For this weekend I met up with a fellow SU friend and spent all of Friday and Saturday discovering Spain’s Capitol – Madrid.
Before embarking on my trip my host father made sure to tell me the best places to see. I took up on his suggestions especially because Madrid is his birth place. Although I’ve never been to Madrid beforehand, I thought it wasn’t going to be any different from my experience in Barcelona. Well, I was wrong.
I actually really loved Madrid from the moment I sat in the Renfe Ave train going towards Madrid, which by the way was the best mode of transportation I’ve taken. The Renfe Ave is Spain’s high-speed rail line which runs at speeds of up to almost 200mph. When I traveled on it, I just fell in the love with how fast it arrived to Madrid (2 hours), how quiet it was, and of course the LEG ROOM! I say this because when I traveled to Barcelona in the regular Renfe train, the seats were really close to each other, and I couldn’t stretch my legs out from my seat for 4 hours unless I stood up. That experience was horrible so from then on my comfort and physical health comes first when I decide to travel even if it means spending a few more bucks.
When I got there, I checked into a hostel for the first time. I was really nervous because I would be sleeping in a room with a total of 7 strangers, both men and women. Overall the experience was great, I didn’t spend much time in the room except to sleep at night. It was a clean and friendly place and the people in my room were quiet during the night which was extra nice. They were all from different parts of the world like Russia, Canada, India and Latin America which was cool because we all came to the city for the same reason – to explore the Madrid!
Throughout my weekend, I was able to see almost all the popular plazas of the city from Puerta del Sol to Plaza Mayor. Each plaza provided a different atmosphere for example, the sizes of each varied, the stores, vendors and restaurants surrounding it all differed in a way. But the amount of people walking around in each plaza was the same in each of them, it almost reminded me of NYC. There were so many people roaming the streets which made it hard to move around. With the weather being windy, cold and wet, it was surprising to see so many people out and about.
(Puerta del Sol)
(Plaza de Cibeles)
(Plaza de Oriente)
If I had to pick my favorite plaza it would definitely be Plaza Mayor, because I learned about it in my high school days. In all honesty, this plaza was the prettiest of them all with four connecting orange walls filled with restaurants, music and vendors.
Aside the many plaza, Madrid is also known for holding great pieces of art by very famous artists like Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Monet, etc. So, I decided to visit Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum because it was the closest one to the hostel and they also had a student discount.
I really enjoyed my time there because it wasn’t crowded by many tourists, and there were many collections to look at. I was even able to distinguish which works of art were from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Realism from previous museum trips I took earlier this semester.
Here are some of the paintings I’ve seen.
On Saturday, I was a able to relax more since my friend and I have already seen a lot of Madrid the day before. One of the things we did do on Saturday was go to the market. If you ever visit Madrid I think you should have El Mercado de San Miguel as a spot to visit. The food they sell is not only aesthetically pleasing but delicious too.
And one of last places I visited was of course the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. And if I’m not mistaken, they only go to the palace for special ceremonies. From the outside, it was of course beautiful to look at and the cloudy gray weather made it look majestic. My friend and I did plan to see it inside but the lines were ridiculous. So we just went for pictures.
Just like that, my trip came to and end. I explored Madrid by foot for two days in harsh weather but it was fun. It definitely showed me the busier side of Spain, with all the people and traffic. I wouldn’t mind revisiting.