WALKING TOURS – CALENDAR
Walks in COVID-times. Now well into our New Normal but also into a second wave, getting together is complicated. BUT at the same time, getting together outdoors is better than indoors, and the limit on group size is less of an issue for walks than for other activities.
So after a 2019 waaaaaay too busy for city walks – SEVEN group Camino trips! – and spring 2020 in lockdown, ready to give it a try.
Only thing is, as of September 21,2020 the entire province of Madrid is limited to six-person groups (not ten). Theoretically that is for two weeks, though might be extended.
Other thing is, some of the fave walks from the past may have to wait, since small stores are limiting number of people inside, so the Old Shops and even the Foodie walks might have to wait – or be done in a somewhat different way. And double dang, I had plans for cheese and oil tastings, that will have to wait for sure. They would be very expensive for small groups.
But let’s get started anyway! In addition to the cultural walks in the city and city parks, if there is enough interest, we can look at walks outside Madrid or walks on the walking-biking Green Ring, a really good option if you need to stretch your legs but don’t want to leave the city.
This schedule is pretty firm, though I want to triple check some things since our not-friend Madame Corona may have closed some landmark bars, for example.
October 1 (Thursday): Civil War in the Casa de Campo (park walk). Madrid’s huge park was front lines during the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939): the city remained loyal to the Republic, but Franco’s troops were right at the back door for most of that time. Introduction to a complicated time in Spain’s history, on-site visit to remains of the battlefield (trenches and gunner pits); also an orientation walk for the Casa de Campo – check out the spider web jungle-gym, views of the city, bike appropriate paths and good cafés around the lake. A great getaway without leaving the city. Meet: at a park cafe near the lake, 10AM, end same place around 1.30pm. Metro Lago. Option after: walk to nearby metro Principe Pio or a bit on Madrid Rio park. Price: 15 euros / person
October 7 (Wednesday): Green-Ring bike track-1 Madrid has a 64 kilometer biking-walking ring-road around the outside of the city, roughly parallel to the M40 in most parts. It is paved, signed with kilometer markers and with designated walking / biking lanes, has occasional rest places with benches and water, access to metro stops and a few branches into center city or into the countryside. The kilometer markers start in the north more or less at the A1 highway, but to make it more fun and hills more favorable, we’ll walk counter-clockwise: this is true, promise, hills do exist but easier in this direction! Our first segment starts at Principe Pio and goes through the Casa de Campo park to Aluche. In the Casa de Campo we’ll use my alternative route, much prettier than the bike track, though I’ll show you where it is. Distance this segment is about 10kms (near PK 44 to near PK 35 on linked map). Strong walkers who want more: we can return to Madrid Rio through a series of parks, with great views of the city. Meet: 10.00 am near metro Principe Pio (need to see what coffee shops are open!), end around 1.30 pm at Aluche metro. Price: free for members of INC, AWC, spouses, 5 euros for anyone else. Info on the bike track (map at end) https://www.madrid.es/UnidadesDescentralizadas/UDCMovilidadTransportes/BICI/OficinaBici/02enBici/01itinerariosCiclistas/02anilloVerde/ficheros/FolletoAnilliVerde.pdf
October 14 (Wednesday): Wall Walk: Discover old Madrid and learn about early history while walking around the perimeter of Madrid’s 12th century wall, with a peek at the 9th century wall. Not much of either wall remains, but this is a great way to discover streets and squares you might not find on your own. You’ll want to return many times with friends and family. Meet: 10.00AM at near metro Opera, end Plaza Mayor – Opera around 1.30pm. Price: 15 euros / person
October 22: to be determined. How do you all feel about taking a bus outside the city? there’s a wonderful rail-trail southeast of the city, but it is a linear route so we need to use buses. Info on that rail trail in following link. We would do Ambite – Tielmes or Perales, anyone wanting a shorter version can end in Carabaña. http://www.viasverdes.com/itinerarios/itinerario.asp?id=84 Since it more or less follows a river, quite pretty in the fall with poplars turning yellow. Other option would be second segment of the Green-Ring.
