Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Madrid - Spain's Capital

This past weekend I took a trip via bus with Christina to Spain's capital of Madrid.  The bus ride from Valencia is about 3 and a half hours and we were in Madrid Friday through Sunday.  
What was really neat was that our room at the hostel is located in Plaza Mayor and we were about to go out onto the balcony and look out into the plaza below.  

Plaza Mayor

After we settled into our room, we ate lunch that we had brought with us from home.  Then after we ate, I was looking out on the balcony after I was ready to go out and saw that people were gathering for a free tour so I told Christina and we ran down to catch it.  On this tour we learned a lot about the history of Spain, especially about the kings and what they were known for.  We also saw the oldest restaurant in the world.  Other stops along the way included the cathedral and the royal palace.  

Almudena Cathedral 

In front of the Royal Palace of Madrid

Felipe IV in front of Royal Palace

Plaza de Isabel II and the Opera

Our tour ended in front of the Opera in Plaza de Isabel II.  
After our tour we decided to walk around and see what we could find for ourselves in Madrid.  That's when we stumbled upon the largest doughnut that we have ever seen and decided that we had to buy it and try it.  (It wasn't as good as I hoped it to be.)  
We wandered around for the rest of the day and got dinner in Plaza Mayor where the waiter was really cool.  

The next morning we got up fairly early so that we could get to the Museo de Prado before it got too busy.  Unfortunately they do not allow photos so I don't have any of the inside of the building.  Inside I saw sculptures from Roman and Greek time, and paintings by Velázquez, Sorolla, El Greco, and Goya.  I have studied these pieces and given presentations on them so it was really cool to actually get to see them in person.  I was really impressed by the size of these paintings because when I went to the Louvre I was astonished by how small the Mona Lisa actually is.  

Museo del Prado
After lunch we did a little more wandering around and found a nice cafe to have lunch where we sat down for a while and relaxed.  On our wandering we came across some important things to see while in Madrid such as Las Cibeles, the Ayuntamiento building, and Puerta de Alcalá.  

Las Cibeles

Ayuntamiento de Madrid

Puerta de Alcalá

After lunch we wanted to explore Parque del Retiro where we found some really interesting trees (that look like broccoli to me), the lake where people can rent boats and row around, Palacio de Cristal, and Palacio de Velázquez. I thought it was pretty cool that inside of the Palacio de Cristal that they had a collection of fossil bones hanging from the ceiling.  

While we were wandering around the city it started getting dark and we were lucky enough to have ended up outside of the Royal Palace in front of the gardens to see the sunset.  I think that was one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend.  (In my picture I was able to capture the picturesque sunset along with the palace, its gardens, the moon, and a little bit of the city behind the palace.)  

Another view of the palace from the gardens during sunset
After the sun set we were in search of a place to eat dinner and we ended up going to a really cool restaurant that was lit up in green lights right next to the river.  On the way, we saw this view that I thought was really cool of the palace and cathedral from across the river.  

The next morning we were off to see the Temple of Debod.  This was really neat to see because this temple was a gift to Spain that originally was in Egypt.  Inside there are hieroglyphics on the walls and I was able to explore various rooms.  Behind the temple there was a really cool view of the city.  

Our last few hours that we had left we continued to walk around the city and we found Plaza de España.  And before we left, we finally found the bear and tree statue, which is the official symbol of Madrid.  We didn't know but we passed it a couple times in Puerta del Sol. 

At the fountain in Plaza de España

This weekend I tried two very typical foods of Madrid, which are Calamari sandwiches and candies that are shaped and taste like violets.  

This week begins Las Fallas in Valencia, which is a huge celebration in honor of St. Joseph.  This will include a lot of fireworks, parades, food, and fires.  I can't wait to share all my experiences during this celebration in my next blog next week! 


  1. Oh you are so fortunate! I am so happy that you are taking advantage of all there is to see in Spain. You look great and happy which is so important. You will never forget this experience and you will never have to say, I wish I took advantage of going to Spain.
    I am loving all the photos and blogs. Thank you for letting me share in your experience. Enjoy St. Joseph's Day. Remember to wear red. Can't wait for the next chapter in your life in Spain.

  2. Beautiful pics! So glad you are having such a great time. The experience will stay with you forever.

  3. I am so happy for you and enjoying all your pictures and blog!! Listening and seeing your experience is thrilling. Keep safe as you have been, and continue to participate in very moment and memory. 🌳 enjoy St. Joseph's day. Can't wait to hear more adventures.🇪🇸