Madrid, Spain

Posted By on Aug 21, 2014 | 0 comments


Walk to station, buy ticket, wait for train, get on train. The usual.

 

Friends from the Get Go
When I got on the train 2 guys sat down in the seats across from me. They were my age and both very cute. I figured I’d start a conversation given that we were on a train to the same destination.

They were ‘Murican, born in Chicago – brothers. The older brother, Zach, was actually a writer and had been traveling for a year while he finished a novel. The younger one, Grant, was going to school in Texas and was just in Europe for a short trip to visit his nomad brother.

We did not talk a whole lot on the train since we all had writing to be doing (book editing, social media posts, and travel blogging) but we did talk enough to opt to continue the conversation post-train.

When we got to Madrid we were catching the same metro as well. Turns out their hostel was only 3 stops (or a 20 minute walk) from mine. We exchanged Facebook names and agreed to meet up later.

 

MuchoMadrid Hostel

The 7th floor of the building the MuchoMadrid hostel is in. Pretty snazzy.

MuchoMadrid Foyer

My hostel was only half a block from the Santo Domingo metro station, which was extremely convenient. I walked in to a beautiful business-looking building and checked the room map on the wall. MuchoMadrid was on the the 7th floor. I took a very fancy elevator up to a very fancy landing and knocked on a not as fancy door. A nice lady not much older than me welcomed me and checked me in. I was in a room with 4 single beds (no bunks) that was very spacious and had 2 lockers available for each. I dropped all my stuff, settled in, added the boys on Facebook, and decided a nap was in order.

I was napping for maybe half an hour when I got a ‘ping’ on my phone. Grant was asking what was up. I had wanted to nap a little longer but I was also famished and asked if he wanted to grab a bite. Cheers to not eating alone!

I thought both brothers would be coming to eat but when I got off the train at their stop (where we were meeting) only Grant was there. I guess Zach was having a nap. Lucky B*. No matter. Grant seemed like a nice guy.

Grant and I walked just around the corner and found a place that served burritos and fajitas for only 4 euros. Done. I got a vegetarian burrito and a water for only 6 euros. I liked Madrid already.

We talked over ‘dinner’ and went through the whole ‘what’s your story’. I made fun of him for the extreme amount of protein powder posts he had on his page and he called me a goodie for not drinking. I guess we were labelled.

 

Wandering Madrid
(Yes, ‘Wandering ____’ is officially a subtitle that is going to happen)

An adorable restaurant set up in Plaza Mayor. Really gives the square a welcoming feeling at night.

Plaza Mayor Patio Madrid

Grant and I decided to explore the city a little bit while we waited for Zach to wake up. We walked all around the area getting lost in side streets, sitting in brightly lit squares (since now it was dark), talked about life goals, labelled each other a little more, and overall enjoyed each others company. Plus, he was hot so that didn’t hurt.

Another memorable monument in the streets of Madrid, Spain.

Plaza Mayor Monument

During our wander we found Plaza Mayor and the Marcat de San Miguel – two stops on my ‘to do’ list, so that was a bonus – and they were both beautiful. I would certainly be returning in the light of day.

We walked back to his hostel, ‘The Way’, to see if Zach was up yet. He was! They had plans to go to a club but I was still exhausted (since I never did get my nap) so I just hung out with them while they had a few home-drinks at the hostel (which was bigger than mine and clearly a party environment).

When they were about ready to go Grant offered to walk me back to my hostel. I agreed (since the metro closes before midnight in Madrid).

It was a beautiful walk back and at my door we made plans to hang out again tomorrow – assuming he would be up at a decent hour.

I was happy to get back to my quiet, quaint, and homey little hostel.

 

Waking up sick
Well, it was not Grant who was not up at a decent hour, it was me. I slept 12 hours and woke up with a very sore throat and swollen glands… Great. I had 2 cups of camomile tea and a hot shower to try to easy my pain and get the day started, since it was now already 1pm.

 

Park Day

Overlooking Madrid from our lookout point at the top of the stairs.

Overlooking Madrid

I checked my phone and asked Grant what him and Zach were up to. I guess Zach was busy working for a bit so Grant came and met me in my ‘hood’. We walked through some nice parks and took picture of monuments (even though I’ve seen so many on my trip, I still love them). We found a winding path that went up a steep hill. I figured this would be good for a nice overlook and, although I was not feeling well, decided it would be worth the trek.

At the top there was a beautiful view of Madrid including the Royal Palace. We gazed over it for a while and then continued on. Just a few minutes down the path I decided I needed a break. We sat on the grass in a park under a tree and drank some water….

And this is where we stayed…

Where we took a long breather and rested the day away in the park.

Resting Park Madrid

For more than 2 hours…

Grand doing what we did for 2 hours in the park in Madrid.

Grant in the Park

Just laying on the grass enjoying each others company, picking grass, watching a guy play hackie sack, staring at birds, and just… hanging out.

One of our friends for the day at the park in Madrid, Spain.

Madrid Park Pigion

It was probably the most perfect day I could have had that day.

The Temple of Debod - found right beside our resting park. Lucky.

Temple of Debod

I was starting to get hungry and he had to go get his laundry so we decided to call it a day. Him and his brother were planning to go to a big club tonight, since the one they went to the night before was closed. I figured I’d be up for a bar night and a 7 story club sounded pretty cool. He said he was going to nap and that he would message me when they were getting ready to go.

On the way back we passed the Temple of Debod – another checkmark for my list.

 

A Waste or a Blessing?
I walked back towards my hostel and stopped at a 10 euro ‘All U Can Eat’. The food was pretty brutal but it filled me up and it was cheap and came with water and desert, so I can’t complain.

