It has been week since I returned from my trip to Madrid. I really made the most out of it because the weather was just incredible. Back in Ireland it was miserable and so thirty degrees of sunshine was just right up my street. Perfect way to enjoy a Frapuccino and watch the world go by.
Saturday morning was an early start for me. I was aiming to be at the airport for 5am as my flight was departing at 6.25am. I can never start the day without a coffee so I picked up my coffee at the airport and made my way to the gate. The queue at premium parking was pretty long (everyone seems to be going for it now) and so was the queue at security. However I made it with plenty of time spare because I had non priority anyway.
We landed on time and I had to make my way through the airport to find the Metro stop which was a good bit of a walk. Eventually I got there, purchased my ticket and headed into the city centre. As I had such an early start and Karoline wasn’t arriving until lunch time, I decided to just relax outside Starbucks until I was able to check into our apartment which was directly across from the coffee shop.
The time was heading towards lunch. There was one place I had on my list I wanted to try out. It’s called Rodilla. Before I head away on my trips, I generally write out what I want to see and eat so I have a fair idea and I am not in the complete darkness. This place is supposed to do the best sandwiches. And my source was right. You can imagine the place like Subway. My Spanish isn’t great so I decided to go with the Polo Tandoori which was literally Tandoori Chicken in a wrap. It was absolutely delicious. They are located all around Madrid but the closest to me was Puerta del Sol.
Where to stay in Madrid
The apartment we stayed in was in the dead centre of the city. All attractions were in twenty minutes walking distance. Most of the time I would book a hotel room but in this case, hotels were still quite dear due to the fact it was still summery. So we checked out an Airbnb and we got lucky. We found a gorgeous one just off Puerta del Sol for €60 a night. You couldn’t find anything better than that. I met the girl who showed me the accommodation and handed me over the key. I waited for Karoline, fueled up with some water before we headed out to explore Madrid.
2. El Retiro Park
Our first stop was the El Retiro Park. You can rent a boat for €8 and row on the lake. But because it was so hot we decided against it. I mean I wouldn’t mind having a crisp tan coming home but I think I would have been burnt more than anything else. As well as the lake, you can discover the Crystal Palace. When we visited, it was not open to the public. It’s generally open when there is an exhibition on. The next exhibition is not until 18th October. The park is a great place to unwind and bring a picnic if you wanted to save a bit of money. I find Madrid was inexpensive compared to Ireland anyway.
We walked towards the rose garden. Rose season has nearly come to an end but we could still gasp a bit of the beautiful smell. Tip: Throughout the park, as well as throughout all of Madrid, you will find water taps to refresh or fill up your water bottle. Particularly exploring in this kind of weather it is important to stay hydrated.
3. Atocha Station
Next stop was Madrid’s main train station Atocha. It is know for its tropical gardens. We stopped off for something to eat at Burger King which is located in the train station. We then walked through the tropical gardens, took a few photos and made our way back into the centre of Madrid. That was another little tick off my list I had made.
4. Plaza Mayor
When I did my research on Madrid, I stumbled across Temple De Debod. It promises a great view of Madrid as well as a gorgeous sunset with the temple in the foreground. There was still plenty of time until the sun would set which was not until 8pm. We made a quick stop at Plaza Mayor. Plaza Mayor is Madrid’s most famous square. The best way to take in the square, is to sit down for a little drink in one of the many restaurants and cafes around the square. We went for an ice cream instead. Right beside the square you will find Mercado de San Miguel. Usually used by locals buying fresh food but also great for street food such as Tapas and Paella.
5. Royal Palace
Last stop before heading up to the temple was the Royal Palace. But first some water to fuel up. There were a group of people marching to today’s chart music. We watched them for a little while before walking up the steps to the temple. On Saturday we only saw the back of the royal palace but the next day we walked by it again and captured the front of it. The queue to get in was massive by the way. (the admission is €12 for the ones who are interested in visiting the palace) I am not one who needs to spend money on a landmark to be up closer really. I generally choose wisely what I want to spend my money on.
6. Temple of Debod
As we got to the temple, there was already hundreds of people waiting for the sun to set. There was also another queue to be able to get into the actual temple. You were only allowed to sit around and not step into it, unless you queue at the entrance (free admission). Again I got the photo I wanted which I was happy enough with. The sun set just shortly after 8pm. At that point we were both exhausted. I had been up since 3.45am that day.
We stopped by a local super market on our way back to the apartment to pick up a drink. Last stop for the day was the huge Primark in Gran Via which is a large shopping road. For the evening we picked up a box with three donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts across from our apartment. We didn’t last too long watching a movie before we both headed to bed.
7. Puerta del Sol
The next morning I tried to have a little sleep in but it only lasted until 8am. The joys of being a mum. I was up at 7am as well so managed to get an additional hour. We decided to have a small breakfast in the apartment and have a lunch a bit later on but it was going to a big one as we wouldn’t have time to have dinner. Our flight was just after 5pm. Checkout time in the apartment was 11am. We took it slowly. I picked up a Frapuccino from across the road in Starbucks before we walked down to the famous Puerta del Sol.
Two things I had on my list to see here. One: The bear and the strawberry tree. It is the most famous symbol of Madrid. The reason why it was named like this is, because Madrid stands for “land of the bears”. The second thing I found online that I wanted to capture was the Kilometer Zero. The stone slab is the starting point for Spain’s six national roads being measured.It is also the starting point for Madrid’s streets. The closer you are to the stone slab the lower the street number.
For the best churros go to Chocolatería de San Ginés.
8. La Mallorquina
Also located on the Puerta Del Sol is this cafe called “La Mallorquina”. It is famous for its many cakes and pastries. I kind of ruined my appetite with my Frapuccino so I didn’t pick up one of these delights. It was really busy in there too though. However I would have loved to try the cakes and see what they are like compared to cakes in Ireland and Germany. Every time I go on holidays in Spain the desserts are my favourite part I have to say.
9. Hard Rock Cafe
Last thing on the list was having lunch in the Hard Rock Cafe of Madrid. It is a pricey lunch out but if you compare it to the prices in Ireland, it is actually okay. Plus we didn’t spend too much money that weekend. This was our little treat I suppose. I went for the burger and Strawberry Lemonade. After lunch we slowly made our way to the airport. Maybe we got lucky with the terminal but it was the most chilled security check I have ever experienced. So thumbs up for Madrid airport. Now to plan the next adventure for 2020.