I’m back in town!
I returned from our Spring trip to Spain and Portugal.
Just a week ago.
It feels like a month!!
That happens to you when you travel as much as I do and then return home, ‘cos there’s just so much to dooooooo!
Anyhoo, just in case you missed it all, here’s a reminder:
- Oh what fun! Tapas, Sangria and a food walking tour in Madrid!
- Surprise! I’m travelling to England, Spain & Portugal. Olé!
Now if you recall, I told you that last year, I had been to Spain too and
- How I went to TBEX EUROPE, got abandoned at Barcelona Airport & what I learnt!
- 10 reasons to go to Barcelona – And it’s not only for tapas and sangria, but you know, I’ll take it anyway!
Now returning back to Spain was doubly important ‘cos it was pretty traumatising.
You really couldn’t make it up.
The fact is, whenever you go through an unpleasant time, it leaves a slight taste in your mouth and then you have a negative image of that destination.
The fact is, you begin to think it was that place rather than that airline!
Spain is a great country to go to, and Barcelona is just a thrill.
Spain deserved a second chance!
Now, I’ve only actually been to Madrid once before, and when we did. We almost got robbed!
This time around, we were only in Madrid for three (3) days or 72 hours, and things were much better!
72 HOURS IN MADRID – 72 THINGS TO DO! OH GOD!
- If you’re flying into Madrid, take the Línea Exprés or the Airport Express bus which is easy to use. It costs just €5.00 per passenger and you can pay for it on the bus! The express bus runs from the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport to the Atocha-RENFE transport hub in Madrid city centre, and takes roughly 40 minutes.
- Check into your hotel. Even though Madrid is expensive, I still think it’s best to stay in the centre rather than the suburbs, as it’s more economical in the long run, with your time! I finally managed to find a hotel that could fit the three (of) us into one (1) room, was within walking distance of the sights and only cost €88.00 per night! It wasn’t of the quality that I’m used to, but was a hostal, Spanish in style and definitely did the job! I’m not going to write about the hostal on my blog, but if you want the name, just contact me via the usual way!
- Walk around to get your bearings.
- To feel welcome in Spain, first and foremost, follow the locals and try out the tapas.
- After that, learn the origin and history of tapas.
- Take a walking tour to get the lowdown and the ins and outs of Madrid. You all know how I loooove a walking tour…!
- Or simply stroll around. You know how I slather over a ramble or two ..!
- Find yourself a good hotel that won’t cost the bank and is in the city centre.
- Go to a flamenco show. It’s a rustic type of Spanish Romany dance and full of emotion.
- Drink up and try the local Tinto de Verano. It’s a bit like sangria, but refreshingly better!
- If all else fails, just go for the sangria itself. It’s cheap. It’s local. What more do you want?!
- Visit the best museum that Madrid, if not Spain, has! Yes, the Museo Nacional Del Prado. The Museo del Prado has the largest and most important collection of Spanish paintings in the world! It was marvellous, we spent about four (4) hours there, and enjoyed it very much!
- If you have a student card, bring it with you as there are student discounts galore, or free entry in pretty much every government building.
- Bring the family as Spain loves children and large families. In fact, visitors with “large families” could get into some museums either at a huge discount or for free!
- Go to the centre of Madrid which I would consider to be the Plaza Mayor.
- Take along your camera as everywhere you look is pretty photogenic.
- Buy yourself a spanish hand fan known as an abanico.
- If you like art then you won’t be disappointed in Madrid’s Avenue of Art which consists of the Prado, the Reina Sofia, the Thyssen museums and the Caixa Forum architectural foundation.
- Look for Salvador Dalí. Dalí was a master of surrealism, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and can be found in unusual spaces everywhere in Madrid and all over Spain!
- Go to the Reina Sofia Museum, which is home to one of the most important collections of Spanish art, from both the 20th and 21st centuries. Sadly, I didn’t have time to do so on this visit, but YOU should!
- I’m not one to judge but if you want to experience a torrero or bull-fighting, then Madrid is the place to do it! I went on my very first visit to Spain. It was heart-breaking and I wouldn’t go again, but I can see why Spanish people do. It was pretty much a local outing with families on a day out, eating their sandwiches!
- Visit the Palacio Real de Madrid or the Royal Palace which is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family.
- Look up and observe the neo-classical buildings such as the 1806 mansion that now houses the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum!
- Try your voice at the Royal Opera House otherwise known as the Teatro Real.
- Have a meal at the Sobrino de Botín. Founded in 1725, it is the oldest restaurant in the world and is even in the Guinness Book of Records!
- Learn about the Spanish Inquisition because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
- Check out Madrid’s amazing architecture.
- Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens.
- Get dreamy walking through the garden statutes of the old kings and queens in the neoclassical-style Sabatini Gardens.
- Hire yourself a rowing boat and sail on the Retiro Park Lake.
