!Hola amigos! As many of you know I will be studying abroad in Sevilla and am oozing with excitement to be there already! However, you can’t be in Spain without visiting its most well known city, Madrid! Madrid is the epicenter of Spain; being both the epitome of metropolitan city life while at the same time being full of history and culture.
The first half of my day in Madrid was spent on a walking tour of the city which started out in La Puerta del Sol, the heart of Madrid’s historic center. This was the perfect spot to start a walking tour of Madrid, as it is conveniently close to all the important sights in the city such as La Plaza Mayor, Plaza de los Cibeles, and many others. In la Puerta del Sol you can find anything from historic buildings like la Casa de Correos to street performers, hotels, and many stores to shop at. In the middle of the plaza there is a statue of King Charles III who came into power of Spain in 1716 and can be attributed to making Spain prosper and having Spain be recognized as a nation rather than a collection of territories.
After spending some time learning about the history behind the reign of King Charles III, we made our way over to Plaza de Oriente. Here is where the royal palace is located, once home to the previous kings of Spain, to our surprise we were informed that in present time the king of Spain and the Royal family do not reside here and instead they reside in a different palace in the outskirts of Madrid, meanwhile the royal palace is only used for state ceremonies.
After a few hours of walking around the city and learning its rich history we made a pit stop at the Mercado de San Miguel, which was my favorite place to eat in the city! Being there felt like a giant sampling contest with every stand offering small portions of different tapas, others seafood, pastries, bocadillos, and any other Spanish foods you can think of at a relatively cheap price! Since it was a chilly and cloudy day I opted for some churros and hot chocolate, which was totally worth the four euros! After making our bellies happy, we went to the Prado Museum and saw the incredible masterpieces of Raphael, Diego Velazquez, Francisco Goya, and El Greco. Sadly we were not allowed to take pictures of their work, so you will have to see their artistic talents for yourself.
Following our visit to the Prado museum we headed to Parque del Retiro which translates to “Park of the Pleasant Retreat” and after a busy long day, a pleasant retreat it was! The park is considered the green lungs of the city with 350 acres of gardens, monuments, sculptures, and fountains. The best part of the park is the artificial pond in front of the monument of King Alfonso XII, in which you can rent a rowboat for four euros. Considering the cheap price we decided to do so, it was so much fun to paddle along the pond and people watch.
This blog is a bit delayed as I am fairly new to this whole blogging thing, but if you are interested in reading more about my time in Spain and the rest of Europe make sure to keep an eye out as I will be trying to post more consistently! Next blog will be about my visit through the ancient town of Toledo and my arrival in Sevilla! Until next time!