Tuesday 21 July 2009

High Wire Act

By Richard Morley.

It’s not just San Francisco that has little cable cars climbing halfway to the stars. If you are looking for an alternative city in which to leave your heart, Madrid has them too.

I mentioned a few posts about the Teleferico, Madrid’s cable car ride. What I didn’t realise then was that the 26th of June this year was the fortieth anniversary of its opening.

Normally cable cars are associated with ski resorts where they are used to take you high up a mountain side. In Madrid it will take you around three kilometres out of the city. In a journey taking around eleven minutes you will cross the valley of the mighty Manzanares River, the M30 motorway and float over the tree tops to the centre of Madrid’s largest park, The Casa de Campo. This park was once the hunting estate for kings. Since May Day 1931 the 1700 hectares has been open to all. It’s a great place for a picnic if you watch where you sit. People walk their dogs and don’t clean up. Worse, the world’s oldest profession is conducted here and discarded condoms are unpleasant. However, it’s a huge park. You can walk or cycle for miles. From the brow of the hill you will see Madrid laid out before you. It is a grand sight and must have been so tantalising for the nationalist troops during the Battle of Madrid. So close, yet far. The front line was drawn through the park and there is still evidence of military activity today. Once you could drive, but they closed the roads to deter clients driving in to pick up the girls. Now you can take the Teleferico. The terminal in the centre of the park houses a restaurant which does and adequate and inexpensive Menu del Dia. Or just sit with a beer and pick out familiar Madrid landmarks on the horizon. The Teleferico has 80 cars. More than 10,000,000 journeys have been made since its opening. During one day in 2003 over 6500 people rode the cable car. To find the Teleferico you will need to take the metro to Arguelles and descend the Calle del Marqués de Urquijo. Alternatively a number 74 bus will take you directly to the Paseo del Pintor Rosales. It is not open in the mornings.

1 comment:

  1. Richard: I have added the Teleferico to my list of things to do in Madrid on my next visit. Thanks for letting us all know about it.