When I travelled to Spain with my mom, we spent the first day together and then my mom had meetings for a few days. So, for the first few days I explored the city of Madrid alone. I became familiar with the bus and subway system quickly, as well as a few small restaurants where I'd stop to eat lunch near the central part of the city where the museums and a few other attractions were.
Banco de Espana
Within a day or so I was walking to and from where we were staying to the area of the Plaza de Cibeles. This was an hour or more of travel time to and from our accommodations, but it was a great way to begin and end my days in Madrid. The plaza was a great landmark for me. I always knew that I was in the right place and if I got turned around it was a great reference point.
This building had interesting metal work
on the front that looked like birds.
The plaza has a number of buildings that are beautiful. One is the Palacio de Communicaciones, which was once the post office and is now Madrid's city hall. this building has both Gothica and Renaissance architectural features and it was built between 1904 and 1917.
Another building in the plaza is the Banco de Espana. This building was begun in 1884 with many expansions over the years, including one in 1975. This building is ornate and beautiful.
This other building (left) was also on a corner of the plaza. I have not been able to find out what it was called.
Fuente de Cibeles (Cibeles Fountain)
The Cibeles Fountain is named after the roman goddess of nature. She is in the chariot of the sculpture. There are two lions pulling the chariot. I never saw this, but when the Real Madrid Football Club wins a game, people in the city gather at the plaza to celebrate. I wonder how busy that the plaza was after the World Cup win? I bet it was a big party!