I couldn’t justify coming to Spain and not going to Madrid so this weekend I spent a few days in Spain’s capital. In an effort to help my bank account I took the overnight bus from Barcelona to Madrid and in hindsight would probably have paid the extra 40 euros to fly. There was a group of us from Barcelona who went for the weekend and we spent all day Friday seeing all the “touristy” parts of Madrid. We hit Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, Cathedral de la Almudena, and the Prado Museum. It was quite the day and we enjoyed seeing all we could. After a short siesta we headed to find some food. A place called El Tigre was recommended to us and it ended up being the perfect place. It was packed when we walked in and it took a while but we finally elbowed our way to a space at the bar. With each drink you order a huge plate of tapas comes with it for free. So spending 6 euros on a mojito not only quenched my thirst but after the endless tapas I was stuffed. We spent the rest of the night enjoying the nightlife of Madrid, stopping in Dubliners for a while to watch some American sports.
The next morning was a little bit of a struggle to wake up but after a short trip to the Ventas bullfighting arena we decided to head to Retiro Park. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the park, just enjoying the day. I decided to go on a little solo walk and found myself loving the sense of fall. All the trees had orange, red, and yellow leaves and the crisp air made the season feel so real.
After a beautiful afternoon in the park, I decided to head back to the Royal Palace before dinner. I walked through the gardens behind the palace and remembered one of my mom’s favorite things. She loves to people watch, so I took a seat on a bench and just observed everyone walking through the gardens. It is amazing to me how much of the world I have not seen, each person that walked by was different. Of course there were a few Americans but there were also so many other cultures represented that it made for a great experience. Sometimes I would try to guess where a certain person or group was from but at some point I just stopped and enjoyed everything going on around me. This idea of solo time has really turned into something special for me. It is so easy to go take a few moments by yourself and my time alone has been some of the most rewarding time I have spent while abroad.