Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Madrid Skyline Part I - from Círculo de Bellas Artes

I snapped the above pic from the car recently, as I thought the colours of the sky looked quite pretty. Then I did some contrasting to create the silhouette effect and the result is this, disappointingly 'flat'. It did however, inspire me to go search for a good spot to capture the 'Madrid Skyline'...

Last weekend, still with that inspiration in mind, I wanted to find a place to take some pictures, chill out, have a coffee, read a book...and I thought of the ideal place in the heart of Madrid - the Círculo de Bellas Artes (CBA) building.

The Círculo de Bellas Artes, or The Circle of Fine Arts building is an art house located at the meeting point of two important arteries of Madrid, Calle de Alcala and Gran Via. Back in the early 20th century, this classical building was an icon that stood out in the urban landscape of Madrid and was a representation of the the city's cultural lifestyle present during those days. It continues to be used today for various artistic exhibitions/performances, and as a venue for corporate events.

What's interesting about CBA is that with a 2 euros ticket purchased from the lobby, you can access the roof top of the building for a fantastic view of the city! What's more, you can get closer to the huge statue of the Goddess Minerva on top of the building which you usually only marvel at from the ground looking up.
You take the lift from the ground level all the way up to the 7th floor (not very high at all). And here we are...

Pretty neat views from a 7th storey height. However you kinda get a feel of how flat Madrid is. So if you're thinking of capturing a prominent silhouette of a building / structure à la Eiffel Tower in Paris or The Big Ben in London, that'll be a 'tall' order. Most buildings in the heart of the city are not even 10 storeys high, except for the Cuatro Torres (the cluster of towers visible at the far end of the above pic, which I will talk about in another post).

Back down on the ground floor, there is 'La Pecera', a restaurant with huge glass windows (perhaps that's why the locals refer to this place as 'The Fishtank'). Its decor is rather ornate, with heavy wooden furniture, tall pillars and warm lightings from crystal chandeliers suspended from high, painted ceilings.
For a more casual option, you can also choose to enjoy a drink alfresco (which will cost you more!) and people-watch on one of the most interesting streets in the city.

And so this was when I kept the camera, ordered a coffee (and an ice-cream) and took my book out. Just another lazy Saturday afternoon in Madrid...


  1. miss Madrid...miss the world's best steak...miss the world's best briyani hahaha


  2. ha..About the steak, we found another one just a few streets from my apartment..I shall have a blog post on that soon. And about the briyani, they changed the regular chap who picks up the phone orders!! He doesn't understand our "call to order, car pulls up outside restaurant, honk and receives the package" routine!!!


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