Day two in Spain was supposed to be the day I traveled to Consuegra and Toledo in the same day, though I decided I didn’t see everything I wanted to see in Madrid, I was so in love madly, passionately in love with the city, and I’d lost my bus ticket. Do you remember all the (over) planning I did? It all was a lost cause when I left my precious folder with all my precious documents on the plane. That will teach me to be more spontaneous, I guess.
I had only been in Spain a day, and I’d already settled into the low key, laid back attitude of the Spaniards. And I was exhausted. Laura, my friend with whom I was staying in her small European apartment, gave me the key to her apartment with the giant wooden door that featured a small Jesus medallion, and we made loose plans to meet back around 10:30, when she would be done with her evening plans.
I headed to the Reina Sophia museum, which was completely magical. Seeing Guernica, my favorite Picasso painting, was an incredibly moving experience. They don’t let you take pictures, but it’s a massive painting. It’s curated fantastically well, and I could have stood in that room and stared at it for hours.
Instead, though, I saw what I needed to see and left to head to Parque Del Retiro. It was just getting ready to rain, and everything was that beautiful gray color. Contrasted with the bright, spring green hedges, I couldn’t help but feel I was finding my own little secret garden in the city. So much of my trip was spent not only traveling alone, but actually being alone. In gardens, museums, on top of mountains. It was pleasant, eerie, and comforting all at once – but surprisingly never lonely. Everything in the park was magical, and I walked slowly and quietly, the rain drops falling on my skin every now and again. When I met with my friends later that night, I mentioned Retiro and they both sighed. It was, indeed, as magical as I thought – even to locals.
I headed up Gran Via, the main shopping street in Madrid, with intentions of finding a bite to eat. Though I was in a country that is known for their incredible food, I’m historically bad at remembering to eat while traveling. I’ve been known to survive days on hotel muffins. But instead of food, I stumbled upon a giant palace where I noticed people going in. I assumed it was some must-see site and headed in as well to dodge the rain. It was the Palacio del Cibeles, and it was beautiful, had free wi-fi, and an incredible view of Gran Via from the top of a tower that I naturally climbed.
Thanks to twitter, I got in touch with Shana who met me at the Palace, and we strolled down Gran Via and she gave me an incredible tour of this new part of Madrid. We went to Sol, where the origin of all roads in Spain is, Plaza Mayor, El Barrio de la Latina, Marcedo de San Miguel – stopping for tapas and red wine along the way.
At the Market, we ate blue cheese croquettes and drank rioja with an Aussie couple at the communal tables. We had pisto – sautéed veggies and bacon (which, even as long time vegetarian I did not necessarily pick out) served on bread with a fried egg on top. And my personal favorite, thick toasted crusty bread with tomato, caramelized onion, and goat cheese.
In the words of the late, great Kurt Vonnegut, Everything was tapas and nothing hurt.
Page 1 of 1