Featured photo for Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

It was four years ago that I visited Madrid for the first time, albeit briefly. Yet, upon returning this time, it felt like I picked up right where I left off. As I took my parents on a walk to the city center through Madrid’s most famous park, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu.

The city of Madrid was not the only thing that was familiar. On our second night here, we met up with my friend Javier, who was in Fort Collins for a couple months earlier this year but lives in Spain’s capital. Upon meeting outside the city’s excellent metro system, we went for a walk before having a delectable dinner of tapas, over which my parents peppered Javi with questions about Spain’s health and education systems. (Spain, apparently, has basic universal health care for everyone, although the wealthy can pay for private insurance for better care. The country also has a lot of “free” or nearly free options for higher education—maybe even for foreigners who study there, Javi said.)

In addition to dining with Javi, during our three days in Madrid, we visited the following places:

  • Plaza de Colón.
  • Parque del Retiro.
  • A walk into the center of the city along the Paseo de Prada by buildings such as Palacio de Cibeles and Casa de America.
  • Plaza Mayor.
  • Iglesia Catedral Castrense in Barrio de los Austrias.
  • Catedral de la Almudena.
  • Palacio Real.
  • Plaza de Oriente.
  • Plaza de España.
  • Museo de Prada.
  • Puerta del Sol, including the Estatua del Oso y Madroño.

A map from part of our walk from our first full day in Madrid is shown here.


During our second full day, we stopped by the Apple Store in Madrid in addition to some of the last places in the list above. The new iPhone X had yet to arrive in the store and the other devices were underwhelming. “Look how large these bezels are on the iPhone 8,” I observed. My dad was astonished that Macs do not have a touch screen yet. “That’s because Steve Jobs said that people would get ‘gorilla arms’ with touch screens on computers,” I said, laughing.

Guess neither my dad or I are interested in entering Steve Jobs’ walled garden anytime soon. Never mind that plenty of gorilla arm-less folks could be seen using iconic devices sporting the shape of a fruit on the streets of Madrid.

Fountain at Parque Retiro. There were a lot of people walking about even though it was getting dark.
Ducks in Estanque Grande (Big Pond) at Parque Retiro in Madrid.
Buses in front of Palacio de Cibeles at night.
The Casa de America at night in Madrid.
Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid at night.
Horseman statue at Plaza Mayor.
Another view of Horseman statue at Plaza Mayor.
Iglesia Catedral Castrense in Barrio Palacio, Madrid, Spain.
Catedral de la Almudrena in Madrid, Spain.
Yamaha XSR 700 60th Anniversary in front of Catedral de la Almudrena in Madrid, Spain.
The north side of Catedral de la Almudrena in Madrid, Spain.
A man and woman looking at a smartphone in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Folks practicing a choreographed dance in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid.
A man and a woman dancing at the Plaza de Oriente in Madrid.
View of the blue dome on the top of the north side of the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Stained glass inside the Catedral de la Almudena in Madrid, Spain.
Felix Wong and friend Javier outside Restaurante Álbora in Madrid, Spain.
My mom and dad with a drink outside Restaurante Álbora in Madrid, Spain.
A "falling waiter" stunt at the Puerta del Sol. Netflix's Narcos drama was advertised all over Spain.
Estatua del Oso y el Madroño.
Armed policemen near the Prada Museum.
After 6:00 p.m., entry into the Prada Museum is free.  Therefore, there was a very long line outside.
The AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona departing from Madrid's Atocha train station.