By the end of our trip, we made a full circle back to Madrid. Madrid was the city we landed in from Canada, and after 5 planes and a train travelling through Spain and Portugal, we made it back to the Barajas airport in Madrid. Which we are quite familiar with now cause we spent so much layover time in it the day we arrived. The day we arrived in Madrid, we had some difficulties getting into our Airbnb, which resulted in Lena asking to use the wifi from the Chinese store owners nearby. (Thank goodness she can speak Chinese and that we were on a very Chinese populated street) Afterwards, we had to wait an hour for our keys that we received from a guy that couldn’t speak a lick of english, but my 6 years of required spanish classes helped me to understand some of the words, which I then managed to piece together into comprehensible phrases. By the time we were settled into our Airbnb and rested, it was already early evening. But as long as the sun was out, we told ourselves we had to explore cause we barely had a day and half left before heading back to Canada.
I really wasn’t expecting much from the city based on some friends’ experience, but rather enjoyed it. It was the perfect city for us to end our trip because all we wanted to do was relax and shop. And boy is there a lot of spending that can be done in the hustle and bustle of Madrid’s shopping district. I feel like Madrid is the only city in which I can visit 3 of the same flagship stores within walking distance. (Zara, Mango, Zara, Mango, Zara…) At the end of the day though, Madrid’s beautiful parks were perfect for evening strolls away from all the shopping chaos. So we sat along the water, watched the sunset, reminisced about our trip, and felt revived before heading back to work and responsibilities in Canada. It’s ok though, cause we had an amazing two weeks on this second euro trip of ours.
Madrid | tips and recommendations
- Cause we spent such a short amount of time in Madrid, I don’t have a lot of tips or recommendations. My main tip (which is honestly the same for every single city) would be just to walk around. As much as you can. A lot of the lesser known streets have small interesting boutiques, cute independent cafes, or nice restaurants. So sometimes, walking in random directions will bring unique surprises. Like the small orchestral concert we saw on our way to the Palacio Real. And then to end your day, take a walk in Buen Retiro Park. This park is huge and beautifully maintained, with a lake, statues, and very well trimmed hedges (there is something oddly satisfying about a perfectly rectangular plant). Despite there being a lot of joggers, fellow tourists and the random couple having an ugly breakup amongst the lovey dovey ones, taking a stroll in that park was the perfect way to unwind.
- Other than shopping and relaxing, we only had one must-do in Madrid. And it obviously involved food. So our first night in the city, we made sure to go to Chocolateria San Gines to have a taste of their churros. Light, crisp, buttery and golden, they were quite different from the churros I’m used to in Montreal. And it was delicious decadence. You can order a plate of 6 churros with your choice of cafe or lait or chocolate to dip. We, of course, had to try both. And as delicious as it was, believe me when I say, a dozen churros is too much for 2 people. So just chose the chocolate.