Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Madrid: Walking & Munching


As exams are over, my mum was really kind to give my sister (Sonya) and I a holiday treat to MADRID! Flights were 55 euros return and we booked a beautiful airbnb for 116 for 4 days/3 nights for the both of us in a private room (1 double bed and 1 single bed) in an apartment in downtown Madrid. Our host, Gisela, and her boyfriend, Naka, were really welcoming and definitely gave us top quality treatment!

The only downside was, our flight was at 6AM in the morning from Dublin and so we were up from 3:30AM! 


Our tummies were rumbling after the long journey so we popped by a cute little cafe around the corner from our Airbnb and got a delicious spread of breakky-goodness. Toast with an intriguing dip, half a ham and cheese toasty, yoghurt with granola and grapes, and freshly squeezed orange juice. 


Not to forget, 
our very much craved cup of coffee was finally able to be consumed.


We wandered through the streets of Madrid, popping into any shop which tickled our fancy (they just happened to be all food related)


As you can see - an assortment of churros-related goodies.


We also popped by cute little stores which had random items that you never knew existed but you suddenly felt the compulsion to buy the item for its necessary use.


We stopped by several famous food-related locations which have been around for a long time!

La Mallorquina a bakery which has been around since 1894.



Chocolateria San Ginés

The famous place for delicious chocolate con churros (churros with hot chocolate) which has also been there since 1894.


We then headed to Plaza Mayor to meet up with Sandeman's Free Walking Tour guide, Sebastian!


We bumped into four other Irish lads, Adam, Diarmuid, Eoin, and Lorcan who were also on the tour and just finished with their university exams as well! So was interesting to get to know them as well on the trip :)


Sebastian brought us to the oldest operating restaurant in the entire world! It begun in 1725 and is still serving good food till this day!

Restaurante Sobrino de Botin


We walked through the different alleys scattered all over Madrid and managed to see some beautiful murals.



One of them had these words sprayed on the wall:-

Fui sobre agua edificada mis muros de fuego son.
'On water I was built, my walls are made of fire' 

signifying the origins of Madrid whereby the city was built on top of a large water source discovered by the Moorish people in the past while its walls are made of flintstone.


We headed to

Plaza de la villa
which was an amalgamation of different architectures which illustrates the impact of how the different cultures (Christian, Muslim, and Jewish) were what made Madrid's culture what it was in the past.

 

We then stopped by one of my favourite buildings, 

Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena,
A Catholic cathedral which went through numerous different times of construction resulting in its mix matched state.

We did way more on the tour than I've said but there was just so much information it was almost impossible to remember all the historical events told by the tour guide, Sebastian. He was, however, an amazing tour guide who really engaged with everyone on the tour and told the historical facts of the city in a really interactive way - DEFINITELY A THUMBS UP!


After all that walking, our tummies needed refilling - So we stopped by the infamous El Tigre which gives you FREE TAPAS with any purchase of a beverage! (absolutely insane)


So Sonya and I got a sangria for a fiver and got all these food free.
Chopped up fried potatoes, chorizo, tortilla de patatas!


We then finished off the day by passing by the Puerta de Alcala and headed into Parque de El Retiro for a stroll.


Surprisingly, we didn't realise there was a museum within the park and it had free exhibitions going on by the artist Remy Zaugg.


Also within the park, there was the Palacio de Cristal.


which also had its own quirky exhibitions within.

So much was done and it was only our first day in Madrid.
Next up:- SEGOVIA!

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