"Not all those who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dayover in Madrid

We arrived to Madrid, Spain at 7am and had to catch our bus out of Madrid at 10:30pm, so we decided to make the most of it. We crammed our bags into a locker at the bus station and we were free to explore.

We sipped a cafe con leche (espresso with frothy milk, similar to a petite latte) while we waited for the rest of Madrid to wake up. 

We made our way across the city of the center to Parque del Buen Retiro. It's a vast and beautiful park, packed with trees, statues, and a small man made lake. Our favorite hidden treasure in the park was one of the only statues of Lucifer, the fallen angel. It sits 666 meters above sea level...

Then we ventured to Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, passing through the vibrant Mercado de San Miguel on the way. It was packed with produce, fresh fish, meat, cheese, bread and fresh fruit juices. We sipped a coconut strawberry juice on the way to the church. The ceiling of the church was painted by Goya, who is now buried under the alter of the church. We couldn't take any pictures inside but it was a beautiful display of a scene of heaven.

It was about time for a late lunch. But on our way we bumped into Palacio Real, where the royalty of Spain used to live. We were timely and got to see the changing of the guard!

It took longer than expected to make it to lunch and we were starved. We went ino a standup meatery, serving locals what we made out to be a 'working man's lunch. We were overwhelmed by the huge menu and ended up with two beers and an order of fries. We snacked on those (without ketchup) but weren't satisfied so we continued to wander and bumped into an authentic Mexican restaurant on a side street. We couldn't pass it up. We dined on sangria and a big order of veggie fajitas. We went from famished to stuffed!

We strolled to the area around the famous art museum in Madrid, the Prado. The Prado is free from 6-8pm everyday, so we took full advantage. After lounging in the beautiful surrounding lawn, we hopped in line to see the work of Caravaggio, Goya, and Rembrandt, just to name a few. The museum is huge and we only had two hours so we by no means gave everything the attention it deserved but our favorite paintings were by Goya, his dark period. The paintings use mainly dark colors and are eerie. They depict people starving, fighting, being evicted, all dark subjects. Included in this room was Goya's famous version of Saturn devouring his son. You can easily find it online. It's startling but easy to look at for a long time.

After our time at the Prado we had to make our way back across central Madrid to the bus station. On our way we popped in to a market and grabbed fixings for a snack dinner at the bus station.

By the time we boarded our bus we were exhausted, and we were fortunately able to take up two seats each for most of the trip and stretch our legs out. After the overnight bus we woke up in Barcelona.


Will and Katie

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