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And we’ve started the fam blogtrip! I admit that I was a little nervous to be the only Spanish participant, and also the only blind person. The other members of the blogtrip have different physical disabilities, and come from countries like England, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Austria and Australia. Together with them and members of Predif, accessibleMadrid and Madrid Destino, we have embarked on the adventure of discovering how accessible the community of Madrid is.
We are staying at the Ilunion Alcalá Norte hotel, located at calle San Romualdo 30. It is a very nice 4* hotel, with rooms adapted for people with reduced mobility. There are also signs in Braille and in relief on elevators and to indicate the room numbers. The service is very attentive. For example, when I asked for help at breakfast, which was a buffet, I was very well attended.
After breakfast, around 9 o’clock, we got on the bus that was waiting for us and started the tour, which today is through Madrid city.
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Visit to Madrid City
We arrived at the Tourism Office of the Plaza Mayor, located at Plaza Mayor 27, This is an accessible office, with counters at different heights, and paths marked with both LEDs and different textures to indicate the different counters. There is also information in Braille and through a QR code in the form of a raised map created by Puntodis.
After being welcomed by people from the Madrid City Council in the office, we started the guided tour with Sean, who started to tell us the history of the Plaza Mayor and how it was founded.
As it could not be otherwise, we have had a “relaxing cafe con leche in the Plaza Mayor”, for those who wanted it, and for others, a delicious hot chocolate with churros to combat the cold. When we finished, we continued the guided tour, visiting the Madrid of the Austrias, passing by the royal palace, the cathedral of the Almudena, la Puerta del sol with its kilometer 0, until arriving at the restaurant.
For lunch we stopped at the Bellini Food&bar inside the Vinci Centrum Hotel, located at Calle de Cedaceros 4. The food was fantastic: a salad of red lentils with vegetable brunoiçe and seasoned with cilantro, lime and some curry; a second course of melt-in-your-mouth veal cheeks (carrillera) accompanied by mashed potatoes and cherry tomatoes; and a fruit salad for dessert.
Visiting Museo del Prado
In the afternoon, we visited the Prado Museum in Paseo del Prado s/n.
We enjoyed some of its most representative works, such as the Garden of Delights by El Bosco; different paintings by El Greco such as Man with his hand on his Chest; The Three Graces by Rubens, the Meninas by the great Velázquez; or the Majas vestida y desnuda by Goya. After this brief guided tour, we entered a conference room where the museum’s director of accessibility spoke to us about the different programs offered for autistic people; sign language guides for deaf people, with explanations of more than 50 works; audio guides for blind people with descriptions of 56 works; and the travelling exhibition of El Prado with six adapted works, along with other programs.
Unfortunately, the travelling exhibition is not currently in the Museum, as it would have been extremely interesting to be able to touch these reproductions. Without being able to touch them, and although the explanations of the works and the guided tour have been very useful, I have learned little from them, and it is difficult for a blind person to imagine a painting.
A short tour by bus
After the visit to El Prado, we had a short tour with the same guide from the museum, but this time by bus, to observe the Christmas lighting of the city and continue learning a little more about it. We got to visit one of its richest areas, the neighborhood of Salamanca; the financial district; and the Reina Sofia Museum, where we finished the tour.
In the most modern building of the Reina Sofia Museum, , in the Nubel restaurant located in Calle Argumosa 43, Museo Reina Sofía, we had a drink and had dinner with a pleasant surprise. The menu had a QR code, again thanks to Puntodis and its application Chefs Voice, and I was able to access the menu that has been a tasting menu and also very delicious.
At about 11 p.m. we arrived at the hotel to recharge our batteries for the next day.¡Síguenos y no te pierdas nada!