November 4 (Wednesday): El Pardo: El Pardo is a smallish town northwest of the city, surrounded by a huge wild area with deer, wild boar and other animals. Most of that wild area is restricted, only about 5% accessible for walkers, but it’s a good place to get out of the city without going too far away. We’ll do a pretty circular walk from town along the young Manzanares river, north on one side, south on the other side. About 5-6 kilometers /3-4 miles, mostly good footing. Strong walkers can continue back towards Madrid, about 12 kilometers / from El Pardo to Ciudad Universitaria metro stop, mostly good footing though some trail. Meet: in El Pardo at 10.30AM, walking time is about 2 hours but think more like 3 hours as we will want to dawdle along the way. Walking back to the city takes about 4 hours, less with strong walkers, various bus stops along the way. Getting there: El Pardo has easy access by car, though parking might be a challenge. Bus 601 (green inter-urban bus) from Moncloa takes about 25 minutes. Price: 15 euros / person
November 11 (Wednesday): to be determined. Probably another part of the green-ring, before weather gets too chilly.
November 19 (Thursday): Meet Madrid’s Markets: Discovery tour hitting four of Madrid’s traditional neighborhood markets. All are different: different construction period, different neighborhood makeup, and different sizes. We’ll check out who’s selling and who’s buying, as well as what’s for sale. This tour does not use the well-known Paz or San Antón markets, but rather true neighborhood markets. We’ll end at one of the biggest and best, hopefully in time to do some shopping. Meet: 10am, to be determined, need to verify open cafeterias and markets. End: near Cuatro Caminos metro about 1.30pm Price: 15 euros. NOTE. participants will need three rides on their metro pass as we will use subway to transfer between markets.
Thinking ahead: come walk the Camino! That’s Spain’s medieval pilgrimage route across north-central Spain. We’ll do the last part, just over 100 kms / 63 miles in a relaxed seven days. Well, relaxed, yes, it is a walking trip and yes, there is one long day in the mix. But: trip includes all hotels, all breakfasts, all dinners but one, support vehicle with the group during the day for luggage or tired pilgrims (you can do it, but knowing the van is there is a great psychological boost, especially if you have never done a multi-day walk), experienced guide (I’ve done this more than 20 times, closer to 30), history, trivia, best places for lunch and what’s best at best places – Avelina’s lentils or spinach-garbanzo stew, brie and caramelized onion sandwich in Santiago, oh yeah! Get more info at http://www.apinderinspain.com/road-of-st-james-el-camino
City Walks: usually 10AM – 2PM. // Country Walks: please ask as times vary.
COVID-time Groups: for now (early fall 2020): minimum 3 / maximum 5 people for most walks. When current restrictions are lifted: minimum 4 / maximum 9 people. If we ever get back to true normal: maximum is 10 people. Spouses and friends welcome, see prices below.
SIGNUP: Required for all walks, preferably at least 48 hours ahead for city walks and 72 hours for country walks, farther ahead is better. Visitors (not local residents, guests of INC / AWC / US Embassy): signup in last seven days prior to the walk, maximum four people per group. Please email Anne at anne.expattrips (at) yahoo.es
PRICES CULTURAL WALKS: Members of International Newcomers Club (INC), American Women’s Club (AWC), workers at USA Embassy and US military, plus their spouses, parents and children: 15 euros / person. Everyone else: 19 euros / person.
PRICES COUNTRY WALKS: Maybe less, still thinking about this, used to be 15 euros but since these walks have less content, might be lower price.
WHAT TO TAKE / WEAR: footwear: none of the walking routes need boots, unless you have serious feet / ankle issues. For country / semi-country walks a sturdy sport shoe that ties or buckles over the instep is fine. City walks: comfy shoes, strongly suggest no narrow heels as Madrid pavement very irregular. other: For country/semi-country walks please carry small backpack or shoulderbag with a bottle of water, a snack, a light jacket and something for rain unless sun is brilliant (even then……). For all walks: depending on season, fuzzy hat and gloves in winter, sunhat and sunglasses in the spring and fall. (just be sensible and yes, you can say “yes, mommy”.
As always, you have a semi-formed group (at least four people) get in touch and maybe we can add a few people and do any of the city or country walks – mouseover MADRID in menu at top to see drop-down menu with lists of most popular city and country walks.