So we bid goodbye to BCN and made our way via Vueling airline to Madrid.
We arrived at Madrid and thought that maybe the train system is more convenient than BCN. We were so wrong. Same situation with BCN. With our bags in tow, we climbed countless stairs and came to a point that we just stood there, with our hands up in the air - We wanted to give up! The station where we supposed to get off was under repair and we had to walk all way to our Airbnb. It was about an hour of walking, stopping and heavy lifting. We made it though and decided to stay in for a couple of hours before we head out to dinner to meet our friends.
One thing I love about Madrid is its proximity to almost everything. You can literally walk around Puerto Del Sol and see almost every touristy spot on your handbook. The architecture of Spain will never fail to amaze you. We went to this Tapas place after walking through old alleys of Puerto Del Sol.
Good company, sangria and Tapas - this would sum up our first night in Madrid.
Madrid came from the Arabic word "Magerit" which means - plenty of streams. There are more sunny and more cloudless days of the year than in any other city in Europe. Whoever said that wasn't kidding. It's way too hot than we expected. My self ventilating top and skirt didn't help much. My shoulders were burnt and at one point I felt like jumping into the fountain in the middle of Plaza Mayor. We walked around Puerto Del Sol and our eyes were met with beautiful houses adorned with balconies and trees. Took several pit stops for our #ootds and off we went to see Plaza Mayor. The way to the plaza led us down from Gran Via past a twist of small streets and interesting buildings and corners. We were told that somewhere along, we'll pass by the church of San Gines which houses the best churros and chocolate. Some say it's the oldest others claim it's the original though I won't disagree that it is indeed the best.
Plaza Mayor is the largest open space in Central Madrid. It's one of the major tourist attractions in Madrid showcasing an array of cafes and chic shops. Over the course of history, the Plaza took several name before taking in Plaza Mayor in 1939. Originally Plaza del Arrabal, Plaza de la Constitution, Plaza Real, Plaza de la Republica and then finally Mayor. It has had many different purposes - public gatherings, bull ring, market, public trials and even execution. I wouldn't want to witness that for sure.
Walk along Calle Mayor, about 600 meters and the breathtaking view of Royal Palace will welcome you. It is coined as the Versailles of Spain for it's immense courtyard and beautiful light posts.
The Royal Palace is open from Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00 and from 0:900 to 14:00 on Sundays and Holidays.The Palace gardens (Campo del Moro) are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00 from October to March.
A trip to Spain will not be complete without a short stint at the local footwear shops in GranVia. We stopped by
Alpargatus for some espadrilles. Bought a pair for € 22.00 - certainly a good price considering how expensive those are in Singapore. We capped the day with tapas and sangria for € 1.00 at a local sports bar. I remember eating a lot to compensate for the calories we burned throughout the day of endless walking.
That was Madrid in 48 hours. It was short but our stomach and eyes were both filled with an abundance of culture, gastronomical experience and beautiful history combined with architectural aesthetics. Madrid was our second stop but we did feel like staying a bit longer and learned flamingo if you may. Would surely love to go back and explore the city in a much slower pace. So for now, we bid goodbye and geared ourselves to our next stop - the land of divine art and ancient culture - LA DOLCE VITA.