28 Aug 2016

48 Hours In Madrid


 


Last weekend I was in sunny Spain for the weekend and it was quite an experience! I don't normally go on holidays to European countries and I've only been to a few, such as France and Portugal but that is it.. I thought it was finally time to explore more of Europe and so I did. Madrid was one of the cheapest places to book (flight and accommodation wise) so it was nice to get away, even if it was only for 48 hours!

Here is how we spent our 48 hours in Madrid..



BHX > MAD

Goodbye gloomy UK! We flew with Monarch Airlines - it was the same as any other budget airline I've flown with. Nothing special here but you get what you pay for.

2 hours later....

Hola Madrid!
We arrived at Aeropuerto Adolfo Suárez Madrid- Barajas Airport (what a mouthful!) - also the largest airport in Europe. We could tell straight away as it took the plane 15-20 minutes to get to the actual airport from the runway.

Anyways, we flew with hand luggage so we didn't faff around at baggage collection and went straight to the taxi rank.

First of all the taxi was €30?! How ridiculous. That was the standard rate for travelling into the city. It was about 20 minutes and we arrived near the apartments we booked. It was on one of the roads where it is pedestrian only, so we only walked a few minutes down.

We were staying right in the city centre and although it is usually very expensive, we found a really cheap deal for this place that wasn't too bad! We were going to be out pretty much all of the time so we didn't want to splurge unnecessarily on a fancy hotel. We stayed at the Fuencarral Apartments on Calle Fuencarral - if you wanted to book.

After checking in, getting settled and freshening up, we went exploring. First thing we noticed is that there is an abundance of shopping! If you want to splurge on clothes, Madrid is the place to visit. We went walking on Gran Via, one of the main high streets.







 Walking around the streets and busy roads, it reminded me of London... on steroids. And warmer. Oh and Spanish people obviously. Speaking of which, that was another thing to note. Everyone speaks Spanish. There were barely any people who spoke English. We even had issues understanding the host at our apartment check-in.




We also took a stroll around the Plaza de España, which had lots of interesting fountains, structures and statues to look at.

The next morning we got up and decided to hop on to an open top tourist bus for €21. This worked out quite well as it was kind of like a taxi service with free headphones as well as being informative. I was surprised at how much history and culture that the capital city of Spain holds. The entire city is an architect's haven - or if you just appreciate pretty buildings and roundabouts - it is just breathtaking to look at.














 This is the Palacio de Cristal, in the Retiro Park. I think it is a hidden gem and you'll only really come across if you are walking around for a while. Definitely something to watch out for if you are visiting as it is such a low-key location and wasn't too packed with tourists!

All I thought about when visiting Spain is having a really good authentic tapas. However, after walking past at least 10 restaurants - all of the tapas places looked like butchers shops. It was a vegetarians nightmare!! As you may have guessed, we did not try any.

Another point about food... not many places did chips in Madrid. If you ask for chips, you'll get a plate of crisps (unless you are in McDonalds!).



On the final day, I was craving churros and since we were in Spain I knew I had to have it before we left for the airport. So, we went to Chocolateria, San Gines. I really enjoyed them but others had mixed feelings. I guess churros are a hit or miss for some!


Also had a little walk around Plaza Mayor, which was quite interesting. There were a lot of entertainers around. One was a gladiator and greeted us just as we walked in by pointing a sword at my dad's neck! Another was a man in a tinsel covered goat costume - a bit weird but still funny to look at for about five minutes.. and then it became annoying.



We also got to experience Spanish metro's. It was similar to London, but less congested and air conditioned! Was quite a pleasant experience and wasn't too expensive either.


And it was already time to go home! In a nutshell, there was a lot to see, not much to eat but a lot to spend your money on, somehow.

Annoyingly, our flight back to Birmingham was delayed by an hour. But, it was a great 3 day(ish) trip!

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