Hola! “Want to go to Madrid?” Sam asked me one random night. Naturally, I said yes. We booked our budget airline tickets and an AirBnB and were off to Espana for the weekend! This was our first weekend trip we took that required us to fly, so there was a little bit of a learning curve.
We got to the Ciampino Airport in Rome about 3 hours too early and nearly threw up in the cab ride to the airport, so we were off to a good start! We walked onto the runway and boarded our Ryanair flight and that was the moment we knew we were in for a wild ride.
We touched down in Madrid around 11 p.m and within the first 5 minutes, I was speaking full Spanish to a cab driver. It was refreshing to speak a foreign language to someone and have them actually know what you’re trying to say. We got to our little, freezing cold, AirBnB and obviously searched for food. We got some Burger King (which we’re not proud of) and passed out in our bed.
We woke up around 9:30 the next morning and headed out to find some breakfast. We got some croissants and I got a delicious orange juice and headed to Plaza Mayor to find our free tour.
Our tour began and took us all over the old city of Madrid. Our guide gave us a lot of historical background of all of our stops which was amazing. We stopped at Plaza De La Villa which was where the town hall was built. She called it “do it later” architecture which I found funny, as many of the buildings here took forever to actually build. She took us to a lot of good view points and at one point, she explained all of the Kings of Spain when the empire was still a huge world power. We then ended the tour right where we wanted to be, in Plaza de Oriente, right next to the Royal Palacio.
The tour was great and it costs 10 euro each, since we obviously tipped her for her great work. The tour is called Sandemans tours and they operate in a ton of European cities! Definitely go on their website to check it out: http://www.neweuropetours.eu
Here are some pictures from the tour:
After the tour, we put our hunger aside and went to the Royal Palace, a place we were dying to visit. It had over 3,000 rooms and was the biggest palace in all of Europe (bet you didn’t know that)! Walking in that place was jaw dropping. Every single room had a theme and was decked out from floor to ceiling. Sadly, we couldn’t take pictures of the rooms inside, but here are some pictures from our visit in places where cameras were allowed.
After that, we visited the Almundena Cathedral. It was very pretty, but definitely nothing special. Here is a picture of the inside and outside:
What we saw next though, that was special…. TAPAS!!
On our tour, our guide told us that tapas were huge in Madrid so we obviously needed to try them. We picked a random restaurant called Restaurante Mercado de la Reina and got amazing tapas and sangria. One was bread covered in 5 different cheeses and another was bread with Iberian ham and melted Brie on top. They were 100% the best things to touch my mouth since I’ve been in Europe. I still dream about them. Peep the pics below!
After that, we continued down the street to the old post office of Madrid called Plaza de Cibeles. Our friend John told us that this place had a great view so we had to check it out. It was sunset when we got up there and the view was amazing. The sun was just setting on the buildings in the distance and it was definitely one of the best views I have seen thus far in Europe. Here are some pictures:
Our full day was just beginning when the sun went down. We decided to go get more tapas! We got some noodles, more sangria, and Cuban chicken. All amazing, as would be expected. Here is a picture of the Sangria (unfortunately, we ate the food way too fast for photos):
We decided that we wanted to try Madrid’s famous dish- paella. We found a place about a mile away and took a nice stroll. It’s crazy how alive the streets are at night in Madrid. Everyone is out getting tapas and drinks and it is just an awesome atmosphere.
However, the atmosphere took a turn when we walked into the “paella place” as we now call it. We arrived at 10:45 and the place was pretty much dead other than 1 family eating. We decided to get the chicken and rabbit paella and when it came out we were speechless. It was probably 20 pounds of paella on that plate. We ate as much of it as we could, but it looked like we barely made a dent in it. When we asked for the check, the waiter was like “was it bad?!”. At that point it was obvious we embarrassed ourselves and probably offended him. The family at the other table was even staring and laughing at us. We basically ran out of that restaurant and we were so embarrassed. After we humiliated ourselves, we went back to the AirBnB and hit the hay.
Now I know a lot of you saw that I was also in Toledo, Spain that same weekend, but I’ve decided to dedicate separate posts since I did so many things there as well.
After we got back from Toledo, Sam and I were beat. We relaxed for a little bit and then went back out for…. TAPAS!
This time, we went to a small place and ordered a few. I tried my first empanada and we also got ham because I am in love with it. We ended up ordering another empanada because the first was so good. Pictured below are the two we got. The first one we got was chicken and then second was ham and cheese.
We moved on to a different place where we got some drinks (great cheap draft beer in Madrid by the way) and we also got bread with ham and cheese. Once again, DELICIOUS. Seriously. Look at the cheese on that thing.
We made our way home & got a few hours of sleep before our 6 am flight home to Rome!
Stay tuned to hear about our day trip to Toledo, Spain in my next post!