On Thursday morning my mother and me headed off to the airport to catch the 12 pm flight to the capital of Spain. We were both very excited to escape the rain for a weekend and very were looking forward to a weekend full of tapas, sightseeing and shopping. I definitely went overboard on the tapas (and the dessert) but that's what holidays are for, right? Madrid has been on my travel bucket list for a very long time and I was so excited that I finally had the chance to explore it. And we were pretty lucky when it came to the weather - we had plenty of sunshine and only a few hours of rain on Friday. It felt amazing to enjoy a cup of coffee in the sun on Plaza Mayor. I wish I could have packed the weather into a suitcase to bring it back home with me. Anyway let's talk about Madrid.
When we arrived at Madrid airport we took a taxi to the hotel because the weather was lovely and we wanted to enjoy the last hours of sunshine. After admiring the view from the roof terrace of our hotel we walked to Puerta del Sol, a busy place that is considered the centre of the city. Luckily it was Thursday so it wasn't too crowded. After taking some time to explore we found a little bakery that offered mouthwatering cakes and pastry.
We were really hungry after the flight so we couldn't resist buying some cake and pastry. I went for one of the 'Torteles de Mazapan' which tasted amazing - why can't we have that at our local bakery? Also look at the way they wrapped the cake - it took me a while to untie the knot but still, how cute is that? Cake with pretty wrapping is probably every blogger's dream. (I had to resist the temptation to instagram it.)
We spent the afternoon at Plaza Mayor which is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Madrid. The architecture was stunning and there were restaurants, tapas bars and cafés all around the plaza. We decided to sit outside and ordered some patatas bravas and a tortilla espanola which was just as good as the cake we had eaten earlier. I also loved how busy this place got in the evening with everyone walking around looking for a good place to eat. I would love to visit again in summer just to have dinner and cocktails outside.
The next day we had breakfast at a Spanish restaurant that we had found in our guide book before walking to the Museo del Prado, the main national Spanish art museum. It took a while to get inside because the queue was crazy long but once we were inside we were blown away by the architecture of the building and of course the paintings - some of them covered an entire wall and a lot of them were incredibly detailed. Oh how much I wish I was any good at painting. We also walked through an area where many artists had lived back then and I finally found the perfect chair for blogging.
After spending some hours at the art museum we walked to the nearby station which was also home to a botanical garden that was in the centre of the station. If I had to take a train from this station I wouldn't mind it being late - I would grab a bite to eat and watch the turtles and the fish. A very calming thing to do considering that turtles hardly move.
Speaking of food - in the evening we went to El Corte Inglés, a Spanish department store chain that can be found in several places of Madrid. The one we went to was special though because if you took the elevator up to the ninth floor you could dine with a fantastic view over the city. And the choices of food are endless: there is a Mexican café, a Spanish one, a cocktail bar and you can even buy ice cream or macarons, which is what I went for in the end. I never knew there were that popular in Spain - you could even buy them at McDonald's (or more specifically, McCafé) at the airport. Needless to say, that made me very happy because macarons are my favourite kind of sweets.
The next day we spent the morning walked down Gran Via, having an English breakfast at one of the cafés and exploring the city further - one of my favourite things about Madrid is that everything is within walking distance. We stopped at Plaza de Cibeles to take pictures of the famous Cybele Palace, the city hall of Madrid. Having taken at least 1000 pictures we continued walking towards Retiro Park. Before entering we had lunch at a café called Cappuccino and even though I tried not to talk pictures of my food all the time, I couldn't help it - the nachos looked too good and I have never been served fries in a flower pot - such a brilliant idea, though. I will write a separate blog post about Retiro Park, so keep your eyes peeled for that. x
On the morning of our last day we decided it was time for a Spanish tradition and went to the famous Chocolateria 'San Ginés'. Apparently we weren't the only ones in mood for churros and a hot cocoa so the place was packed. We got to sit in the downstairs area that looked like an ancient train wagon and enjoyed our healthy (cough) breakfast. If you ever get the chance to visit Madrid, make sure to eat some churros at this place or just go for a typically Spanish hot chocolate (which pretty much tastes like melted chocolate.)
On our last day we took the Metro to explore Madrid's most popular flea market, Rastro. As you can imagine from the picture, we weren't disappointed. The location was beautiful and you could buy many different things - from vintage clothes to decoration. I got a really cool Beatles fan shirt for only 8 Euros and I would have bought more if the market hadn't closed at 3 pm. I admit we spent too much time eating Churros haha. Anyway, I had a great weekend in Madrid and I already miss the nightlife, the amazing Spanish breakfast and the laid back atmosphere. I really hope I can visit again soon, this is a city that might not offer as many sights as NYC but that is still impossible to forget - for me it was definitely love at first sight.