I surprise myself that I am writing about Madrid last when it was one of the very first places that I went to visit outside of Catalunya last October. My bright young cousin Brittany had decided to teach english in Spain for a year just in line with my B-School adventure, so I was very happy to have an opportunity to visit family while I’m in Europe. There’s nothing like the bond that we have and close moments we can share. Since Britt was having a hard time adjusting to here first time abroad and away from home, this was the perfect opportunity to get her out and about and enjoying her new city.
We started my long weekend visit with a trip to Mercado de San Miguel. It was amazing to visit a city outside of Barcelona and talk to the vendors. The language was much clearer and easier to understand for me without the influence of Catalan. I felt much more secure in my Spanish skills in such a short period of time. This market has everything you could possibly want from fresh fruits, to hams and cheese and churros con chocolate (which we tried immediately!) and beautiful structure of wood and steel. Unlike in the US, the churros are served with hot chocolate not a thick dipping sauce.
Palacio Real was great to view from a far as the line was incredibly long and we wanted to take full advantage of the city.
Next we made our way to Retiro Park in at attempt for an afternoon botellón (a.k.a. socially drinking in public), but the bottle opener had other plans for us. What I thought would be a good novel and useful gift, turned out to be a waste of money. The head of the bull broke off as we were trying to open the bottle. One lovely Spanish couple tried to help us get it out but unfortunately we were screwed (pun intended!). Oh well! At least we got to enjoy a nice day in the park!
The next day was much more dreary so we used it as an opportunity to visit a museum. After a nice lengthy brunch we took a long visit to famous El Prado and covered every square meter of it! It really was worth the visit and even better, we got in for free! It was a great weekend with a lot of sightseeing packed in, but with the chill of oncoming winter getting to my bones I was glad to get on the plane and head back to sunny Barcelona where you never experience such a thing.