Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Spain Day 5: Final morning in Madrid

The rose garden in the Retiro
On our final morning in Madrid we packed our bags, left the apartment which had proved a great home over the last four days and headed down to the train station where we'd be leaving departing for Seville later in the day.

We dropped our bags off at left luggage, after clearing them through airport style security, and made use of the smartest train station toilets I've ever seen. Madrid train station was proving itself to be the most traveller friendly station I've ever used.

Refreshed we decided to take our books and head up to the Retiro to relax for a while before our train. While we were in the park we couldn't resist visiting the rose garden for a second time. It was even more impressive than the previous Sunday with lots more roses in flower and fewer crowds.

After a short time sitting in the garden, I fancied a quick lunch before we got the train. We headed towards some awnings I'd spotted near the entrance to the park, assuming that they were caf├ęs. The street I'd seen turned out to be lined with second hand book stalls. Even though I couldn't understand any of the titles, there is something soothing about second hand book shops.
Caixa building
As we looped our way back towards the train station we passed the Caixa building. The old electrical station is flanked by an enormous living all outside and has had a large copper extension placed on top. Unsure if it was open to the public or not we decided to venture inside. It turned out to be a museum with an impressively angular central station. We didn't have time for a look at any of the exhibitions, but it is definitely somewhere I'd visit again next time I'm in Madrid.

We were running out of time before our train when Becks spotted a branch of Museo del Jamon that I'd been joking about wanting to visit for the last couple of days. We dived in and grabbed a couple of spots at the bar. My Spanish wasn't good enough to understand the various meal deals on offer, but I chanced my arm with jamon sandwich and a beer. Becks opted for the ham and cheese croissant with a beer as well. We were given some complimentary chorizo and olives as well.

When we asked for the bill we were charged the unbelievably small amount 3.90 EUR. We couldn't quite decided if they'd charged us the right amount or not. I was going to check  if we'd been charged the right amount but all the staff headed to the other end of the bar, so we decided to bid a hasty retreat.
Lunch at the Museo del Jamon
After retrieving our bags we headed for our train, which whisked to Seville in two and a half hours. The train was a modern TGV, which makes you realise how long in the tooth the twenty year old Eurostar trains are now. I slept a lot of the way, but my favourite feature was the speedometer in the carriage which topped out around 290 kph when I was watching. It felt unbelievably smooth.

Out of the window I remember seeing lots of olive trees and one half finished housing estate close to the railway line. It was one of the few signs of Spain's economic troubles we saw during the trip.

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