I’ll start off my saying that I absolutely love Madrid!!! There are only three cities where I’ve felt so comfortable I could live there without a second thought: Miami, Madrid and Tel Aviv. Maybe it has to do with them all being in a warmer region, but when we got to Madrid, it felt almost like I was coming home.

So we got there in the afternoon. We were lucky to even make it as we almost missed the bus that morning. The ride was uneventful. We had one stop to get food. When we got there, it took us a while to navigate to our hotel. We took the metro and walked along Gran Via and the had to backtrack some when we learned we’d passed it. We had to be sneaky with the hotel as there was only supposed to be two in the room and there was four of us, but it worked out.

Rather than go out, we decided to stay in and chill before getting some food. Madrid at night is lovely. We navigated our way to La Puerta del Sol taking pictures all along the way.

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The statue in the picture is symbol of the city. A nice guy told us that before taking our picture with it. So we walked through the plaza on our way to find something to eat. I really wish I could remember the name of the place we ate at. It wasn’t amazing, but it was ok. We had a lot of fun though. The girls had wanted to go dancing, but we were all tired so we went back to the hotel. It was a lot more fun anyway.

The second day was a bit more eventful. In the morning, Ali, Renee and I went to see the Museo del Prado. From what I understand, it is the second most famous art museum behind the Louvre. I never knew that. Not sure if it is true, but I wouldn’t be surprised. One thing I would suggest is to not eat at the cafeteria there. The food is expensive and quite terrible. The yoghurt I had was nice, but the juice and the sandwich weren’t. I had thought the sandwich was ham, but it turned out to be salmon and I hate salmon. So yeah, be sure to eat before you go. Or after. The museum itself was nice. Quite different from the Louvre. Ali and I ventured together while Renee went off on her own. We checked out all the ‘masterpieces’ on the pamphlet before heading out to meet up with Virginia for lunch. I am sad to say that I did not recognise any of the ‘masterpieces’ they highlighted.

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Later in the afternoon, we went shopping. It is kinda frustrating being the only guy clothes shopping with a group of girls. At one point I just decided to leave and do some on my own. I was lucky enough to find a store called Springfield that all I saw was men’s clothing (you can find both on the website). I found the girls and they helped me find some great clothes (two shirts and a pair of jeans which I still have).

The next day, I was all by myself. Renee was flying back to California, and Ali and Virginia were on their was to Paris. Now by myself, I needed to find where I was to be staying. The night before, I discovered a wonderfully helpful website called Hostelworld. I was able to find an awesome sounding hostel named Way Hostel (I loved the play on words). I booked a couple days there, but when I got there found out that I had accidentally booked  for the end of January rather than the end of December. Luckily, they had a sister hostel just down the road called Las Musas Residence. They had a room but I had to get there right away.

Now that I was set up, it was time to go see what Madrid had to offer. First thing I should have done was buy an umbrella. It definitely would have made my time waiting in line at the Palacio Real a little more comfortable. It was raining and the line was long. There were some umbrellas around me which staved off some of the dampness, but not all of it. When I got inside, I went straight to the toilet. The water had soaked through my jacket and dampened a large section of my shirt. I dried it off as best I could and found the cafeteria. I got a student discount , but paid for it later for food. The food was infinitely better than what they had at the Museo del Prado.

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The palace itself was amazing. I was able to take a couple pictures of the inside, but stopped as there are security cameras inside (you aren’t allowed to take pictures of the inside).

The only other place I got to see that day was the Catedral de la Almudena. There are two parts to see: the cathedral and the catacombs. The inside of the cathedral was beautiful and quite colourful.

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The rest of the day I spent indoors drying off and warming up (I ended up getting ill part of my first day in Barcelona).

The next day was New Year’s Eve and I spent the day wandering around the city. The weather was quite a bit better thankfully. There were so many cool things to see as I walked (I love just roaming around). There were arches:

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the Nationalbibliotek:

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random sculptures, fountains, and churches:IMG_1189

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Crypt of Catedral de la Almundena

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Cathedral of St. Francis

 

I got to see so many interesting sites. The only problem was that because it was New Year’s Eve, the only places I could get in where certain churches. There were a few random churches that I stumbled upon that were cool, but the one I looked around for was the Cathedral of St. Francis (pictured above). Go figure, it was closed. I did get to see the crypt of the Catedral de la Almundena though as well as Plaza Mayor and the Templo de Debod, a 2,200-year old Egyptian temple gifted to Spain.Plaza Mayor

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As it was now about dark, I headed back to my hostel. I had figured that I was going to be spending New Year’s Eve by myself. It had kind depressed me, but by that point I was resigned to the idea. I had a met a couple Aussie girls, Laura and Kate, earlier that day. They invited me to hang out with them and the group of people they were going out with. I in turn invited Diego, the guy who was sleeping just above me in the dorm room. It was so much fun. I wasn’t going to show a picture of us at Plaza Mayor, but I think I shall.

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This was only a small group of the people I spent the evening with. There were the two Aussies, a bunch of Argentines, and a handful of Americans. After the fireworks and the champagne bottles had been sprayed (I thankfully was not hit), they wanted to go to a club or bar, but we couldn’t find one and all ended up getting separated anyway. The couple I was with headed back to the hostel and we met up with the Aussies and some of the others showed up and we met a few more people there. It was really such an amazing time. On of the best New Year’s I have ever had.

Naturally, nowhere was open on New Year’s Day. So we ended up walking around, ending up at the Parque del Retiro behind the Museo del Prado. There was so much to see there. And I just learned that there is a statue there dedicated to Satan. I’m not a Satan worshipper by any means (I am very much a Christian), but I always find such things fascinating. Good to know that there is something more for me to go back for. Besides all the gardens, there were monuments, fountains (I love fountains by the way), and other cool buildings. One of the cool buildings was the Palacio de Cristal.

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It is made entirely of glass. It would be an awesome place to have a party, which of course you could do. A cool monument is the Monumento a Alfonso XII.

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And as I love fountains, I might as well show a cool one that we found.

Museo del Prado

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That was pretty much the end. We got some food and chilled before heading out for Tapas. Once again I didn’t get the name of the place we ate at. I love Spanish tapas. It is so good. Spanish food is simply amazing. I’m glad I had so many opportunities to eat it. After I ate, I had to quickly make it to the bus terminal to catch my overnight bus to Barcelona. The last picture I’ll show is one something that I found awesome. I snuck a shot of a woman reading ‘El Libro de Mormon.’

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As you can hopefully see, there is a ton to see in Madrid. I had hoped to see a football match as I love Real Madrid, but sadly I didn’t get to. I did in Barcelona though. The thing I love about some hostels is that they give you a tourist map with all the touristy things to see, but that’s not all. The map usually points all many noteworthy places. I say to take the map and just explore. As with everywhere I go, I enjoy seeing the major sites, but I love finding those hidden gems that many people don’t know about. I wish I could just show all the pictures of all the places I saw, but if I did that you might be more bored than you probably already are. Don’t be afraid to get lost in this city (I literally did a few times). You will not be sorry for it 😉

Comments
  1. Beverly Bundy says:

    Reminded me a little of Italy.

    Like

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