Las Ventas Arena Walking in the centre, you can’t help noticing a majestic red-brick building constructed in the Neo-Mudéjar style. It’s the Las Ventas bullring erected in the early 20th century when corridas were particularly popular. Bullfights are held from March to October, but Las Ventas doesn’t stand empty at other time as well. Concerts, sports competitions, and various cultural events are organized here. There’s also a small bullfighting museum within the arena. It exhibits the portraits and biographies of famous matadors as well as bullfighting equipment and outfits. Madrid Río Park We often visited the Madrid Río Park located along [...]
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Golden Triangle of Art Planning our trip to Madrid, we surely added the visit to the Golden Triangle of Art – a complex of three art museums located on the Paseo del Prado – to the list. The Prado Museum is one of the most famous places in the capital. It has a collection of 8,000 paintings and several hundred sculptures including the works by Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Goya, and other renowned artists. When entering the museum, we were given a plan with all major masterpieces marked, but even having it, it’s easy to lose your bearings here. The building [...]
Puerta del Sol – the Place Where All Spanish Roads Start All roads lead to the Puerta del Sol. When you walk around Madrid, it’s just impossible to dodge it – sooner or later, you come to the square. The main square of the capital, whose name can be translated as “Gate of the Sun”, is situated in the heart of the city and is a meeting point of eight streets. It is considered km 0, a geographical centre of both Madrid and Spain. A bronze Km. 0 plaque is built into the pavement before the House of the Post Office. [...]
The weather in Porto got worse by the end of September. North winds brought the real cold, and we were afraid that it would be as cold in Madrid. However, to our delight, the capital of Spain welcomed us with a bright sun. We were enjoying the lovely summer-like weather till late October, which let us explore the city to the fullest. We’d been dreaming of visiting Madrid for many years as it’s both the historical and political capital of the country. The flat we were renting was very cosy and located near the city centre. It was a good apartment [...]
Visiting Porto, we certainly couldn’t help dropping into the famous Lello Bookstore. Not only is it famous due to its connection to the creation of the Harry Potter books, but also because it’s one of the oldest bookshops in the country [...]
The São Bento railway station is situated near the city hall. It dates from the late 19th century. The building is neoclassical in style and is famous for its interior, and a large number of incredible azulejo tiles specifically. The walls of the lobby are decorated with huge panels from ceramic tiles coloured in traditional shades of blue and white. They depict different historical events connected with the railway as well as the Portuguese life as a whole: military battles, celebrations on the occasion of the kings’ arrival, etc. The snow-white stucco ceiling adds to the overall magnificence. Любопытный памятник [...]
Porto is the north capital of Portugal located on a bank of the Douro River emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a port city crammed with picturesque streets, where charming colourful houses with tiled roofs are interlaced with monumental representatives of old architecture. When we decided to go to Portugal, we knew at once that the cities we should definitely visit during our stay were Lisbon and Porto. These are the largest cities in the country and they are chalk and cheese. Lisbon is a noisy modern capital, while Porto oozes local colour and has a wealth of historic sites (as [...]
Sintra is a unique place full of castles, landmarks, and various antiquities. It’s a resort town that used to be popular among Portuguese monarchs, which is why it’s crammed with palaces, villas, and other royal residences. The Palace of Sintra is the central (in every sense) landmark of the city. It’s easy to reach it as it’s located in the centre, near the railway station. The present-day palace was built in the 14th century (it was constructed on the site of the Castle of the Moors). It’s a snow-white building complex made in the Manueline style (Portuguese Renaissance) mixed with the [...]
One of the main things that we intended to do in Portugal was to see the ocean. Since Lisbon lies on the River Tagus that empties into the Atlantic Ocean, we had to go further west to get to the ocean. The city of Cascais located near Lisbon was the place that introduced us to the open ocean. It took just 40 minutes to reach it by train. Cascais is popular among the Portuguese, who often come here from different parts of the country to swim and sunbathe. The town is famous for its lovely natural beaches – there's about a [...]
Lisbon has a huge oceanarium, which is one of the most outstanding ones in the world. It’s a large complex, where you can easily spend all day. When we got there, our babies were just mesmerized. The interior of the oceanarium is truly grand. There are high three-people-tall aquariums in the form of huge wide[...]