I loooove Madrid!
Trip Start Aug 27, 2007
67Trip End Jan 30, 2008
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Where I stayed
Madrid is my favorite European city! I was really suprised and didn't expect to love it as much as i did. The architecture is indescribable! Literally, haha i can't describe it, i dont know the difference between all the different styles, but it is truly beautiful, amazing buildings! A few big wide tree lined boulevards.. fountains.. gorgeous parks.. And everyone i came in contact with was incredibly friendly! i had no problems using my Spanish and even though i've never taken formal spanish lessons i could get by just fine. i think it helps coming from california!! i imagine it's a difficult and fustrating city to get around for travelers from, say, Ausralia who never have had any exposure to spanish because everything is written in only spanish, imagine that
When i arrived in Madrid, it was about an hour and 15 minute journey switching the metro 3 times! I stayed at Cat's Hostel off of one of the main streets, but i really didn't have to worry about booking ahead because it seemed like every other building had a hostel in it, i'd never seen so many. Cat's is a cool hostel, the building is two story and the decoration is interesting, very laid back chill out kind of thing. And they have their own bar. The first night it was late, and i jsut went to burger king!! yes i know, and i went to mcdonalds a couple of times over the next couple of days, but you don't understand i had been eating greek food for 3 weeks and hadnt had any fast food for a month! i felt like a stupid american tourist but oh well, it was sooo good! And there was a little 'casino' across the street too!! so of course i had to check that out, but it was the kind of slot machines that i dont get so i just spend 5 euro and that was enough.
The next day i rode around on the hop on hop off city tour bus, always a good way to get oriented in a new city. I spent the majority of the afternoon shopping on the Grand Via and around that area, there are over 50,000 shops in Madrid ( i think that was the number..) so i barely made a dent .
The next day i did the other route on the hop on hop off bus. The best though is just to walk around admiring all the interesting buildings and shops. Ham is everywhere, I'm not sure why, but it's popular alright. There are lost of 'Jamon Museo's' a Ham museum?? but its a shop to buy all kinds of pork products. I actually did not eat any of it though because some of the shop windows there will be an actual whole baby pig in the window, and the imagine of that will be burned in my memory forever!! So like i said i had mcdonalds a few times, thai, japanese, and spanish once. I know i know i should have tried spanish more but there wasnt enough time. I spent a lot of time shopping, i was supose find a jacket but i couldn't find jsut the right one, so i spent the time freezing, again.
The next day i had booked an all day tour of Toledo, and i show up at the office extra early, wait and wait around, 5 minutes past departure time still waiting.. turns out that im the only one that booked that paticular tour so they had to cancel it. Of course that is my luck with tours you know. So i had to pay 8 euro extra to go on the tour that was leaving immediatly and it was to Avila and Segovia. I wasn't too picky at least i'd get to see a few more places.
It was mostly churches and have seen enough to last a lifetime and then some so i really have no interest in that, except for the catholic ones with the relics of bones , now that is cool!
In Segovia we went to Saint Theresa of Jesus or something, and the only thing i found interesting about that one was the relics, they had her finger, 500 years old, with a ring on it
Anyway so the other church in Avila was St. Vincents and the interesting thing about that one was that it was built on the site of where vincent and 2 other children were crucified. And I think he was 13 or 15. I asked why was this child made into a saint, and the guide really didn't give an adequate answer except that it was because he was young. So i don't know what the qualifications to become a saint but they aren't strict. Millions and millions of people have been tortured and slaughtered over religion including children so i was just wondering why just this one was granted sainthood. ok moving on from that. ....
It was an alright tour, i was freezing most of the day because it was cold and raining and i had no jacket the only choice was a selection of sweatshirts at a gift shop and i didnt want to go around wearing a shirt that said 'avila' in 10 inch letters, so i bought the only other option, a giant shaw/scarf thing, purple. Very pretty indeed. I looked like barney with the thing wrapped all around me. And the group once again was about 20 old people and me, i really need to research my tour companies more so i can meet other backpackers!!
i'm sure there is a lot more i can say about my time in Madrid but i cant' recall it all at the moment and don't have enough time so i will have to come back and update it later, as i said im in africa now so i probably wont get any new pictures up for a while either!!