Friday, January 06, 2006


visit to Real Madrid

The day before yesterday, I went to Madrid with my IESE friends Abanish and Kapil who are both from India. The main purpose of my visit was to apply for visa to UK. This means, if I get lucky to get to the second round of banking interviews which generally take place in London, I don't have to worry about having to come to Madrid by missing at least a day of classes. It is also nice to be able to go to London whenever I wanted to go (during the next 6 months as the max "visit" visa I could apply for was a 6 month visa)

We flew to Madrid with Spanair, a low budget airline and reached Madrid in 1 hour in the afternoon. It was a relief to not worry about 2 new languages like in Barcelona. I could be sure that whatever is written, it is written in Spanish and not Catalan. Madrid airport seemed to be modern and clean. And it had a nice "Metro" connection unlike in Barcelona where you have to take an "airport bus" to get to the Renfe station and change train one more time to get to Catalunya, the center of Barcelona. But as we went towards the city center, the stations were dirty and the trains(Metro) were smaller and looked old.

We got a nice hostel at the center of Madrid. We didn't book it online, we found it through a recommendation of one of the hostels Kapil had shortlisted to enquire. No rooms were available in that hostel and the guy from the hostel recommended the one we eventually took. The price was a bargain. The room was nice and clean and had an ensuite bathroom. I took a single room for 17 Euros and they got a double room for 13 each. Amazing rate for something in the heart of the city. I forgot to take my camera, so I couldn't take any picture. The name of the hostel is "Narancho" and is located at Pubela 6, Piso 2 . I will put down the phone number when I find it.

We later then went to what I was told the "must see" place in Madrid, the Museu del Prado. Abanish and Kapil felt like they came to the wrong place as they got bored with paintings there and they felt they would rather go out and enjoy the hutsle and bustle of the city. I thought about it differently. I can always enjoy the city life that evening or in the afternoon the other day and didn't want to miss the opportunity at hand. I had heard a lot of good things about this museum. I spent about 3 hours enjoying the paintings there, especially the ones by Goya, Velasquez and Raimundo de Madrazo.

One of the pair of paintings I liked most was "Las Majas" by Goya, one with clothes and one naked. (No wonder, hmmn!) The audio guide mentioned that there have been never ending speculations about who that beautiful lady in the painting is. Apparently, to make sure nobody would recognize who he painted, he changed the face in the painting later on. It does look like an amateur "Photoshop" editing in the painting where the head and the rest of the body is aligned. A quick google search on Las Majas can point you to the paintings I am talking about.

The next day, we applied for our visas. One tip for you if you are an IESE student and need to apply for UK visit visa! Make sure you take a letter from Student Affairs which says that you are a current student at IESE. I had that letter but they didn't. Luckily, it worked out at the end after they submitted IESE "place conformation" letter. By 1:30, we collected our passports with the visas stamped.

More on the trip in the next posting!

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