On my way driving from Cuenca (east of Madrid) to Toledo (south of Madrid) I stopped in Aranjuez, which was quite a disappointing experience.
Unlike most other cities / villages, this one did not have clear signs directing you to a parking lot. I drove in circles for 20 minutes until I found a parking lot 1 km / a 15 minute walk outside the center.
What I had seen of the center during all those circles, was not very tempting but I decided to give it a go anyway, and I wanted to have lunch. I walked for 10 minutes looking for a specific vegetarian restaurant, only to discover it was now a pharmacy… 😦
I went to the indoor market that I had seen along the way, only to discover that they were closing up for the day… 😦
Using the tourist map I had collected at the tourist info office, I went to have a look at some palace, only to discover that it was dilapidated and the building now for sale… 😦
I decided to take a walk through the park, only to discover that it was closed because a storm had loosened lots of branches and they were working on making it safer.
I had a look at some restaurants, but they were very expensive and not very cozy-looking.
So by that time my impression of Aranjuez was quite negative!
Rather desperately I wandered around looking for a not-so-terrible place to eat and stumbled upon a fast-food type of place which actually served a nice gazpacho soup, salad with fried fish and desert, three courses for only €7.50. The lady was very friendly, it made up for the disappointing time in Aranjuez.
After lunch I had another little stroll around and saw a nice big garden. But pretty soon I walked to my car and drove to Toledo. Goodbye Aranjuez!