¡Hola mi gente!
Our first stop was Madrid, the capital city of Spain. We arrived at 8:30am, which we thought would work really well in not wasting a day. We planned four days in Madrid and wanted to see and do as much as possible in that time.
There was, however, one small problem. May 1st and 2nd are both public holidays in Madrid, and the Spanish (like most of Europe) take their holidays V E R Y seriously. The majority of attractions, shops and even some restaurants were closed, which limited the amount we were actually able to do. Combine this with the jet-lag that caused us to sleep for 14 hours the first night and we are not left with a very interesting blog post. Luckily, Madrid is located in the centre of Spain and is easily accessible, so we definitely plan to return there later in our trip to check it out some more.
Nonetheless, we can already confirm that Madrid is amazing. It has everything you would want in a big, cosmopolitan city, while still holding on to that typical, relaxed vibe that Spain is so well-known for. The streets are charming, the people are friendly and the food is GOOOOOD.
Where to Stay: We stayed in between the Chueca and Malasaña areas, which are two of the most popular areas to both live and visit. They are central, with nice architecture, charming streets, and a lot of bars, restaurants, cafés and stores. From there we could easily walk around or catch the Metro if needed and were never far from anything worth doing.
What to Eat: No matter how many days you spend in Madrid, you won’t even crack the surface of eateries in a metropolitan area of 6.5 million people, especially in a country where food is everything. We really did not have a bad meal, but the stand out for us was definitely “Arrocería Marina Ventura”.
This restaurant is located in between the Sol and Retiro areas and serves amazing Spanish/Mediterranean dishes. The Paella, as well as the Jamón Iberico, were both incredible and everything was very reasonably priced.
What to Do: Due to the two holidays, we spent most of our time doing free things like walking around the streets and checking out some of the parks, such as Parque del Buen Retiro, which originally belonged to the Spanish Monarchy, but is now a public park.
Similarly, the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is a popular attraction. We bought tickets (10.00€ each) to enter and explored the grounds and certain rooms of the palace, but we would say that it is definitely nicer from the outside than it is on the inside. No photos are allowed past a certain point inside the palace, so we can only show those of the grounds outside.
In the end, we could have easily spent more time in Madrid and it definitely won’t be the last time we are there. It has already become one of our favourite cities in the world.
Favourite Thing about Madrid
Brodie: The paella at Arrocería Marina Ventura
Todd: The cosmopolitan, city atmosphere.
Next, we’re off to Lisbon!