Saturday, December 31, 2011

Museums of Madrid

We are not big museum people, so we usually take a look at the museums a city has to offer and then choose a couple we would like to see. In our time here in Madrid we went to see the wax museum, air museum, naval museum and railway museum. There is a story around the air museum, but I'll leave that for later.

The museums here are generally good, with decent displays of the items that are hosted and many wow displays. The wax museum had figures from Spanish history and sport heros and movie stars. Leon and I took pictures with the likes of Brangelina, Johny Depp in pirates of the caribbean, and a famous cyclist. There was a horror train, which is probably a horror if you're young, but it was pretty amusing.

The railway museum is displayed in the old Spanish train station that boasts from the old to newer trains. There are some miniature train railways with actual trains chasing around and switching tracks. The guy who builds these obviously has a great passion for it and his control panel has almost as many buttons as an airplane cockpit.

The naval museum was mostly miniature boats demonstrating the real life replicas. I have a soft spot in my heart for these boats and would like to one day build my own, so it was fun walking around and looking at them. There were som real statues - those that usually go on the front of the boat - on display. Most of the museums here don't have the English translation for what is on display, which does make a museum a bit more boring since you don't find all the interesting facts you would usually read about. Most impressive of this museum were displays of iron pieces that were probably in/on the boats, and what kinds of damage torpedoes and canon balls can do to them. Again - I enjoy seeing things like this since as a child my parents would shoot with their hand weapons (on a shooting range) through telephone books to see how the bullets open up and start out as a small hole in the front of the book but ends up ripping the back of the book into pieces.

The air museum was definitely the most impressive, specially for my airplane loving husband who becomes like a little boy in a toy shop! There were from the first planes used in the army and for transport to newer planes. Many helicopters, from the first ones that had bodies similar to that of a plane to later modern ones. We saw the bullets and bombs that were used in the wars, and could even see the cockpit of the train. We would have probably spent hours here, but had a little under one hour since it took us two hours to find the museum. So the story...

We realized that morning after sleeping in again that the air museum is probably about half hour by train from Madrid. No problem, we hopped on the train, got off the closest metro and saw the airport grounds, easy, now we just need to find the museum. So we start walking, eventually all the way around the airport and still can't find the museum. We asked a guy busy working on his car for directions, and then a little bit later, still not finding it walked into a cafe to ask again. Turned out that we would still take another 20 mins to find the museum, and that would mean we only had half hour to browse. So we settled on getting home and trying again the next day, grumbling a bit about wasting the day. Low and behold on our way to the bus stop, the guy who was working on his car stops next to the road and waves us to get in the car and all the way there explains to us how grande the museum would be. We got to the museum an hour before they closed, so decided to see how far we get and then maybe come back the next day. We got through almost everything except the last set of helicopters, but the mechanic saved our day and it was not such a waste after all.

Something we did also stumble upon in our meandering around the airport was a couple of young boys who have built themselves a bmx track to practice around, who were busy practicing. They were pretty impressive and did some good jumps and stunts. It looked like there was an old man busy coaching them and teaching them the ropes. We also found a huge park with single track and jogging roads through the trees, beautiful for walks or just spending a chilled day (if it were summer). So even if we didn't find the museum on that day, we did find some more nice things just outside of Madrid.

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