I was very fortunate to spend the last 2 weeks of May traveling around Spain. If you haven’t already read them, you can read my introduction post here, my post about Valencia here and about Dénia here.
I left Dénia with Lilian and her family and we drove the 4 hours back to Madrid to their great apartment close to the city center. When we got back, Lilian, her boyfriend Nick, and I hit the town. We had a late dinner around 10:30pm (which is typical in Spain) with 5 of their other friends at a fantastic restaurant that had amazing margaritas. It was such a fun night hanging out with their group of friends and spending one last night with Lilian. The next morning, Lilian and her family got up super early and left for a weekend trip, so I was on my own for my last 24 hours in Madrid.
Lilian gave me a list of must-see things to do and see, so I got going as soon as I could to squeeze everything in to my day. I saw Retiro Park (which was only a block from their apartment), Sol and Plaza Mayor, Cibeles fountain (where the city celebrates when Real Madrid wins a game), the opera house, the palace and cathedral, walked the large shopping boulevards and lastly, visited the Reina Sofia, Madrid’s Modern Art Museum, and one of the best Modern Art Museums in the world. Now I’m not a huge art person: I appreciate it and think it’s pretty, and I like learning about the history behind the artists and time periods, but I can by no means spend an entire day in an art museum. However, it was pretty cool seeing original Picasso’s and Dali’s, as well as the work of many other famous modern artists.
That night, I met up with some of Lilian’s friends I had met the night before at a bar and hung out with them and a bunch of other students in their masters program. It was fun yet again meeting more new people and getting a glimpse of Madrid’s nightlife. I only stayed out until 2am, which apparently is a tame, early night in Madrid, but I wanted to make sure I could wake up the next morning to catch my bus to Sevilla, which I did!
It was a jam-packed day and by the end of the night, I was exhausted (and so were my feet!). However, I realized I pretty much saw everything in Madrid I needed to see and didn’t really need any more time there. Lilian described Madrid in a great way: It’s an awesome city if you live there or know people there to go out with or make plans with. But as far as being a tourist there, there are cool things to see, but you don’t need a long time to see it all. With that being said, I really did still love the city. It reminded me of a cross between New York and Paris. It has the long, wide boulevards with shopping and fountains and arches like Paris, but once you are downtown and away from the main attractions, the streets are grid-like and have a very New Yorky feel to them with great restaurants, side walk cafes, bars and clubs. The metro system was also really great: it was clean and easy to use, and Retiro Park was similar to NYC’s Central Park, covering many blocks and giving you an escape from the city.
I would definitely love to come back and visit Madrid again, but not as a tourist to see any sights or attractions, but to hang out with friends and experience THEIR Madrid.
Madrid Photo Dump: