The fourth day was spent in Segovia and I didn’t do anything much in Madrid except figuring out the different Intercity bus stops by making some errors in judgement and learning some lessons which may be I could help someone else with some day.
So jumping now on the fifth day of my trip.
I had a very broken sleep during the night and so I was a bit drowsy in the morning. Didn’t get out of the room until 11:00! That’s quite alarming considering that the vacation ends the next day and the routine would have to be brought back!! Sigh…
Anyway, so as I was late for everything, I was also late in deciding what to do. Once decided, I went ahead with the first excursion of the day – the National Archaeological Museum. It’s a great museum of history of the Iberian peninsula, explaining everything from prehistoric times to early modern period, with the help of artifacts as well as audio-visual aids. The 5 minute videos they have created for different parts of the exhibits are excellent. There are three virtual reality setups too. I watched only two of them and they were both quite nice. The first one was that of a prehistoric cave and the second one was of a Moorish city center and a house of those times. When I reached there, a group of school children was also there but I think they were already finished with the tour. I think that they would have liked the tour because of the good audio visual aids instead of having to read everything themselves!
The price of the ticket was quite reasonable (3 Euro general) compared to so many other museums of this level. One can easily spend 4 hours here and yet not complete the tour!
Interesting also to note is that the museum was commissioned by the Queen Isabella II in the 19th century.
The artifacts are very good with explanations given in both Spanish and English for each. I wish all museums could make that effort! I have spent a lot of time and money in museums where all I could do was take pictures (and sometimes not even that) without understanding the details because the inscriptions were only in the local language :(.
Below is an image of a mosaic from the Roman times, to give you a glimpse.
I was a bit hard pressed for time because I had read that the Palace was open only until 6 PM from October. I wanted to make it in time for that. But as fate would have it, I didn’t plan the time correctly and was denied entry like a few more in-front of me in the queue because by the time our turn came, the clock had turned to 5 PM and they close the doors one hour before the closing time. So there went my chance of seeing the palace – not that I mind it too much. My only regret was that I could instead have spent more time the museum instead of hurrying up on my lunch and running to the palace.
On the way out from the museum, I saw this monument – Monumento a Jorge Juan y Santacilia. I don’t know the significance but looked impressive. Hence the photo.
Upon reaching the palace, I saw this statue of Felipe IV once again, having seen it first on the day of the walking tour. There are several interesting things about this statue.
- The King got it made while still alive. So the hoofs in the air don’t signify anything.
- The sculpture was made based on a painting by Velazquez.
- The mathematical calculations done to solve the problem of stability of this statue with such a position of the horse, were done by none other than Galileo himself, who was a friend of the Italian sculptor Pietro Tacca.
- Hence the statue is also called the statue of three geniuses – the painter, the sculptor and the mathematician.
While I was in the queue for the Palace, and didn’t know that it would turn out to be futile, I managed to capture the picture of the Almudena Cathedral in a similar was as of the statue above. I found it to be a pretty interesting look with the sun in the back giving a kind of aura!
After the disappointment of the palace, I thought of looking again on the net what I could do after 5. Found that the Municipal History museum was open till 8 and entry was free. So I made my way to that museum. This museum tells about the history of the city. It has quite good exhibits but taking photos is not allowed and the details and layout is not as good as the Archaeological museum. But hey, it’s free and for that, I must say, it was quite nice. One can spend around 2 hours there. The nearest metro was Tribunal.
After finishing with this museum, I made my way to do some small shopping and then went back towards the room. There is a nice Wok place on the way where there is good internet connection along with decent food. So I stopped there, had my dinner and worked a bit on the post.
With this , the day comes to an end. It’s a mixed feeling for me today – satisfied with the good museums and disappointed with not being able to get inside the palace. Ah, you win some,you lose some. All in a day’s work.
So now, I must sleep. Packing to be done tomorrow morning!