed is: El museo del Prado.



El Prado is located in central Madrid and is one of the most visited sites in the world and is considered to be one of the greatest art museums in the world. The collection currently comprises around 7,600 paintings, 1,000 sculptures, 4,800 prints and 8,200 drawings among other pieces of art and historical documents - I'm sure you'll admit, plenty for the eye to see. Highlights of the collection includes works by Goya, Titian, Rubens, Bosch and the best known piece, Las Meninas  by Veláquez.



Sound


If you put Spain and sport together, you may well come up with Real Madrid, one of the most successful football clubs in Europe. This paired with the fact that their stadium, Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, can seat 81,044 people means a fantastic atmosphere, and a lot of noise, whenever the team are playing.


With 32 La Liga titles, 19 Copas del Rey and 9 UEFA Champions League titles, it is fair to say that Los Blancos have a very strong following. Their grounds are located on the Paseo de la Castellana, just 20 minutes on the metro from the Plaza Mayor. The excitement, cheers and chants of the Real Madrid fans will definitely leave an impression on you...and your ears!




Smell


As for your sense of smell, we're going to Parque del Buen Retiro (literally the Park of the pleasant retreat). It is one of the largest parks in the city and used to be owned by the monarchy until it became a public space in the late 19th century. 


While under ownership of the monarchy, Buen Retiro saw the constructions of the Casón del Buen Retiro which served as a ballroom, the Museo del Ejército which housed the military museum, and the developments of the Great pond, the bellflower pond and the great and narrow canals. El Retiro is seen as the last great creation of the Renaissance in Spain.

The park has become the green heart of the city, with the beautifully landscaped Campo Grande, fruit trees and the Rosaleda rose garden and not forgetting the lake where you can even rent a rowing boat.


Taste


Taste, perhaps the easiest sense, yet difficult to satisfy, in my opinion due to the tremendous choice on offer. However, as a general rule of thumb, you cannot go to Spain without eating tapas. Although the origin of this new meaning for the word 'tapa' is debated, it has been stated that the original tapas were eaten in Andalusian bars where drinkers would place a slice of bread and ham over their drink to detract flies from their sweet sherry. As the phenomenon of tapas spread across Spain, the ingredients and influences also changed.


Selecting the best tapas bar in Madrid is near impossible, if anything due to the sheer amount of restaurants that are available. Some of the recommended ones are:
  • Taberna Matritum
  • Taberna Tempranillo
  • El Anciano Rey de los Vinos
  • La Cabrera
  • Almendro 13



Touch


You may think that this would be one of the harder senses, well think again as Spain is home to flamenco. As a dance style it is known for the emotional intensity, expressive use of the arms and rhythmic stamping of the feet. The genre originally derives from Andalusian and Romani music and dance styles, however as with tapas, the tradition spread throughout the country. There are various forms of the Flamenco dance, including 'Flamenco puro' and 'Flamenco nuevo'. 



In spite of its southern origins, it cannot be disputed that this tradition is an important part of Spanish culture. The capital offers many places to see flamenco shows, you could maybe even try out a lesson or two. One of the better known flamenco shows is the Corral de la Moreria. 






Remember our schools in Madrid would love to meet you, and if you have any doubts or questions do not hesitate to contact us!


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