FITUR Tourism Fair 2005

This month sees the arrival of FITUR, the International Tourism Fair, which is held in Madrid’s Juan Carlos Exhibition Centre. The event takes place from the 26th to 30th January and is open to the general public on the 29th to the 30th January (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.). It offers a great opportunity to see regional and international tourism exhibitors and get involved in workshops and seminars. A number of sectors are covered and the exhibition has the following key sections: Fitur Activo, Fitur Know-How, Fitur Congresos and Fitur Residencial. Entry costs 7 Euros for the general public.

Book Hotels Near FITUR
Mad About Madrid HOtel Recommendations

Getting There
Metro: Line 8 Campo de Naciones
Buses: 112, 122 &  828

Madrid Card offers Reduced Rates for Christmas

I saw in the online newspaper ABC that Madrid Card has just released a special Madrid Card Navidad (Christmas) that only costs 20 Euros. The Madrid Card offers, amongst other things:

● Entry to over 40 museums (like the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofía)
Unlimited travel (Bus, Metro & Suburban Trains)
● Guided Tour of Hapsburg Madrid and
● Discounts in bars, restaurants and shows

These cards can either be bought online or at hotels and tourist offices. Here are the prices as displayed on the Madrid Card site:

The 1 day card: 28€.
The 2 day card: 42€ – 4€ discount when you buy it on the website.
The 3 day card: 55€. 5€ discount when you buy it on the website.

Though I’m not sure how ABC do their maths, it might be worth doing yours beforehand to see if it is worth the expense.
*Update* – El Mundo newspaper points out that the 20 Euro rate is for a 2-day pass.

360° Virtual Tours of Madrid

Palacio Real, from Madrid virtual.com

I came across a pretty cool website today, which offers visitors 360° virtual tours of some of Madrid’s most famous landmarks. Madrid Virtual have taken images of landmarks as famous as Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, Teatro Real, Plaza de Callao, the Almudena Cathedral and Puerto de Sol many more. You simply select the location you want and pan around or zoom in/out of an image.

The website was set up by 2 architects/photograhers/technofiles who share a passion for Madrid and who, long term, intend to take 360° tours of 171 locations that they have idenitifed. Their website can be viewed in both Spanish and English and it is possible to buy stunning images of the city in both CD-Rom or poster form.

SIMO TCI – IT, Consumer Electronics and E-business Fair opens 9th November in Madrid

SIMO TCI is Madrid’s annual ‘data processing, multimedia and communications’ fair and this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. The huge exhibition occupies 7 halls at the Juan Carlos I Exhibition Centre. Sectors include: Information Technology, Consumer Electronics, Professional Software, E-business & the Internet and Telecommunications and all the big names including Canon, Sony, Sagem, Microsoft and Apple will be there. The exhibition centre can be reached by both Metro and bus and ticket prices are 25 euros for a professional pass (for all days) or 10 euros for weekend entry.

Royal Wedding in Madrid

royal_picture

On the 22nd May the heir to the throne, Felipe of Borbón, will marry Letizia Ortiz, a journalist, in Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral. The city will be the host of the biggest Spanish Royal Wedding of the last century – the present king Juan Carlos got married in Greece – and royalty and dignitaries from all over the world will attend. Needless to say that much of central Madrid will be blocked off that day and you’ll have to arrive a day or two early to grab a pole position!! Here are websites that give you a complete overview of the wedding, their own personal details from venues, to food and even where they’ll live.

El Mundo
The Royal House
Telecinco
Terra
ABC

Metro Madrid Website – Review

Metro Madrid

Any visitor to Madrid should get to know and use the Madrid Metro. It covers virtually the whole city and every tourist destination can be reached by it. I have previously written an article, entitled Madrid – Metro and Bus Travel, so this should act as an update to that and provide supplementary information. The Madrid Metro website offers the English speaker the chance to view most information in English (see drop-down in upper right of Metro Website), though clicking on some will take you to pages where you will need to know a little Spanish.

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Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Madrid 2004

medinaceli.jpg

Like many parts of Spain, Madrid will see quite a few processions and church services to mark Easter. In Spain, both Holy Thursday and Good Friday of Holy Week are official holidays and it is typical to see processions from many churches, with religious statues being carried by local people. It is not unusual to see statues being carried by around 20 people (often situated underneath the platform on which the statue is placed). These statues will reside in the churches, often in side chapels for the rest of the year.

The statues will usually depict the various scenes leading up the crucifixion of Christ and drums and bands will accompany the statues. Madrid is no exception to this and you can see the processions all over the city from Thursday to Saturday – probably the best area to view procesions is in and around the Plaza Mayor. One of the strangest sights is to see people dressed up, in what many would term ‘Klu-Klux-Klan, robes – these, I believe, are often people who are looking for penitence.

In addition, some of the more well-know churches, like the Real Iglesia de San Ginés and San Jerónimo el Real will be holding requiems over this period. For a detailed itinerary, download the 2004 Easter Week pdf from the Madrid City council website.

Related Article
Easter Week in Madrid (2006)

Photographic Street Map

I just came across a neat site, from QDQ, which allows you to type in a Madrid address and building number and it will return an image of what that building looks like. So if you’re booking a hotel or hostal, a restaurant or even to rent a new flat, simply type in the address and the website will return an image of that building. If you want to test it out, take a look at the shops listed on the Shopping Archives section of this site.

Booksellers – English Bookshop

Booksellers has been around for at least 10 years and offers a lifeline to those English-speaking people who live in Madrid and want to buy books written in English – I´m sure it is also a great place for those travellers who wish to stock up on books. For those learning English the shop has a huge range of English language materials, from books to CD´s and DVD´s.

Address: c/ José Abascal, 48
Metro: Gregorio Marañón, lines 7 & 10

Maps of Madrid

By reviewing my stats, I have noticed that a number of people have requested a map of Madrid. Well, here are a couple of suggestions that should keep most people happy:

Multimap – simply select Spain from the drop-down list, wait for the page to refresh and then type in you street name if you know it and city name. If you want to start from a central location, type in “Puerta del Sol”. You can easily move up, down and across to find other locations.

Maporama follows the same principle.

If you want a Metro Map, then take a look at the Madrid Metro site.

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Internet Cafés in Madrid

Want to keep in touch whilst away? Feel the urge to add a new entry into your blog? Then, head off to one of the Internet cafés, which you’ll find dotted around Madrid. The one that I use most frequently is called Bbigg and is situated on c/Alcalá, just off the Puerta del Sol. It is a huge place with many, many machines and is very reasonably priced. It costs around 1.2 Euros for 40 minutes. Another good Internet "café" can be found at Gran Vía 30, more or less opposite Madrid Rock, and run by Telefónica – costs are 2 Euros/hour or 10 hours for 12 Euros. Just down the road from Telefónica, towards Plaza de España, the well-known Cafetería Zahara has an Internet area. One other place near Puerta del Sol is Portatil in Calle Tetuán, 3.