The 14th of June started off at the crack of dawn or more specifically 2:30 am at which time myself, Dom and Tom awoke having very little sleep but excited for the day ahead. We got ready had a spot of breakfast in the form of pain au chocolats and crumpets before ordering an uber to the airport. We made it swiftly through security leaving me amble time to have a good look around duty free as well as a cheeky rekorderlig cider to set the trip of to a great start. I mean who said you can't have a cider at 4:30 in the morning.
We then got the plain to Madrid and made our way to our Air BnB apartment. Once there we had lunch at a cute little bar/restaurant type thing where it soon became evident that there was a slight language barrier. After ordering what we thought we wanted and receiving almost completely different we were happy to have a nice meal after all the travelling. Post lunch we set out a plan of action for the next few days which would allow us to see as much of madrid as possible in the given time.
Our first day was spent mainly exploring Parque de El Retiro which was a gorgeous park full of beautiful building, fountains, lakes and rose gardens. Some of these building housed art exhibitions which were really interesting and it was all round very nice to walk around and feel very chilled. My personal highlight of the day was when sitting by a lake with fountain area of the park we noticed the water had loads of tortoises in it which soon began to swim towards us to assess what was going on. This made for some excellent close up shots especially of one certain tortoise as I reckon he was a bit of a poser and definitely enjoyed all the lime light.
After enough exploring to kill my feet we decided to call it a day and take an early night as it had been such a long day. We cooked a spag. bol in the apartment before making our way to a well earned sleep.
Day 2 was a hectic one to say the least we had a lot of things planned and an allotted time to do all of them. Our first mission was to find some statues that were 'iconic' in Madrid such as the bear and the cherry tree and another guy (I presumed a spanish king on a horse).
After enough staring at these various statues and trying to avoid the dressed up minion who was asking for pictures we went to San Gines which oh my god if you are ever in Madrid you must try their Churros. For 4€ you got 6 large churros and a cup of dipping chocolate and boy was it worth it so delicious. (so delicious in fact we went back the next day but I'll get onto that later).
Next on our list was the Catedral de la Almundena which was a huge cathedral. For a 1€ donation you were allowed to look around the cathedral. It was so ornate it was amazing which I soon found was a recurring theme with a lot of the buildings in Madrid but it is definitely worth a look.
We then headed over to the Palacio Real de Madrid which was just incredible. I have been around Buckingham Palace before and loved the ornateness of everything and this was very similar it was very decorative but a lot stricter in terms of taking no photos inside. Even the ceilings were incredible it was absolutely amazing to see such a high level of craftsmanship that clearly went into the creation of such architecture.
Next on our list was El Templo de Debod which was a gift from Ancient Egypt to Madrid many many many years ago. It was sent over brick by brick and is a smallish temple. It wasn't incredibly detailed but I enjoyed the story behind it and the opportunity to see it.
Afterwards we took a cable cart over madrid to get a real "birds eye view" of the city which was very cool. We had lunch at the top of the cable cart and then got it back again.
Our final stop on the list was el Museo Nacional del Prado which was a painting gallery housing many painting from various eras. I have to admit this was not my favourite, unless you are a fan of paintings specifically I would give this a miss mainly because to me it was a lot of the same and was just a bit much, that said my 2 friends really enjoyed it. I on the other hand did not.
After we had ticked all these places from our list we returned to the apartment for a spot of tea before heading back out for cocktails. We first went to an Irish Bar where I had a Cosmopolitan, we next went to an American diner where we happened to hit happy hour so I got a Pina Colada and a Daiquiri de Fresa (a strawberry daiquiri to you and me). And our final stop was possibly one of the weirdest places I have ever been but was also so cool. It was a bar but it had cushions to sit on the floor as well as sort of 4 poster beds set up with lots of cushions to act as a comfy seat as well as regular tables too. It was quite dark and mysterious but they had a dj playing remixes of justin briber. It was a very strange mix but here I had a banana and jaegar drink which my god was it strong. After these we were about ready to look for a club but unfortunately it was shut. However in our drunken haze myself and dom decided to criticise toms directioning skills which drunken tom did not appreciate and so attempted to lead us on a wild goose chase around the city. Needless to say his plan did not work as even though me and dom were a little tipsy we still found the apartment without toms map, much to our amusement.
Day 3 was our final day and was our last attempt to do anything we wanted that we hadn't already. First thing we went to the lank in the park and booked a rowing boat. This was so cute but admittedly a lot harder than it looks so in the end myself and dom left most of the rowing to tom but we both did have a go.
Afterwards we went to the Reina Sofia Art Gallery which I preferred much more than El Prado as it had much more abstract work in it like Picasso and Dali. It also had a mix of mediums such as cultures, paintings and drawings so for me was a lot more varied than El Prado and more enjoyable.
Next it was time for my chosen activity SHOPPING! and oh wow was there a good selection of shops. If like me you are a makeup or clothes lover Madrid is the place to go. Firstly they have a Sephora which nearly gave me a heart attack but also have so many full shops of things like Urban Decay, Kiehls and Kiko which are harder to find in such large quantities in the UK. It's fair to say I did a bit of damage which will all be in my next blog post but after all the shopping we decided we needed more Churros and so had to stop off at Sangines. We then made our way back to the apartment and packed up our things a bit before going out for traditional spanish tapas which were so so good. We went to Lateral for our tapas which is apparently a spanish chain and I would highly recommend.
After filling our bellies with as much food as humanly possible we walked back to the apartment once again, stopping off for an ice-cream on the way back and finished packing our stuff. We had a couple hours sleep (no exaggeration it was literally 2 hours) before we had to be up again ready to get a taxi to the airport once again to return to England.
Its fair to say that although my trip was relatively short it was jam packed and I really felt as though I got to see a lot of Madrid and would highly recommend a visit to the city.
Until next time...