Tag Archives: autobus

The Bear and the Strawberry Tree – Symbol of Madrid

Position yourself on the sidewalk in front of the Ministry of Interior, the massive edifice with the clock tower, and you could hardly spot the statue from where it stands. Its height of 14 feet is not enough to be conspicuous from such a distance.

Still, you know that it’s there, its location being one of the most crowded in the whole area, an indication of its immense popularity.

Come closer, and behold, a bear nuzzles up a strawberry tree. The latter seems to be receptive of its amiable gesture. Such is an attractive sight, and an easy tourist draw of the plaza.

The Bear and the Strawberry Tree Statue, known among locals as “El Oso y El Madrono,” is a highly revered symbol of Spain’s capital, and one of the must-see attractions of Madrid.

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The popular figure is found in Madrid’s historical plaza, the Puerta del Sol. If you want to see it sans the large crowd, try to visit the plaza at around 1 or 2PM.

Go through Calle Alcala or Calle San Jeronimo (coming from Cibeles, Plaza de Independencia, and Sevilla), or exit the Vodafone Sol Metro station via the Alcala access gate, and you’ll immediately encounter the monument. As you go near it, certainly you can feel its imposing presence.

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The Bear and Strawberry tree statue provides cool shade on a sunny day, which is why people love to gather around and even sit beside it to rest, with their backs pressed against its stone base.

A handsome bronze-and-stone creation of prominent Spanish sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafe, it was inaugurated in 1967. Quickly enough, Madridenos embrace it as a prime representation of their beloved city.

Indeed, the monument is a top reason why everyone wants to visit Puerta del Sol. It has become a meeting place of sorts, with tourists making it a starting point of their tour of the plaza.

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Take an electric bike ride from any point in the city and park at Sol’s own bicycle station, located a few meters away from the statue.

A visit of Sol, of course, is not complete without a photo of the monument. However, it looks like all want to have their picture taken with the famous bear and tree, so one must be ready to wait for his turn.
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The statue glistens on a rainy night

Some want to immediately scour the plaza for its surrounding commercial establishments, which are a slew and all more than willing to cater to various whims.

Still, many others rare to see the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, and would rather visit it first. Effortlessly, it attracts people to its fold, especially those who want to experience its historical importance.

How to reach: Visit to the monument is easy, as a number of EMT buses start and end, or pass within or near the plaza itself such as 51, 5, and 150. If you are coming from Glorietta de Embajadores, Tirso de Molina, and Plaza de Cascorro, the EMT minibus M1 will take you to the plaza. A stone’s throw away is Metro Station, Vodafone Sol. Reach it after just a few minutes of leisure walking from Tribunal, Callao, and Gran Via.

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EMT Autobus 51 offers a convenient ride, with its final stop (ultima parada) located near the monument.

Puerta Europa [Gate of Europe] of Plaza de Castilla – A Stunning Madrid Attraction

imageIf you are within the northern part of Madrid, you might want to tour and explore the area, wondering what Madrid attraction might be there to marvel at.

Just pass by the roundabout where Paseo de Castellana and Bravo Murillo meet, or take a Madrid Metro ride at the Plaza de Castilla subway station, surely you will not the two leaning buildings or towers that stand on the opposite sides of the sprawling metro and autu bus station — they are collectively known as the Puerta Europa or the Gate of Europe. If only because of the unique stance of these skyscrapers, tilted at a 15-degree angle, they deserve to be considered as major icons of the city.
imageEnjoying major attention from the tourists visiting the Gate of Europe is the Calvo Soleto Monument, which faces away from the towers and looks into the Paseo de Castellana

Formerly known as the Torres KIO, (KIO stands for Kuwait Investment Office), its current name is the Gate of Europe or Puerta Europa. Today these impressive 115-meter tall buildings located at this quiet part residential-part business (judicial) part of the city is the property of two major banking institutions of Spain – Bankia and Realia. In fact, you will be able to find the names of these two banks shining brightly on the top part of the buildings come evening tim.

imageEstacion de Plaza Castilla. I frequent this Madrid Metro Station, not only because it houses 3 important lineas that bring me to various destination, Lines 1, 9, and 10, but also because it serves as the stop to Autobus 27, the bus that ride whenever I go to Lavapies and Embajadores.  At the far left of the photo is the Caja Madrid Obelisk

These twin buildings have the bragging rights for being the first inclined or leaning buildings in the world. Its creators were architects from the US, John Burgee and Philip Johnson; these talented American duo were commissioned by the Kuwaiti Investment office to design the towers. Without, the Plaza de Castilla and its surroundings were never the same again after the towers, the KIO Towers, opened for business in 1996.

Also in the plaza, in the midst of the roundabout, is the Obelisk. It is a slender yellow-colored metallic structure that never fails to get the attention of many passers-by. Its official name is Caja Madrid obelisk, so-called because its construction is funded by the popular Madrid bank of the same name. Anyone can notice that this beautiful creation by Constantin Brancusi fully complements the overwhelming presence of the Puerta Europa.

Within walking distance is another popular set of buildings — the Cuatro Torres (Four Towers) — located in the nearby Business area.

imageCalvo Sotelo Monument – another awesome Madrid attraction within the Plaza de Castilla area
imageJust across the Realia Building, located along Mateo Inurria, is the Fundacion Canal or Canal de Isabel II. This is the service agency that ensures the provision of the water supply in order to meet the city’s requirements. It is under the ownership and management of the the Madrid Government.

How to go:

Take the Metro Metro Station lines 1, 9 and 10, and get off at Plaza de Castilla metro station. The plaza station also serves as the parada to a number of auto bus lines such as 27, 149, 173, 174, and 176.

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