Exploring Madrid

Hola readers! It is currently 9am and we’re chilling in bed at the hotel room after another late night. The Spanish do things at strange times. They eat 7 meals a day and the sun doesn’t set until 10pm so nobody sleeps until like midnight. It’s another world.

We started our day with breakfast at the hotel. We had to pay for this and we regretted it immediately. It was just another sub-par continental breakfast, we are definitely heading out for breakfast today. The Spanish tortilla was nice again though – I don’t think you could have a bad one.

We then caught a taxi to the home stadium of FIFA’s “Club of the century” and arguably the most successful club in football history Real Madrid. We had pre-purchased a stadium tour, firstly the stadium is enormous and if not for the tour signposts we would definitely get lost.

Champions league victories

During this tour you get to go up into the stands, walk through the museum to see the trophy cabinet (which is very impressive). You get to go into the locker room, stand next to the field (unfortunately not on the field), go on a weird bus ride simulation, go into the press conference room and watch all these videos and cool things about how good Real Madrid are. They also get you to take all these goofy photos and one of them was hilarious so we bought it.

Shameful haha

It was pretty cool to sit in one of the seats and look over the stadium and consider all of the football history that had taken place right here. The amount of El Classico games, Cristiano Ronaldo’s historic performances, the champions league victories, La Liga games it was pretty amazing. However, it would have been good to get here during the season and attend an actual game for the atmosphere, but the timings just did not work out that way.

PFC Represent

After this we grabbed an XL coke from Burger King (massive by Australia standards, small by American) before our next stop – The Prado.

The Prado is touted as one of the finest art museums in the world. It is enormous (has over 100 rooms) and holds paintings from famous artists such as Velasquez, Caravaggio, Goya and Rembrandt (allegedly). We love art museums and are able to appreciate good art when we see it. The highlight of this museum and the reason why most people visit it is to see Velasquez’s Las Meninas which is a huge and spectacular painting. I think it really helps when you have the back story for a piece of art which we did. It is a special piece that is shrouded in mystery. This was Aimee’s favourite piece.

Las meninas

My (Ronnie) favourite piece was Goya’s Saturn Devouring his son. As soon as I saw this piece I said to Aimee “I bet that Attack on Titan was inspired by this.” It depicts the god Saturn literally devouring a man and reminds me so much of Attack on Titan (easily my favourite anime). I really love dark and edgy art. Not only because of attack on titan, but this piece really does it for me. I actually really liked the entire “Black Paintings” collection by Goya. They’re all great, but this piece was a highlight. Aimee and I bought magnets of both of our favourite paintings and they will go on our fridge when we get home.

Om nom nom

Then, in typical Spanish tradition we went back to the hotel and had a siesta. This is a Spanish tradition that I can definitely get around. Australia needs it implement siestas – top notch! After the siesta it was about 8pm (which is when the evening starts in Spain). We were pretty hungry at this point because we skipped lunch so we headed out in search of food.

We ended up grabbing a Bocadillos de Calamares. This is basically a crumbed calamari loaded onto a bread roll. It is delicious. When you eat in they give you aioli and lemon to have with it which would have been amazing, but we just had it take-away and ate it at Plaza Mayor so it was kind of plain, but with the lemon and aioli it would have been amazing. It was also cheap for them and a coke each – coming in at 10 euro.

Tasty!

Our next stop was a walk to Templo De Debod which is an ancient Egyptian temple that was gifted to Spain by Egypt a long time ago. We heard that it is particularly beautiful at sunset. However, for some reason the pools around it had been drained so we didn’t get that beauty, but it was still pretty cool that there is an ancient Egyptian temple in the middle of Madrid!

Templo de debod

Around the temple was a really nice park. There were heaps of people in the park just having a picnic and a wine. It was quite lovely. Everybody was socialising and watching the sunset. Madrid is a really special place and I think that my friends and family would really love Madrid out of all the places we have been. It really strikes the balance between big city and small town.

Madrid is stunning

We then stopped by the most famous Churros place in Spain on the way home. It’s called Chocolateria San Gines (Pronoucned: “hch-in-ess). They are literally open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and there is ALWAYS a line up out the door. It costs about 5 euro for a share of churros and hot chocolate. The churros are not as sugary and sweet as the ones elsewhere. They are crispy and a little bit salty and you dip them into the thickest hot chocolate that you’ll ever see. It really blurs the line between hot chocolate and melted chocolate. They were damn delicious. We also had a horchata with it (tiger nut milk) which was kind of weird and we didn’t really like it, but the churros were unreal. I am sure it is not the last churros we will eat here.

Churrrrrrros!

By this time is was about midnight (like I said, the sun doesn’t set til 10!) and we walked home to our hotel to go to bed.

Itemised Spending:

  • Breakfast – €15
  • Taxis – €25
  • Goofy photo – €13
  • Burger King – €8
  • Art Magnets – €8
  • Cool shirts – €42
  • Dinner, Calamari – €10
  • Churros – €8
  • Mouth whistle thing – €2
  • Coke – €2

Total: €133

Not bad, not bad at all. Lots of spending, but still under budget (where i like it!)

Tomorrow we have another day of exploring Madrid and our next Contiki tour starts! Get ready for the whirlwind!

Ronnie and Aimee

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