June 27, 2:20 pm?
Of course my first time traveling alone beings with my suitcase coming in at 57.5 lbs, causing me to have to carry around a duffel full of shoes and toiletries (the heaviest items, yay). This little speed bump, a very literal statement as the heavy duffel made old ladies in walkers walk faster than me, was the first of my many ?exciting? moments throughout the day. My odyssey included carrying three carry on bags (shockingly frowned upon!), screaming babies (who would have thought that babies wouldn?t enjoy airplanes?), and almost having a meltdown at the airport after no sleep, no cell service, and no english speakers after landing in Madrid.
-3 walking tours lasting 2 hours each (I?m getting my steps in Mom!)
-stopping to see el Congreso de los Diputados, el Palacio Royal, el Puerto del Sol, and la Plaza Mayor (i found the real view to be the spanish men, or as I like to call them bearded beauties)
-TAPAS!!! Queso Espa?ola (comparable to parmesan, but just the name makes it taste 100x better) Tortilla Espa?ola (heaven on a plate), and Patatas Bravas just to name a (delicious!) few
-the Prado art museum and the amazing Goya exhibit. Truly an incredible artist who managed to capture controversial societal and political themes in such beautiful works of art. My personal favorite was titled Saturn. Inspired by the myth regarding the roman god of time (Saturn), Goya criticizes the way that as time goes on, and countries grow greedier, pointless wars take the lives of everyone surrounding them.
–Chocolate dipped churros. Fried, salty dough + thick, dark hot chocolate = basically the best thing one could put in their mouth.
-taking a row boat out onto the lake at Buen Retiro Park. After convincing my friends that we were better off with just them paddling (suckers), I was paraded around on the lake. Although we only moved a total of 100 ft (turns out none of us are expert rowers), the time on the water allowed us to cool off after our long walks in the city.
-Our secret metro trip to the neighborhood Pr?ncipe P?o where we had amazing croquettes con jam?n on earth. Unfortunately, our adventure ended with us sprinting from the metro station to our hotel to make it back to the bus before it left for Granada. Our director was not happy, and my feet were even unhappier after running what felt like a marathon in Vince lizard-embossed sandals 🙁
Traveling tips I picked up in Madrid:
-Security guards are not helpful in the metro stations and do not care if you are running late
-Police gripping machine guns add anxiety, not diminish it (of course we saw this during our adventure on the train? little did we know what this was foreshadowing..!)
-Haggling is absolutely impossible if they see your wallet full of euros? oops
-Attempting to take pictures of paintings in the Prado is, apparently, not acceptable, inspiring several security guards to yell at me in Spanish (if only I had turned the flash off?)
M?laga is a coastal city that has been influenced by the Roman Empire, the Visigoths, the Moors, and lastly the Catholics. Initially a city known for its fishing industry, it is best known today for having a beautiful beach and being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. Picasso is one of the only artists to become wealthy from his work during his life, and today his pieces are some of the most expensive sold. The aqua colored beaches on the Mediterranean are absolutely breathtaking (along with all of the spanish men littering the beach) and, in my opinion, overshadow the art. *note: sunscreen is advised after waking up the next morning with blisters on my face from the sun!! if you?re reading this mom, I?m sorry.
El Albaic?n, aka the Old Neighborhood of Granada, is the Moorish quarter. Each house is referred to as ?un C?rmen” (referencing the grape vines that used to hang in the homes) and is covered in bright white stucco, making for some GORGEOUS pictures! The neighborhood is by far the prettiest in Granada, with colorful flowers and beautiful views of the Alhambra, the city, and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Arabic Market in the neighborhood is full of beautiful fabrics, brightly printed clothing, spices, and hand decorated lanterns and plates. I have had a lot of success in the market?.sorry Dad! We ended the tour of the neighborhood in an Arabic tea house, where we enjoyed traditional arabic desserts and hot mint tea (surprisingly refreshing in the 38 degrees Celsius heat!!).
FOOD! enjoy these photos of some of the best meals/snacks/drinks I?ve enjoyed (which covers practically every bite I?ve taken in Spain so far)
Written by Madison?Wiedeman