Friday, January 6, 2012

Atocha Station

Atocha is cloaked partly in scaffolding right now, unfortunately, and what I imagine would ordinarily be a lovely approach to the station from a grand plaza is all shuttered all with stupid walls and construction crapola.  Oh well. 

The inside of the station is magnificent!  We didn't get "down" to this end of the Paseo del Prado to see Atocha Station when we were last here in October, 2002, but the McDonalds we have taken to visiting during this trip is just a few crosswalks away.  We made a point of getting to it yesterday (January 5) early in the day.

There is an exhibition going on right now on the "ground floor" of the station.  It is a huge open space,
with steel (?) structure and brick, magnificently tiled roofs and large windows.  It's a beautiful space.  In the following photographs, I'll try to give you a feeling for the grandeur, grace and size of the space!

Much of the first floor under what I believe to be the "original" structure is filled with plants from a tropical rain forest.  It is warm and damp!  Mist fills the air!  You look up, up and up and way overhead is a narrow strip of sky.  There are four escalators/people movers that take you from the ground floor below to the "top" floor above which opens into a parking structure.  People are everywhere, hurrying this way and that or poking around (like Mr. Don and I were), taking photos and pointing and going "oooooh" and "aaaahhhh."  These, we know, are tourists :)

Look!  It really is a train station!  These are arrival and depature times.  Sorry for the not very clear shot, I'm not the best photographer.  Beyond those glass doors is a shopping mall, by the way, ladies.  In there (at Mr. Don's suggestion) is where I found an electronics place that was able to get me the PROPER current converter to use with my trusty little Acer notebook so it would not burn out using the hot Madrid current.  Just wait until I get back home to the downtown OfficeMax and that kid who told me the converter he sold me for about $25 was just what I needed to use with my computer.  I told him then - I really really did - that if he was wrong and it didn't work I was going to come back and punch him in the nose.  Guess what, dude.  You've got one really really angry old bitch coming after you when I get back to Milwaukee...

I paid a premium price (of course) for what I needed here in Madrid at that particular shop - 49.50 euros - you can figure out what that is in U.S. dollars given the exchange rate of about $1.30.  I could not take the chance that we would stumble upon another electronics store that would have what I needed or that I could find what I needed for any less cost.  DAMN DAMN DAMN!

I no longer have the hard plastic casing for the WRONG thing that the soon-to-be-punched-out young man sold me at OfficeMax, but I will have my credit card charge for it and I'm itching to get back to downtown Milwaukee just to teach that young man that some women DO keep their word.  I'm already seeing red, just thinking about the prospect of breaking his nose...

Do you see them - four layers of escalators/people movers?

I think my favorite part of the entire station are the birds!  They are flying about here and there, and while I could not actually SEE any nests, I figured they must be nesting in there, because I heared a LOT of birds -- mostly sparrows, but there were some pigeons flying around too.  I think the sparrows have nests either inside or behind some of the brick work, and tucked up in those metals "eaves" for sure. Watch out below...

The scene on the "ground" floor after getting off the fourth escalator/people mover!  WOW!
That's a wine bar directly below.  I would have stopped but it was before 11 a.m., even though there were some customers already...

Video by Mr. Don.  The photos above are mine. 

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