- Take photographs of the pigeons but try not to feed them, except if there’s a festival in town!
- Admire all the beautiful art in the ceilings of ancient buildings.
- Be astounded by the history of the Spanish Civil War.
- Learn about Spain’s Arab history.
- Visit the Moorish ruins.
- Go see the original Jewish Quarters.
- Go to a local tavern and get drunk on beers that cost just 50 cents a glass!
- Learn about Don Quixote and the climax and decline of Spain’s golden age.
- Learn all about Spain’s dictators and despots.
- Understand the passion of Spanish music.
- Learn Spanish.
- Take a bus city tour as there are many to choose from.
- If you’re going to visit many sights, get a Madrid Card.
- Get metro tickets if you want to move around. Single tickets are a mere €1.50 and are easy to use.
- Go to the El Rastro flea market – Madrid’s oldest and most iconic street market for knicks and knacks. Open only on Sunday!
- Get a snack at any local street or farmers’ market.
- Be a monk for a day and visit the many monasteries and convents in Madrid.
- Visit the Temple of Debod or the Templo de Debod which is an ancient Egyptian temple which was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid!
- If you’re into football (soccer) then the holy grail Real Madrid Club de Fútbol otherwise known as Real Madrid FC and a visit to the football stadium, is a must.
- For that delicious taste of goodness, go to a chocolatería and get yourself a local titbit known as a churros con chocolate, which is a churro dipped in a lovely thick cup of dripping hot chocolate. More about that in a few weeks!
- Check out the night life in Madrid.
- Spanish people eat late, join them and go to a restaurant that is busy with Spanish locals.
- Try something new.
- Take photographs at night.
- Say Hola to a stranger!
- Buy a few beers to take to your hotel but remember, no alcohol can be sold at a supermarket, after 22:00!
- Go to a wine bar at midnight.
- Take a photograph with a headless man or “a human statute”!
- Watch out for the outrageous prices of freshly pressed juice. In some cases, as much as €4.00 per glass!!
- If you’re not a vegetarian, gorge yourself on as many slices of meat as you wish. At some point, even our teenage boy thought that it was too much…
- If you’re a vegetarian. Ah well…! Or check out what Franca & Dale have to say!
- If you’re at a local bar, make sure that they serve you the accompanying tapas… which in some cases is just a tincan of chips or some sort of salami.
- Wear suncream and take a hat. It was raining while we were in Madrid, but it’s usually, very, very hot!
- If you’re short on funds, most museums and art galleries, open their doors free to the public from 18:00 – 20:00. Some of them even earlier, and many on Sunday. Prepare to queue!
- Respect the fact that Spain is a catholic country and takes its’ religion quite seriously.
- Watch out for parades and festivals. Everytime that I’ve been to Spain, there was always something going on..!
- Drink the Asturian Cider and try out the Spanish tradition where dry sidra is served by a peculiar “throwing” method, in which an expert escanciador (waiter) will pour the drink from a great height, splashing it onto the side of the glass to aerate it, giving it a mousse-like texture akin to champagne. I’m told that it can only be found in certain parts of the country, poured in a certain way, collected in a glass, and drunk straight from the barrel!
- Go to a local tavern where the eating area is at a hidden area at the back of the bar, nobody speaks English, and the fixed “menú del día”or menu of the day was just €13.50 for three (3) courses and a huge glass of wine. Olé! !
- Make sure to try the paella because if you haven’t tasted the real stuff, you haven’t been to Spain!
- Go to the Atocha Train station which is the largest railway station in Madrid and quite curious as it has a 4,000 square meter botanical tropical garden in a glass enclave that dates back to 1851! It has shops, cafés, a nightclub, and over 7,000 plants, a pond with 22 species of fish cute baby turtles! It really was such a surprise!
- If you’re leaving Madrid by train, ensure you leave plenty of time, as the train station has luggage security control akin to airport security. We didn’t know this and had about 20 minutes to get to our train which we couldn’t find! After much wringing of hands, and going through security control three (3) times, we finally made it with two (2) minutes to spare! Phew!
- There be wolves a mere 40 miles from Madrid. Go and find them!
So there you have it:
72 HOURS IN MADRID – 72 THINGS TO DO! OH GOD!
This article is isn’t sponsored and the delightful time that I had in Madrid, is my very own!
In the summer I’ll be going to Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and possibly Russia!
In the next few weeks, I’ll be telling you all about Seville and the tempting yummy food of Spain!
In April, I’ll be going to theatres, performances, shows, and concerts galore.
I’ll tell you all about it next week!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in April wherefore art thou! Yep! It’s the 400th birthday anniversary of William Shakespeare!
April is going to be spectacular!
Watch this space!
Which of these things would you do? Have you ever been to Madrid? Did you expect the Spanish Inquisition?
See you in Berlin.