I started out Day 5 in Madrid wandering up and down the Gran Via. The Gran Via is 'The Street' in Madrid for upscale shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. It's similar to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. My goal was to end up at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum by the afternoon, by way of the Plaza de Colón.
1: In the morning, I went directly from my hotel to the Gran Via Plaza del Callao. At nighttime, it is lit up by many big screen monitors and billboards. It is the Madrid equivalent to Times Square in New York, or Piccadilly Circus in London.
2: From Plaza del Callao, I walked west toward Plaza de España. The Plaza de España is a large public space, and popular tourist destination. It features a large monument for Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote the famed novel Don Quixote, in 1605 and 1615. The monument also features bronze statues of the protagonist, Don Quixote, along with his sidekick Sancho.
3: From the Plaza de España, I backtracked down to the opposite end of the Gran Via, where the popular Metropolis Building stands. Built in 1910, this is one of the most photographed buildings in Madrid.
4: A short walk from the Metropolis is Cibeles Square. Named for a mythical goddess, the Cibeles Fountain sits in a square of the same name. The fountain is a popular celebration spot for Real Madrid football club fans following victories. The city had start taking measures to protect the statue due to damage.
5: Across from the fountain, is the Cibeles Palace. It was built between 1907 and 1919 and was called the Cathedral of Communications, and meant to be a hub of communications for Spain. Today it's a cultural center and the seat of the City Council of Madrid. For a small fee, you can take a lift up the central tower for great views of the city.
6: Right between the Cibeles Square and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum along Paseo del Prado is this Fountain of the Greek God Apollo and the Four Seasons, which dates back to the early 19th century.
7: The Plaza de Colón contains a Monument to Christopher Columbus built in 1885 at the center of the roundabout. In the background are the Torres de Colón built in 1976. They are two distinct towers joined at the top by a plug-like structure.
8: Opposite the towers is the Descubrimiento Garden, which contains a massive monument to the discovery of America by Joaquín Vaquero Turcios in 1977.
9: After a day of wandering the streets of Madrid, I decided to close out my day at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. The museum has a huge collection of over 1600 paintings, and is the second largest private collection in the world. The best thing about it is: you can take photos! If you looked at this photo and thought, "what a lovely pair of statues", you would be wrong! These are a pair of paintings by the Flemish master Jan Van Eyck from 1435 called The Annunciation Diptych. The work is flawless.
10: From a more modern part of the collection, I thought this set of paintings called The Dazzling Outcast was notable because of their size and futuristic look. They are from the surrealist Chilean painter Roberto Sebastián Antonio Matta, painted in 1966. They take up an entire wall of an exhibit room.
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