I went back to my room and decided to lay down.

I woke up a few hours later around 10pm. People here don’t really go to clubs until midnight so I decided to just slowly get ready, have a shower, drink some more tea, and go online.

By 11:30 I got a message saying that they were awake. I asked if I should head over there or what the plan was. Half an hour later he said they were getting ready. Half an hour after that I messaged him and asked again, saying that I wouldn’t last too much later waiting. And just after 1am I got a message saying that they planned to get hammered and thought it would be awkward for me…

Are you kidding me? Why does everyone think that since I don’t drink I can’t have a good time? And why did it take an hour and a half after waking up to come to that conclusion? I was really looking forward to a night out since today was such a lazy day. I had gotten ready, gotten dressed, put make up on, everything. And now he was pretty much saying not to come? I was pissed. Was it because during out ‘grass date’ I had said I wouldn’t sleep with someone I didn’t know? And That the 3 date rule still seems short to me? {sigh}. You can never just have a nice time…

The outfit I WOULD have worn if I ended up going out in Madrid.

Madrid Club Outfit

So… UNready I got. Took off the make-up, got back into my pajamas, and put my hair up in a bun (but not before taking a few pictures of the awesome night-out look I didn’t get to show anyone). Then I went to bed.

In the end, I think it was probably a good thing since I was actually feeling pretty sick now and a long night in a hot crowded bar may not have helped my throat.

 

Solo Traveler
I was solo yet again. I didn’t want to message the guys since we clearly were on different pages. I had woken up late again after another 13 hour sleep and could not talk when I tried. Crap. Luckily, after 2 more cups of camomile tea I was able to get my words out, although raspy.

I knew I was not going to have a lot of energy today so I figured if I was going to do anything on my last day in Madrid I should probably start now.

The plaza in front of the Royal Palace as well as the 'Palacio Real' itself.

Royal Place Madrid

I headed towards the palace, which was easier to find than I thought. I took a few pictures and sat on a bench for a while to catch my breath. I had less energy than I thought… But I was determined to check off a few things on my list.

Inside of the Marcat De San Miguel where you can get 1 euro tapas.

Marcat De San Miguel

Next stop was the Market. It was also not that hard to find. I went inside and walked around a little bit, got a few 1 euro tapas from the different stands, and chatted briefly with a guy on the stairs while I ate, though I really wasn’t feeling well.

I made a stop-in to Plaza Mayor just around the corner and got a better look at the beautiful paintings on the exterior wall. It really was a neat place.

One of the beautifully painted walls in the Plaza Mayor with many different portraits.

Plaza Mayor in Daytime

That was it for me. My head was starting to hang low and I was dreading the walk home. I did, however, stop into a bag store to get a large duffle bag since the plastic one I’d been using to carry my Venician masks was stretching out. The options were: (1) cheap, (2) practical (with wheels), and (3) fashionable (but expensive). I, of course, got the fashionable one. My justification was that it was also the largest.

NOW can I go home?

Yes.

I went back to the hostel.

 

With new rooms come new adventures
When I came in the lady asked me if I minded switching rooms because the only bed available was in a female dorm and there was a man looking to stay the night. Sure. I didn’t care. I grabbed up all my stuff and changed rooms.

This new room had only 3 beds, which was nice, and only 1 other person.

I put my masks into my new bag along with my towel and Florence purse (good thing I got the biggest one… ha). Then… I crashed.

I woke up a few hours later and decided that tonight was a computer night. I edited a bunch of photos and put up my Barcelona blog. Being sick is productive!

I then went down to a restaurant next door and got a sandwich and fries. The place was really modern and clean and it was exactly what the doctor ordered, plus, a glass of water was free!

When I got back upstairs my new roommate was there. We were both getting ready for bed so there were no light-on, light-off problems. However, when I asked where the remote for the air conditioner was she said she didn’t want it on. Ummm… you are in a dorm room in Madrid in August… you had to expect air conditioners were going to be a part of your life right?

Being the ‘Canadian’ that I am I said “ok” and crawled into bed. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long. I was starting to feel extremely warm and I wasn’t sure if I was getting sicker or the room was boiling over. I found the remote. When I turned it on though, she woke up and asked me to turn it back off. I explained that I could not sleep with it this hot. She said that I could have 1 hour. She took the remote, set it to sleep mode, and put it on her table. Fine. I’d hopefully fall asleep in an hour. I didn’t. She had pretty much turned the temperature to room temperature on the air conditioner. I’d had it. I snuck over, grabbed the remote, and turned it on COLD. She heard the beep and when she started to tell me she didn’t like it I yelled “I DONT CARE!”. I may have overdone it… but i was exhausted and sweating and sick. I didn’t care AT ALL. I even threw her an extra blanket. I did not hear another word from her. TAKE THAT.

One problem… I couldn’t figure out how to take sleep mode off so every hour or so I woke up to a boiling room and had to turn it on again… karma…

 

GET ME TO A BEACH
I made it through the night. She didn’t talk to me the next morning but I, again, did not care. I got ready, ate my breakfast, had some MORE tea, and left for the train to San Sebastian.

Now I am on the train. It is a 7 hour ride. The vending machine only takes coins and I only have bills… My head is pounding. My stomach is growling. My throat is aching. And I just want this blog to be over now… so it is.

 

 

Checklist:

Madrid (2 days)

  • Palacio Real (royal palace)
  • Plaza Mayor
  • Prado Museum
  • Retiro Park – we found our own
  • Gran Via
  • Puerto del Sol
  • Plaza de Cibeles
  • Temple of Debod
  • Mercado de San Miguel

I didn’t do too bad!

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