Hello readers from extremely jetlagged Australia. It is currently 5:59am on Tuesday morning and we have been awake since 2am. It is going to take a bit of time to adjust to this. Anyway, we’re about to tell you about our last 2 days in Madrid. We were busy at airports and in planes so were unable to update this so it is two days at once.
Cordoba to Madrid via Toledo
We woke up in Cordoba for our last day on Contiki and went downstairs to our crappy continental breakfast. Pretty over them by this point. We then jumped on the coach and heard our day song for the last time (which is sad, because I dig it) for a two hour drive to a servo. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the servo, just some chips and an ice cream. Then back on the coach for another 2 hours til we got to Toledo. We stopped at a viewpoint on the way to Toledo which had a really nice view of the city. It looks like a medieval city that sits on top of a mountain with a river surrounding it. It is really unique and cool. We also took some pictures of this spot.
After admiring the beauty for not too long (It was about 39 degrees at this point), we drove around the other side of Toledo where you enter. To enter Toledo from this side, you need to take about 10 escalators. There are so many! When you get to the top you are rewarded by being in the main square of the little city. There are windy and narrows streets with lots and lots of blacksmith stores. They made a lot of the armour/swords from Lord of the Rings here because the blacksmiths are so good. The swords looked great. It was difficult to enjoy this place too much, not because it wasn’t beautiful, because it very much was, but because it was so hot and there was little shade.
We grabbed some quick eats (sandwich and a drink, nothing notable) and then embarked on a walking tour lead by Zach. We were walking through the whole town all the way down to the bottom. This was actually pretty nice. We stuck to the shade and had stops along the way where Zach would tell us the history of the buildings. It was a pleasant stroll and we learned a lot. It was good to see so much of a such a pretty little town. We crossed a massive castle-like bridge to get back to the coach (42 degrees when we got on the coach).
We were now embarking to our final destination and where our journey in Spain began – Madrid. We had about an hour to get ready, we were okay with this because this hotel is pretty nice and the aircon did a great job before embarking into the city, getting dropped off at the Royal Palace to walk to Plaza Mayor to our restaurant for our last Contiki optional group dinner which was a traditional Madridlenos feed.
The entree was a series of spanish tapas – Fried onions, spanish tortilla, calamari, chorizo, and peppers with bread. These were all delicious, especially spanish tortilla which we have come to love. We didn’t take any pictures of this meal sadly – we were too caught up in the moment. For main we had a nice steak with potatoes that was salty, tender and cooked perfectly and then for dessert it was a custard tartlike thing, which was average but by that point we were pretty full. It was a really nice dinner and we bonded with our little Contiki family. Then after that some people chose to go out, but by this point in the trip we were exhausted, sick and ready to be home. We said our last goodbyes and took the coach back home with some of the others.
Final day in Madrid
We decided not to set an alarm today which was a good move as we were pretty tired. We woke up, had our final shitty breakfast and then took a cab directly from the contiki hotel to our hotel in the city. The reason we didnt stay at the Contiki hotel an extra night was because it is super expensive and it is so far away from the city. I am pretty sure we got fuckin rorted by this dogarse of a cab driver too. He pulled the cab over in the middle of a busy street and got our stuff out – and didnt give me the right change. I tried to argue the point with him but he was yelling in Spanish (No ingles!) and trying to drive off because a million cars had banked up behind him. It was €35 on the meter but I gave him a 50 and only got 2 change. The fuckhead. Oh well.
We got to our hotel and put our bags down then we did the last thing that we had on our Spain bucket list and that was the Reina Sofia. This is a modern art museum that houses artworks from some of the greats, most notably Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. We really love visiting art museums and I feel like we have a really good appreciation of good art. Aimee is more of a fan of Modern Art than I am (I love the old stuff), but I can definitely appreciate good modern art when I see it. Particularly the pieces by Salvador Dali in this museum. We both thought that his piece “The Invisible Man” was the best in the museum. Most people come to this museum for the most famous painting “Guernica” by Picasso, which was large and great, but there is something about the invisible man that just does it for us.
After this we went and had lunch at this burger place near our hotel call Shake n Steak. It was pretty alright. We were pretty much done with Spanish food at this point to a burger went down nicely
We then bought another little suitcase to put more stuff in so that we could take it home. This gives an indication of how we spent our afternoon. As we had leftover money because we overbudgeted, it was time for shopping. Well, for Aimee to shop mostly. I spent a couple of hours in starbucks drinking coffee and using their wifi whilst Aimee walked up and down Gran Via (enormous shopping street) buying a few things.
We put the shopping stuff in the hotel and headed out for our last dinner in Spain. We did a quick tripadvisor peek for what people rate as good restaurants in Madrid that are within a few kms of the hotel. The answer was an Argentinian restaurant that was in between Puerto Del Sol and Gran Via.
Before we even ordered anything they brought us out some gazpacho, some bread and some cream cheese with little toasts. The gazpacho was a bit nicer than the other version of it that we tried, but we still didn’t really like it. Cold soup is not for us. They also gave us a free glass of Rosé Cava each. Cava is like Spanish champagne. It was not bad.
Then we ordered the Argentinian grill which is literally about 8 different types of meat to share between 2 people that came out on a little oven thing to keep it hot. There was three different types of sausage including blood sausage – we tried it but yuck! Also ribs, steak, chicken and pork. It was a meaty meal that went down very well.
We didn’t plan on having dessert because we were so full from the meat but they brought us a free frozen lemon drink and little cups of yoghurt with mango syrup on top. It was quite lovely and an unexpected goodness. They also brought out a bottle of their version of Baileys as a digestif and it was delicious.
It was time to say our last goodbye to Spain as we slowly wandered to our hotel room taking in the sights, scents and sounds of Spain one last time.
A 7 hour flight from Madrid to Abu Dhabi with a 2 hour layover (ate Cinnabon at the airport, fuck yeah) and then a 14 hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney followed by a 3 hour drive and we are home! It has been an absolute journey.
Thanks for reading about it. Over the coming days we will do a review of Contiki and we will wrap up our Italian and Spanish adventures with reviews and favourites/least favourites of our trip with recommendations for people who are intending to visit.
Ronnie and Aimee