Madriiiiiiiiid!!!

Madrid: the capital of Spain and one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. Naturally it’s a top trip priority if I’m living in Spain for a whole year, right? Well, while I’m glad I went, I can’t say it was the best trip I’ve had so far. Unfortunately it rained almost the entire weekend except for Saturday, AND I lost my phone in the metro on Friday night (or was it stolen? I suppose I’ll never know)! 

I went with a group of about 14 other Erasmus students and we met up with another friend who used to be a tour guide, so we had a personal tour for free! I have to say, if it weren’t for her tour, I would say that Madrid wasn’t really worth the visit (shocking!!). While I’m glad to say that I went, I probably won’t be going back since it just didn’t have that *Wow* factor. The city, especially Gran Vía, the main street, is loaded with Starbucks, fancy retail shopping and Madrid tourist shops, and nearly everyone speaks English. It was a great city but just didn’t have the Spanish charm.

Waiting to land in Madrid!
Madrid, Spain

On Friday night our group stayed together and walked around the Plaza del Sol. We met several interesting characters, including a Captain Jack Sparrow look-a-like, and even a Dumbledore, who came up to us and wrote all over his newspaper trying to give us advice about life. He wrote on his paper that I achieved ultimate understanding, probably because I listened to him for a long time, and tore off the piece of paper and gave it to me. Free souvenir, I suppose.

In the Plaza de Sol with Jordan!

One of my favorite parts of Madrid! ALMOST makes up for the life-size cardboard cut-out I used to have of Johnny Depp until my mom threw it out because it was apparently “creepy”…

He just wasn’t that into me.

Thank you, Jack 🙂

The next day, after I got a new phone and all was well with the world again, we went to Gran Via, one of the main streets, and just walked around and had Starbucks. We think we saw about 5 Starbucks on that street alone. Anyway, it made a darn good breakfast because we were all just craving a giant coffee and not the sissy little espressos they have in the cafes in Santiago.

El Torre de Madrid (tower of Madrid). I don’t actually know what this is – I’m assuming it’s just apartments?

Gran Vía

Gran Vía

Beautiful little church by Gran Vía

Statue of Queen (?) Isabel II, in Plaza de Opera

Talented man.

Cute little street!

We met up with our lovely friend Clare who used to be a tour guide in Madrid and is currently studying with us at Santiago. So, free tour! Honestly if it weren’t for Clare’s tour, I would have thought Madrid was a waste of time!

Statue of Prince Phillip V, on the side of el Palacio Real (royal palace)

The sailors in Madrid don’t have heads.

El Palacio Real (royal palace). I think this used to be the main residence of all the royalty in Spain!

The cathedral across from the palace.

Jeez, Madrid, it’s not even Christmas!

Where the guard is standing is city hall, I’m pretty sure.

Plaza de Mayor

The buildings seemed as if they were actually bending over!

Yeeeahhh….

Me with a statue of Cervantes (I think)

Beautiful Egyptian sculpture

Behind the Egyptian sculpture – so beautiful!
Madrid!

The cathedral (right) and the palace (left)

Really cool restaurant where the walls, ceilings, and even the staircase were screens!

Later that night on Saturday a few of us saw the Sound of Music live (Sonrisas y Lagrimas – means smiles and tears in Spanish)! This was the other main thing about Madrid that I loved. I decided at the last minute to buy a ticket and was so glad I did! The musical was in Spanish but I’ve seen it so many times that it didn’t matter. It could have been in Chinese and I would understand it.

Tengo dieciseis, casi diecisiete… (I am sixteen going on seventeen)…. 

Excited!

Thank you for the great show!

 The next day we wanted to walk around a little more, but it started raining when we left the metro, and we even saw a girl get sick in the metro hallway, so we knew it wouldn’t be a great day.

We only made it to the Plaza de Toros (bulls) on Sunday.

Neat-o sculpture of a matador and bull.

Well that’s it for Madrid. Again, I’m glad I went, but the weather, lack of city charm, over-commercialized-ness made it really just kind of a “meh” experience. We even went back to the airport several hours earlier than necessary because we just weren’t interested anymore. While I do recommend making the trip, I have to say that unless you are absolutely interested and know what you want to do, it might be worth saving your money for something else.

MADRID MUST-DOs:

  • Visit in the summer when the weather is good – this would have made a huge difference on our trip.
  • Plaza del Sol – there’s always something going out, but watch out for your purse or wallet.
  • Nightlife – Madrid, the city that literally never sleeps. Get a hotel/hostel with a window away from a main street or you won’t be getting a wink.
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