Its been a great first few days in the second city of this trip.
I have always had the idea that Barcelona is better than Madrid, not just when it comes to fútbol. When I had visited it before as little girl I had never enjoyed Madrid as much I had Barcelona. Barcelona has a beach, amazing art and architecture where ever you went and well yeah, also the best fútbol club team.
Now that I have been in Madrid for the past 6 days I am not sure what I think anymore. Barcelona was amazing and it was a great experience to be living there but Madrid has a completely different vibe already. I have no idea how to explain it but it could be partly because my living situation is better since I am 2 blocks away from school now and our apartment is great. Here is a quick peak at our apartment, accommodating to 7 girls. The wifi is better here too but I do miss Mercè’s cooking as I had imagined.
On our first day we took a tour around the city and went to el Mercado de San Miguel where I ate some amazing olives and tapas, and will not leave without eating paella from there, visited the cathedral, Plaza Mayor and gave a quick greeting to the king and queen at the palace. Like the city, our apartment has a great vibe already too. Most afternoons the majority of us hang out in the living room talking, that is when they aren’t all taking servestas (props to Haley for her new word, which is meant to be siestas). Our second morning in the apartment I even woke up to Ellyn and Haley working out in our patio.
Madrid is at 0° on the map
Mercado de San Miguel
Hayley and Ellyn working out at 8:30 am
The other day I decided to begin my running early instead of waiting for the last day like I had in Barcelona and went to explore the city. I had been eager to go to El Retiro, Madrid’s largest park, and so I mapped out my run and headed down there. It was quiet and serene. In the estanque there were only ducks and one lonely rower passing by. I decided to cut my run a little short, not at all because I was too hot and tired, and instead sat on the steps of the statue and admired my surroundings.
Our first Sunday here has come and gone and although everything does close, as per “rest day”, at the same time museums like the Reina Sofia become free to the public on given hours. So Monica and I decided to go visit the museum, including Picasso’s famous Guernica. Since it was so close to El Retiro we thought it would be nice to walk across it. It seemed like all of Madrid was at El Retiro enjoying the lovely, yet hot Sunday evening. Activities included a book fair, roller blading, reading by the flower garden, playing Frisbee, listening to a guitarist, paddling on a boat in the pond, doing a yoga, watching street preferrers, jogging, having a picnic birthday party, and more. It was definitely a change of scenery from my 8 am jog on a Friday morning but even more beautiful, as it defined a regular Madrileñen Sunday.
Puerta de Alcalá
I have enjoyed exploring other parts of Madrid, not just the park. Thursday night we went on a tour to the Temple of Debod to watch the sunset. It was really beautiful how the clouds reflected on the pond and the lights illuminated the temple. On Saturday we ventured an hour outside of Madrid, into Segovia, yes it is pronounced like Genovia, the made up village from the Princess Diaries. We saw the castle and the historic aqueduct and later for lunch we had a Segovian delicacy, cochinilla, which is a baby pig. The meat was actually quite tender and I will admit even delicious. I’m thankful I did not get the hoof as some people did.
Temple of Debod
Temple of Debod
Cochinilla for lunch
As our first Monday here in Madrid begins I look forward to beginning my new story, while exploring more of what Madrid has to offer, making me see it in a new light, maybe even outshining Barcelona a little. One thing is for sure, I will not be exploring Real Madrid’s stadium, Santiago Bernabéu, anytime soon, even if it is only 15 minutes away from my apartment.