one of the many daytrips from Madrid
07.09.2009 32 °C
There are many daytrips from Madrid that one can do. And yes in time I will mention most of them here. Most people will choose for Toledo as the one and only daytrip from Madrid, and it needs to be said that if you only have time for one trip this is the obvious choice. The second choice normally is Segovia, another good choice, and lovely town.
Yesterday (or much longer ago, depending on when you read this) I went to Aranjuez, a town 45 minutes by train away from the Atocha Station. It lies south on the river Tagus. Which in Aranjuez is not much more that a big stream. The main sight in Aranjuez is the Royal Castle.
I made the same trip a couple of years ago on a visit to Madrid, but back than I went on a monday, meaning that the Palace is closed. And one thing that annoyed me ever since is, that I found a way to delete most of my pictures from that trip. So all the more reason to head back to the town. A colleague of mine tipped my on friday, that the entrance to the palace would free of charge this sunday, as it was a local holiday.
The day started with missing the train at Atocha. I saw it move out of the station when I arrived. I blamed myself as I forgot some stuff at home, making me go back up from the lobby, losing just enough time to miss the train. After half an hour a new chance, and this time I was on my way to Aranjuez.
I remembered the huge parks near to the palace very well, as I spend a lot of time there 3 years ago. But I was curious about seeing the inside of the palace. In my view a lot of the palaces in Europe look the same from the inside, so I never bothered much to go inside. But as it was for free, why not? I also decided on the audio tour this time, for the palace and the gardens (3,50 spend but in a good way.) The lady at the counter explained my in her best Spanish how to use the guide (what can go wrong with pushing numbers an pushing play, one might wonder), and what was the best way to get around the gardens and where everything was. I didn't understand a word of it and didn't bother really, as it seemed that following the numbers would be a fairly obvious way to go. And that turned out to be true.
But first the palace, after the normal rooms, that every every palace needs to have the first room to make me say wow! was the Arabian Room. Which was decorated as was it a piece of the Alhambra in Granada. The Audioguide told me it was done by the architect who was in charge of the restauration of the Alhambra, on request of the King. Another very nice room was the porcelain room, and room decorated with what seems to be thousands of porcelain figures, all in a chinese theme. The rest of the Palace has the normal rooms you seen in every palace, (King's study, Queen's bedchamber etc etc. ) with the predictable pieces of art. To out you also need to pass the museum of how live was at the Palace. A nice touch was the collection of weddingdresses used by Princesses in recent weddings.
At around 15.30 it was time to go outside, into the heat and into the parks. As the audioguide suggested to do the Jardin de la Isla first, that's what I did. It has a number of very nice fountains, and it kept me busy for a while. (making pictures.) As this garden is not too huge, I could head over to the Parterre in front of the south end of the palace, and after that to the Jardin del Principe, which are a lot bigger. For me a tree is a tree, but it seems that there is a nice collection of trees in this park. For me they were all green, and grew towards the sky. In other words, biology was never my favourite subject in school. This park is more streched out, while there are still some things to see.
The biggest attraction is the Casa de Labrador, which ever when it can only be visited with a reservation is a nice little palace to see. The little Chinese pond is also very nice.
After seeing the gardens it was time for the walk back to the palace, to hand in my audioguide. It took nearly half an hour to get back to the Palace. After that I decided to make a little walk into the nearby parts of the town, and stay for a while at a square not far from the palace, which was surrounded with interesting buildings. At the end of the square is the Royal Chappel, where I had a look inside, and was a bit less royal than I had imagined. At least without the many decorations you often see.
I completed the round around the square, and decided to go back to the palace to enjoy being outside, and to do some people watching. At 19.00 I headed to the trainstation, where the train took me back to Madrid.
All in all Aranjuez can be a nice daytrip, but because of the walking also one that can make you a bit tired.
If you want to know more about the Palace and the gardens (like dates, costs etc, check this article on the TP wikiguide: Aranjuez Cultural Landscape.