I could hardly contain my excitement when boarding my first flight to Spain! I visited my younger sister in Madrid, and it was everything you could want in a trip and more. We took a weekend train to Valencia, a beach town on the Mediterranean coast. We ate paella, drank sangria, and wandered the Spanish streets until we couldn’t walk anymore.
Mercado San Miguel was one of my favorite places in Madrid. It is a giant market with all different types of Spanish food, drink, and candy. We ate paella and had little tapas. She picked up some sweet candy to bring back to the apartment. I loved this noisy little indoor market which symbolized everything I had thought I knew about Madrid and more.The food in Madrid and Valencia was amazing: check out my other post on Spanish eats and all of the restaurants we frequented coming in a couple days.
Although it rained on the day we walked all around the city, it was still so much fun to hold an umbrella and twirl around the major plazas, like Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor. We made sure to make plenty of stops into shops along Gran Vía to get out of the rain (and to peruse Spanish clothes and handbags). This is the major shopping street.
Retiro Park and Museo del Prado are two of the other major Madrid attractions. They are absolutely famous for a reason. We got off of the train from Valencia on Sunday afternoon and headed straight to Retiro Park for a little R&R. Tiny rowboats gather on the deep green waters of the lake, funny magicians and street performers entertain hordes of children, and sounds of fresh popcorn being popped by vendors flood your ears. The huge glass house is also worth a walk within the park.
I first heard the words “Museo del Prado” in my high school Spanish classes. I never thought I would actually spend a whole Thursday afternoon gazing at its masterpieces and sculptures! (Actually that’s not entirely true…I always knew I was a traveler). Check out the top 15 must-see paintings and sculptures at this museum in an upcoming post. This museum is A-MAZ-ING. Real life painters set up their easels and paint supplies in front of Velázquez or Goya’s works of art and paint them right in front of museum-goers. I loved this aspect of the museum. Not to mention, most of these painters I had studied or seen before in art textbooks, so it makes it so much more special when I could recognize an art masterpiece.
Other Madrid points of interest include going to a Real Madrid fútbol game, attending a bull fight, seeing a flamenco show, or wandering around the famous El Rastro market on Sunday mornings.
I love Madrid and can’t wait to explore more of Spain like Barcelona, Córdoba, and Seville!