We've made it to Madrid, Spain! To save some stress of driving in the city, we're not picking up our car until we leave for Zaragoza. We took a bus and the metro to get to our Airbnb. Have euros on hand for the bus and you can easily purchase tickets for the metro. TIP: If you plan on using the metro multiple times, you can load up a reusable card and save a little cash by buying multiple tickets.
A little exhausted from the flight, we decided to take a nap before wandering the city. After our power nap, we headed to San Miguel Market. The market is filled with multiple vendors and you can order food and drinks. We grabbed some croquettes, sea urchin, olives, and some sake sangria for drinks. As we sat down, we recognized a couple we saw on the bus and chatted with them for a bit. They were from NY and were on a 2-week trip, city-hopping throughout Italy, Paris, and Spain.
We walked through the winding streets and stopped at Chocolateria San Gines. For 3,5€ we got 6 churros and a cup of warm chocolate. We also went with the cafe con leche and churros for 3€. It was a delicious treat. We roamed the side streets and made our way to Royal Palace of Madrid.
For dinner, we headed to the grocery store and actually picked up frozen pizzas. Yes, frozen pizzas. The pizzas had different toppings and were yummy. Having a kitchen while traveling is nice and allows us to try different foods while saving money.
We settled in early our first day. Aisli wasn't feeling well and started the trip off with a cold and had a very rough night of sleep.
On our second day, we started off our morning with a quick climbing gym session at Espacio Acción. It was a 20 minute metro ride from our place and a 2 minute walk. The gym had multiple levels. Three levels with climbing and one with a yoga studio. One level included workout equipment too. It offers mostly bouldering but there were some short routes for sport climbing, they even had a 20 foot tall shaped tufa for some Rodellar practice. After spending the past couple of days traveling and sitting at airports and on planes, it felt good to workout and get the blood going.
Afterwards, we headed to Parque de El Retiro. On the way there, you walk past multiple plazas and museums. We visited the San Jeronimo el Real and walked around inside. Inside the Parque de El Retiro, there is a little lake with paddle boats you can rent for 7€ a person. We let the girls go out on their own. Both had never paddled before and it took them about 10 minutes to leave the dock. There was another group of girls that had trouble and they bumped into each other a few time but they finally made it out. They paddled around for about an hour, with a few circles in between, but were eventually able to paddle back and dock the boat.
We walked around the city more, got the girls Boba at a placed called Wowble, and then made our way to Mercado de San Ildefonso. It's a more hip eatery with tapa and drinks. We got a couple of snacks and did more walking. You do a lot of walking but we try to break it up with food and drinks. Madrid is an amazing city. It feels less touristy than Barcelona and there are a ton of places to eat. It's definitely one of our favorite cities. We have found the best way to experience Madrid is to have no agenda, just start walking, once you get off the main streets and wander the alley ways, you'll find something worth popping into. We found a place called Con.A.che where we ordered patata bravas, lasagne, calamari, and drinks. It has a lively atmosphere inside and outside. It looks like it gets busy but it's worth grabbing a bite at.
On Saturday morning, we woke up early and headed out to pick up our car to make our way to Zaragoza. It's definitely nice to have a car again, we have a good amount of luggage on this trip and with no car it all gets carried! Stay tuned for our trip to Zaragoza.