The following post was written on the morning of Friday 19 July 2013. Unable to be published previously due to lack of Internet connection.
At about 5.30 yesterday afternoon, Jean and I walked all the way down past the Royal Palace to a park called Parque de La Montaña, which was at least a half an hour's walk. We caught the Teleferico de Madrid, which is a chairlift. Off we 'flew', high above the roads, traffic, apartments, as well as the river Rio Manzanares below.
Soon, we were flying above the Casa de Campo, a massive parkland criss-crossed with tracks, and walking/bike trails. As Jean and I sat in the chairlift, we looked down on the sights, and back at the city of Madrid. We saw the Royal Palace and Cathedral on the right, and we could see that there was much more to the city, on the left, than the little bit of Madrid we were familiar with. Tall skyscrapers to the left formed part of the skyline, evoking curiosity.
After an 11-minute chairlift flight - we were keen by now for it to finish - we arrived at the other end. It seemed a remote spot, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by countryside fit for camping, with a mixed bag of pines and other trees. A cafe here offered telescopes for close-up views of Madrid in the distance. A theme park is here with rides for the young and not so young, also a zoo and aquarium. The cafe appeared to have packed away its food, so we just bought a drink. It looked like a nice place to bring either children or international visitors to Madrid.
We took the 11-minute flight back, which cost just 5.75 € each for a round trip, and found an outdoor restaurant near the park. This restaurant's water vapour cooling system was working on overdrive. We almost needed raincoats. The restaurant didn't have any paella, so we went elsewhere.