SPAIN | Day 2: Madrid

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After a night of sleeplessness from what was either jet-lag or stress due to debating over taking a night bus later that day, I woke up later than I planned. Most roommates disappeared, and I got ready and went to go eat free breakfast. FREE BREAKFAST! Today was my last full-day in Madrid because I had to make it to Málaga the next day. I never walked around Malasaña neighborhood before nor went to Retiro, so those were on my list for the day. I was lucky enough to hang out with friends from all over the world. Josh from Australia, Marianne from Norway, and Dyson a Swedish-dude living in Granada. We went to Retiro first, and I was excited to see the Palacio Cristal.

 

I remember thinking, “We definitely need to take a bus at least one way to the park.” However, with friends at your side, it didn’t take too long to walk a few miles. Looking back, it was only a 20 minute walk! Pretty leisurely if you ask me.  On the way to the park, we saw the Museo del Prado, and a Catholic Church called San Jerónimo el Real. I recall in 2010 going to this museum and learning about El Greco. Actually, have the little guide book on my desk right now as I write. The park wasn’t too far away and as we approached, I won’t forget seeing the tree-shaped broccoli. We definitely spent more time looking at the broccoli trees than we should have. The Crystal Palace was pretty cool so I’m really happy that I got shots of that, although, there were weird things hanging from the ceiling which I unfortunately didn’t understand. *Googling exhibit now.* On the way back, there was this huge book fair so I stopped to get a few prints. Unfortunately, I didn’t think through how I would keep them from creasing in a tiny purse, so they’re pretty crumpled right now.

 

Before heading back to the hostel, we stopped at this coffee shop next to this huge vertical wall full of… foliage. Fittingly, the cafe was called, Vertical Cafe. I got to have an iced coffee along with a reeeeally good empanada. We made one more stop at the Mercado and I recall Josh ordering this really weird gazpacho. Not my thing. I opted for açaí. I dropped a few things in the locker, including two out of three cameras, we picked up another friend, Tanner from New York, and headed to Malasaña neighborhood in order to have lunch. We even stopped at a guitar shop and jammed for a bit.  I remember ordering the albondigas (meatballs) and definitely had more croquetas. ALWAYS GET MORE CROQUETAS. Although really full, there were so many places I could’ve eaten at, but denied all temptation.

 

When heading back to the hostel one more time, we got split up because I decided to try and take a long exposure shot in the middle of an alley. Good thing everyone’s pretty logical and we were able to find each other once again. It was getting late so churros had to happen. Fast. I’ve been wanting to go back to Chocolatería San Gines and since Marianne was leaving for Peru in a few hours, we definitely had to get in all the good stuff. I also never tried Galician beer (Estrella Galicia), let alone much beer because frankly, I’m not a beer person. However, when in Madrid, I had a few sips and it was actually the best I’ve tasted. The ham and chips that were provided were also tasty. We had to say a sad goodbye to Marianne and then we headed back to the hostel. Unfortunately, all the shops closed by this time so I had no chance to go to my favorite shops, ie, Bershka and Pull and Bear. Good for the wallet though.
In a perfect world this would be my bedtime, but unfortunately I did not pay for another night and this was the most stressful part because I knew I would be taking the night bus soon. The night bus. Thirteen dolla night bus. Score. I can’t believe I took this because never would I ever take a night bus to San Francisco, why would I take one to the south of Spain? I got really lucky because Dyson lives in Granada and that’s exactly where I wanted to stop before I had to go to Málaga. Instead of taking a creepy 6-hour rideshare, he bought a ticket for my bus! The team and I headed up to the hostel rooftop where you can order drinks and food, had really good last-minute conversations about life, met a couple of sweet Argentinian girls, and then before you knew it, it was midnight and we had to walk to the bus station. I guess this is where day two concludes so I’ll be sure to pick up where I left off on day three as we are trying to find a bus station.

 

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