On a January week-end, we stayed in the capital city of Spain on the invitation of Spain’s leading budget airline, Vueling and online radio ScannerFM and their MyVuelingCity guides
. (Gracias, Vueling, y ScannerFM). Both urged us to rediscover the city on our own terms. And so we decided to search out a couple of possibilities for easy hiking in Madrid and its environs, nothing too long or too arduous, something that can be done by anybody who is spending a few days here on business or on holiday. More about that soon.
But of course, we also took the time to explore the city a little while sniffing out easy hiking in Madrid.
Looking for Easy Hiking in Madrid
Madrid does not do „cute“, that much is for sure: Madrid does „brash“ instead – and does it well, better probably than any other city in Europe, and the Gran Via – Madrid’s main business street – reminded me in many ways more of New York than of London or Paris.
Madrid was, of course, for a few centuries, the centre of what was – at the time – the largest and wealthiest colonial empire in the world, and the grandeur of the architecture certainly reflects that.
The Almudena Cathedral appears to provide the blueprint for every Latin American church you will ever have seen ….
… and manages to make even the Royal Palace next door look humble by comparison.
Next, we will go out of town, but do not yet know exactly where – we will make up our minds over dinner at our fabulous hotel, the Hotel Urban in the heart of downtown Madrid. (Thank you, Vueling and ScannerFM, you certainly know how to treat your guests.)
Originally, we were planning an excursion into the mountains north of Madrid near Cercedilla where – in the middle of, it is said, spectacularly beautiful scenery – some of the bloodiest battles of the Spanish Civil War were fought. (And where some hideouts from the time have apparently been preserved and can still be visited. This is the part of Spain where much of Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls is set.)
But the trip to Cercedilla takes, door to door, roughly two hours („about one hour“, it says in the brochures, but this calculation involves a slight sleight of hand), and with the first train from Madrid not arriving much before noon and darkness – at this time of year – falling at around 5, we would hardly have any time at all to explore the place.
So in the end, as much as I would feel tempted, we may go for something a little less ambitious – and nearer to home.