52 members of U3A Marina Baixa set off on a 5-day trip to Madrid recently.
En route, the group stopped for breakfast and then visited the town of Aranjuez with its Royal Palace and ornate gardens. The town was designed to be a green and peaceful haven for the people of Madrid and its magnificent parks and tree-lined boulevards stood testament to this.
After lunch, their journey took them to Spain’s capital city and a 4-star hotel close to the Royal Palace – ideally situated for walking into the city or for taking the bus or metro.
The next day, the group were taken on a coach tour of Madrid thanks to their driver Juan Carlos.His knowledge of the city enabled a fruitful morning of sightseeing – the Royal Palace, the Prado museum, Plaza de Espana, Real Madrid Stadium and numerous Renaissance style buildings towering above the city.
They then had the afternoon free to explore on foot the magnificent plazas or take a cable car ride to view the city from above.
The following day, a drive through the Valley of the Fallen where Franco’s tomb and memorial to all those who lost their lives in the Civil War was enjoyed by all. The monument, an enormous cross, said to be the largest in the world standing 150m above its plinth is set in the beautiful countryside of the Sierra de Guadarrama.
The group then visited the town of Avila, before spending the afternoon in San Lorenzo de Escorial.
The penultimate day was spent in Toledo, one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments, known as the “city of the three cultures”, because Arabs, Christians and Jews lived together there for centuries although the Jews were finally driven out of the city. It is the capital of the Castile-La Mancha region and has been declared a World Heritage site.
The group then returned to Madrid mid-afternoon allowing time for a further exploration of the city before their departure the following day.
Before leaving on the last day, a visit to Chinchon, a small quaint town just an hour away from Madrid, provided the group with an opportunity to see local artisans at work and to purchase souvenirs to take home.
Members express their greatest thanks to Group Organiser Rob and his wife Liz and of course Juan Carlos from Premier for a safe and comfortable trip.
If you have not heard of the association and would like to join, please visit www.u3amarinabaixa.com or find them on Facebook for more information. If you do not have internet access, please contact the secretary, Joan Flint on 965 861 226 / 663 637 167.