Tchoo-Tchoo: Ghost metro station & Madrid train history

Madrid has countless great museums, but a certain subset really appeal to Doer’s engineer brain. This city, like much of urban Spain, has a great public transit system based largely on different kinds of trains. There is actually a long history to the railroad here, and we set out to explore it a bit. Our first stop: the Museo del Ferrocarril, near modern-day Atocha station in the disused Delicias station, dedicated to the history of Spanish rail. All Spanish railways and this museum are overseen by RENFE, the Spanish national rail operator. The museum is a living history of nearly

Continue reading

Autumn in Madrid, Part 2

Before we moved to Madrid, we heard that we could expect 9 months of winter followed by 3 months of hell, and we have found that to be more or less true. Therefore, we tried to explore in and around our new city as much as possible last autumn, when the weather reached that ephemeral period that is neither too hot nor too cold. October 12 was Hispanic Day, or what we know in America as Columbus Day. It celebrates pretty much the same thing here: the discovery of America, plus the greatness of the Spanish empire. Several perfectly-calibrated projectors were

Continue reading

Sheep in the streets!

We are no strangers to parades. When we lived in the Valencian Community last year, there seemed to be one every weekend. But we hadn’t seen any locals take to the streets in the first months after our move to Madrid last summer. In October, however, that changed – in a big way. Despite our repeated exposure to traditional dress, musicians, fireworks, and the occasional horse in Valencian parades, we were in no way prepared to see thousands of animals making their way through a major world capital. The Fiesta de la Transhumancia, or Transhumance Festival, is a nod to

Continue reading

Autumn in Madrid, Part 1

Last October, after saying goodbye to Dreamer’s brother and his wife, we decided to take advantage of the lovely fall weather and appreciatethe beauty of Madrid from above. Madrid’s Cable Car, el Teleférico, begins its ascent a mere 15 minutes from our apartment, in the Parque del Oeste. After boarding, Dreamer did a quick mental safety check: is there anything we should be worried about on this kind of ride? With her mind at ease (or at least realizing we were powerless at this point to get off), we were free to enjoy the views. The ride gave us a

Continue reading

Madrid Visits: Chapter One

Dreamer’s brother and his lovely wife (plus our nephew, in utero) were our first visitors in Madrid last October. We hit up a lot of the usual sites, like the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Our visitors wanted to see something related to Spain’s bullfighting culture, but since the season had ended, they had to make do with watching a bull run in the small town of Horche, not too far from Madrid in Castilla-La Mancha. As this was bulls in the street, we weren’t quite sure of the trajectory, or if we were inside the area or not.

Continue reading

Dachau: A somber day trip

Travel, for us, is almost always a joyous occasion. New cultures, new flavors – a window into the beauty of our world. However, not everything in the world is beautiful, and we feel it would be irresponsible and even dangerous to pretend otherwise. This is why, in the middle of our exuberant visit to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest, we found ourselves making a short journey that somehow felt interminably long. It is difficult to live and travel in Europe without some sense of a dark cloud hanging over all this at times. World War II was not that many years

Continue reading