This past weekend (October 18-20) my entire program and I spent the weekend in Madrid. Before this trip I have yet to explore Spain outside of Barcelona for an entire weekend so I was really excited to see a different side of the country. An extra bonus, the one I was most excited for, was that my best friend since 6th grade Julia (or Ju Ju Beans as I call her) is studying there. It was so refreshing see a face from home and it was great to experience another country with one of my greatest friends.
We arrived to Madrid early Friday morning by the speed train. It only took us a little over 2 hours to get to Madrid and the speed train was a really cool experience. We had a little free time to roam the city then our program planned a walking trip for everyone. The walking trip was great– our tour guide was this sweet Spanish lady who knew so many cool facts about the city. She took us to many famous plazas and also the Palacio Real de Mardrid (The Royal Palace of Madrid) which was enormous and beautiful. No one actually lives there anymore but to think at some point in time a family lived in this gigantic palace is insane! On our way to the castle we passed a statue dedicated to me..er..actually a statue dedicated to Queen Isabella II but we can pretend it’s dedicated to me..right….right?! Moving on… after the tour we stopped at one of the most famous churros places in all of Spain. It’s called Chocolatería San Ginés. The walls were lined with famous people who have visited the restaurant before. Unfortunately they forgot to take my picture, whoops!!
Later that night I finally met up with Julia and her roommate she took me to this amazing restaurant. We had patatas bravas, mushroom croquettes, grilled mushrooms with jamón, brie wrapped in jamón, their homemade sangria– topped off with a chocolate tart. It was incredible. Then she took me back to her home stay in a more low-key part of the city. It was really cool to see the less touristy side of Madrid. Unfortunately her host mom and dad were at their house in the country that weekend so I couldn’t meet them. The apartment was so cool! Her host dad is a hunter and the walls are lined entirely with antlers. They have been hosting students for over 20 years, Julia is so lucky to have such a cool family. Also, having a chef that comes everyday isn’t too bad either. That night we went out to a famous club called Pacha with her 3 other friends. One thing that is really different about Madrid is that you have to pay for almost every club. In Barcelona there are at least 3 different people’s names you can say at the door to get in for free. I have yet to pay for a club since I’ve been here. Pacha was so cool! There were multiple floors, the first two floors were rather empty so we went to the fifth floor, it was smaller but a lot more people. Julia and I had so so so much fun dancing. After a while we went to the fourth floor that was strictly Spanish music. Then we found our way to the first floor just in time for a huge flash mob. It was so insane!
The next day we went to Museo de El Prado– a very famous museum in Spain. After I took a very much needed siesta (an afternoon nap) and met up with Julia at her home stay again. Her friend from school was visiting from Paris and we met up with him at his friend’s apartment who lives in Spain. This apartment was unlike any other apartment I’ve seen before. It was so modern and huge. He had a glass wall that separated the kitchen and living room that every hour a burst of gas came in between the wall so you couldn’t see the other room anymore…yeah. After we watched the Madrid game we went out to dinner at this amazing restaurant. They served us three different plates of tapas with different themes, one was cheese, another one was meat, and another one was delicious, aka I can’t remember. It was all so yummy!
After dinner I met up with my friends from my program and we went to one of the most famous clubs in Europe called El Kapital, it has 7 stories! It was so insane. Every 2 floors there was a different type of music. It was so much fun roaming between the different floors.
Sunday morning we got up early to check out a famous flea market, it had to be at least 3 miles long! We ended the day by visiting one of the most famous parks, Parque del Retiro. When I saw all the foliage it finally felt like Fall! The park was beautiful, I could have spent all day there. Julia met up with me by the end of the day to say goodbye, thankfully she’s coming to Barcelona in 3 weeks and we just discovered we’ll be in Paris the same weekend as well!
I loved Madrid so much, but there is no place like Barcelona– I’m glad to be home.
My parents will be here on Friday and Hilary will be here on Saturday, I am so so stoked! Thanks everyone for keeping up with all my adventures. Adios!