The past few weeks have been very busy with university, training, coaching, waitressing and attempting to socialize. Somehow I was able to find 48 hours of freedom. I’m 20, I have no real responsibility, so I decided to do what I enjoy the most – broadening my horizons. Armed with a Ryanair ticket in one hand, a small bag in the other, I was ready to conquer Madrid.
One of the perks of being Norwegian, Spanish, English and Jamaican is that I have family everywhere.
Greeted at the airport by my cousin Cris, we jumped straight onto the metro towards town. Nothing says ‘bienvenido a España’ more than tapas. Bocaito, rumoured to be one of the best tapas bars in Madrid certainly lived up to its expectations. Joined by Cris’ housemate Andrea, we indulged in Sangria, calamares, tortilla de patatas and croquetas con jamon. Spanish flavours combined with friendly staff, good music and great atmosphere. What a night.
With such little time, one must make the most of the day. Running from Cris’ apartment to El Retiro Park. The sun was out and I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to absorb all of the beauty that surrounded me. Upon arrival, I was a little disappointed. Half finished features and sad looking bushes was all I saw. Undeterred, I continued to run deeper into the park. Finally, I found what I was looking for, delightful monuments and buildings, a saxophone playing in the distance; it was time for a break. Stretching and watching life go by, my stomach started to rumble.
The only plausible breakfast I could imagine was churros. Treating myself to a portion of churros con chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines, I was in heaven. They were divine. Unfortunately I couldn’t eat them all and had to leave what I had left.
After showering, I jumped on the metro back into town. The metro was incredibly affordable, with 10 trips for €12.20. I spent a large chunk of my day trawling through shops. The most impressive ones were situated on Calle Gran Via. The converted old buildings with grand staircases elevated mundane high street shops to the status of couture designer boutiques.
La Mistura, a stylish little ice cream bar situated in the heart of Madrid, takes the concept of ice cream to a different level. You get to pick your desired topping and flavour, the two are then fused together. I chose cookies an vanilla ice cream. It was like a more divine, freshly made Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough.
Before I knew it, it was evening. With a bird’s eye view of Madrid from the rooftop of the Circulo Bellas artes, the colours of the sunset made the night sky look like an ever-changing canvas. Accompanied by a chic rooftop bar, I would definitely recommend a visit.
Cris, Andrea and I decided to visit El Palacio Real. This was by far the highlight of my trip. The detail put into every room inside the palace was amazing. Each room had a theme and colour scheme, fitted with exquisite chandeliers and murals. In one room the walls and the ceiling were wholly covered with intricate porcelain décor. Everything was so impeccable, it makes you wonder what the main homes of our monarch’s are like.
Finishing my trip the way it started, we decided to get some food. Mercado de San Miguel was our choice this time, filled with various stalls, we took it as a personal challenge to eat as much as possible. Empanadillas, calamares, pizza and frozen yoghurt were my go to choices. Considering the hustle and bustle combined with the fast turnover of food, the quality was not compromised.
There’s no place like home, but I would have liked an extra 24 hours in Madrid. Next stop Bergen, Norway.