I do apologize for being absent for such a long time. I have to admit that I’m not the most reliable person in the world. I’m not even going to make excuses for my absence. Like, I won’t say that I did a lot of traveling within the last of my weeks and Spain and so didn’t have free time to write. I won’t say that I had finals and papers that took up most of the time that I wasn’t traveling. I won’t say that I was trying to spend each waking moment in the city or with my friends, soaking up the last moments of my time abroad. I won’t say any of that. I’m NOT going to make excuses!
And with all those non-excuses behind me, I owe ya’ll some pretty pictures.
My friend Emily and I took a long weekend to travel to Madrid and Lisbon, two of the cities I had been most excited about visiting. Lisbon was supposed to be beautiful and quirky and Madrid was supposed to be sophisticated and metropolitan.
We took a 6 hour bus ride to Madrid, which wasn’t as unbearable as I thought it would be. We walked 45 minutes to our hostel, with a Chinese food break. We made it to our hostel and were met with far too many drunk young men that were celebrating a birthday. We made it to bed and passed out, despite having done nothing of real importance that day.
We didn’t have any set-in-stone plans, so we spent our first day wandering around the city, taking our time and walking through the prettiest parts. We walked through the shopping district, took a stop in a park, climbed a jungle gym, went in the “royal cathedral”, touched a metal man’s butt and saw the royal palace.
Then I had my wallet stolen, which was not fun at all. We traced back our steps. I cried a lot. It was, I’ll repeat, not. fun. at. all.
But then my amazing friend Emily bought us a calamari sandwich (which was a bit dry, but hey, I’m not complaining) and some tea and everything was better.
And instead of staying within the hostel that night, I decided to say FUCK IT to the 80 euros, 3 IDs and 2 credit cards that I lost, and go out to the 2 art museums I was looking forward to! We went to Prado, a medieval art museum, and Reina Sofia, the modern art museum. I preferred Prado, although Reina Sofia was very abstract and new-agey. The museums are free after the sun goes down, so that was helpful (since I had absolutely no money).
We finished the night with way too many tapas and a little too much wine.
(no photos on account of the tapas and wine)
We started the next day with churros, which is the only real way to start a day.
Then we checked out Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Sol. Plaza Mayor had a lot of construction and was not as pretty as I thought it was going to be. Plaza de Sol had a lot of people and was very touristy — it actually kind of reminded me of times square, with all the random advertisements, and Disney world, with all the people in costumes. We found Kilometer 0 (which is the very center of Spain) and took a picture of our feet on it, like the good tourists that we are.
On our way to the bus stop for the airport we saw a protest, which was really cool. They were protesting against the Bank of Spain — I still have the protest chant stuck in my head! ¡El banco de españa nos roba y nos engaña!
Then we flew to Lisbon, which I’ll get into in a later post because a) if I spearate my trip in two parts I get more blog posts and b) I’m lazy and I’m starting to get the feeling you’re tired of me rambling on about all the fun I’ve been having.
Madrid rating (out of 10 stars): 6
Would I go again? Only if it was free
Best part: The museums, the food (a lot of choices)
Worst part: The tourists and senseless advertisements
Overall impressions: Quite touristy, but I’d say worth hitting — it is the capital after all. A very different vibe from Andalusia, which I wasn’t quite prepared for. Public transportation is very easy to use, which was a huge plus! A lot of hostels and good tapas. The Spanish accent was VERY easy to understand, compared to the Andalusian accent that I was used to. I’d recommend 2 or 3 days for the city — it’s really big and there are a lot of spots to hit.