Journals From Madrid: the 4th and final blog post from Europe in Madrid, Spain.
This blog post is a set of four blog posts titled “Journals From…” geared to give you a little taste of my time in Europe. Some information in the post below was taken from my real-life diary.
The third post can be found here; http://bit.ly/1KlBhOi
After trains, planes, boats and some wicked subway rides, I’m about finished with my European exploration. (Cue sad face) 😦
As I’m writing this journal, I’m listening to Spanish music and reading a Magazine about Barcelona. It’s about a 2 hour train ride to Madrid from Barcelona and we’re about half way in. The magazine below shows how vibrant and colorful Spain is. The accompanying view is beautiful, although extremely hard to capture on camera.
After the ride, we’ve arrived in Madrid! And, it’s awesome. My first impression is that it feels like a cross between Paris and Barcelona; modern buildings, rich culture and the occasional famed monument. The people here speak Spanish only and not the language of Catalan/Castilian as they did in Barcelona.
After we got to Madrid and settled in our hotel, we headed to the Museo del Prado. I stayed and enjoyed the magnitude of artwork for a couple of hours and then purchased coffee afterwards.
The Prado was huge. It’s easy to get lost; much like the Louvre in Paris. The Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, housing the art work of Velazquez, Goya, El Greco and probably the artist I found most interesting… Bosch.
This is the San Jerónimo el Real Church adjacent the Museum. It’s stunningly beautiful in person and in photo. Dear future husband… wedding here and a party in the gardens afterwards? 😉
Barb, who I had mentioned a little in my past blog post (who I ate dinner in Barcelona with), and I went to the Madrid Botanical Gardens just down the road from the Prado and it was beautiful (it was 1 Euro 50 for a student).
Afterwards, we all had dinner as a group; Mediterranean salad, duck and potatoes with a Chocolate moose cake for dessert. I ate pretty much all of it and it was muy delicioso. We were on the top floor of the restaurant and when we were finished we got to listen in on an opera performance that was going on downstairs.
After we had dinner we went on a guided rooftop tour of Madrid.
We had drinks at a little rooftop restaurant called The Secret Garden, went on the tippy top of a central mall and then ended on a rooftop club.
This is the Secret Garden rooftop. Very peaceful and a lovely place for a drink.
It ended up being so cold on top the “club” building that the owner gave us free drinks; a special cocktail. It was very coconut-y. But still, the view from the top was astounding.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first night in Madrid. ❤
Today is our last full day in Madrid and the end of my adventure.
We had breakfast in the morning and then we were on our way for a panoramic sightseeing tour of Madrid. We got to see the Egyptian Temple, similar to the one at the New York One Met Museum, and a bull fighting arena along the way.
Then we went to the Royal Palace of Madrid or The Palacio Real de Madrid where we weren’t allowed to take many photos. I shot a couple good ones along the way, though.
The palace was massive and extraordinary. We learned a lot about the history and culture of Spain and Madrid in specific. The royal family no longer lives in this palace, as it is open to the public, but they do visit occasionally when welcoming guests of other countries, having large dinner parties or for the coronation of a new King.
After the 2 hour visit, I headed on my own to find Casa del Libro, a well-known Spanish book store. Along the way, I tested my Spanish speaking skills talking to natives and store owners. I bought a bilingual book and a Julio Cortázar book for David.
After, I traveled back to the hotel by myself. It was about a 25 minute walk. Note to self: try not to travel alone by yourself nearing night in a foreign country (it wasn’t the best of my ideas, but hey, I’m still here, right?)
After a small lunch, I went to the Sophia Reina museum adjacent to my hotel. I got to see the very famous Picasso painting “La Guernica.” The painting was much larger than I imagined and it’s meaning could be picked at and debated over for months; war, death, hope… We couldn’t take photos of Picasso’s work, but I got to snap a few of Dali’s.
I entered the museum for free because it was the last couple hours of the day (they do this most weekdays, so make sure you check!)
When I finished looking at Dali, Picasso and the likes I headed off to my first Flamenco dancing show in downtown Madrid. We took the subway and emerged into the nightlife.
Typically, the night doesn’t start until later on because it gets so hot in Spain. People eat dinner around 10 p.m. and then go and have drinks and party until 2:00 a.m or 3:00 a.m. in the morning. We went to Flamenco around 10:30 p.m. at night and were given 2 glasses of wine for drinks during the show.
The night ended on a high note (literally) and we took a short subway ride back to our hotel. Tomorrow we wake up and start our long journey back to the States.
Adios, Madrid. Buenos noches y gracias para tu amor…