Here’s the thing about blogging: when it comes down to it, it’s a hobby. So when I have an eight page Spanish paper, an HR project, a group International Business paper, visitors to entertain, and some co-op applications to fill out, I really do want to blog. I just have a few more important priorities. I know, I’m just making excuses, but I hope you can forgive me for the two week long hiatus I just took. I promise to update more regularly!
That being said, let’s dive in to the topic at hand. I’ve been thinking for a while now about the perfect weekend in Madrid because of a study abroad student challenge I found on this website that I’ve briefly posted about before, here. After touring the city two weekends in a row with family friends, friends, and friends’ family (… that’s not confusing), I think I’ve finally got it. So here you have it, my weekend as a tourist in Madrid.
The best walking tour I’ve got
To pack a lot of sites into a few hours time, start off at the Argüelles metro stop, and head straight down Calle Marqués de Urquijo (side note – my friend Lauren lives here!). You’ll hit Parque del Oeste, and further to the left, el Templo de Debod and Plaza de España. All three are Madrid must-sees in my opinion. After that you can head straight up Gran Via, cut over to Sol, Plaza Mayor, and el Mercado de San Miguel. I took this walk with a few friends this weekend and then stopped for some tapas and ice cream once we got to San Miguel. There are also a ton of restaurants with Menu del Días and great tapas on the street “Cava de San Miguel.”
El Museo Nacional del Prado
Two weekends ago when our family friend Carolyn was visiting from Sevilla, I decided to take her to the infamous Prado. I still hadn’t been and thought it would be great for her to see some of the most famous artwork in Spain while here in Madrid. The museum is also beautiful inside, and we definitely enjoyed ourselves. I found a great guide to the museum from Fodor’s Travel Intelligence and took notes of the most important masterpieces to see. Here’s the link, and here are my notes on what we had to see, but make sure to grab a map!
Room 12 – Intro to Velázquez (1599 – 1660)
- “Las Hilandres”
- “Las Meninas”
- Then rooms 14 – 16
- Make sure to see his portraits of the royale family’s jesters
South end first and second floors – Goya (1746 – 1828)
- King Carlos IV
- “The Family of Carlos IV”
- “The Cloth Maja and Nude Maja”
Room 75 – large scale model of the Prado
- Then rooms 60 – 63A
Floor 0 near the Goya Entrance – 15th & 16th century Flemish works
- “Garden of Earthly Delights”
- And a table in the center of the Seven Deadly Sins
Cien Montaditos is the best place in the entire world. You can get a few mini sandwiches for around 1 euro each and a large jar of tinto de verano. They’re all over the city, so if you’re interested just ask anyone!
A diamond in the rough as far as free foods go is Meson Boñar de Leon
Restaurante on Travesía de la Cruz Verde. The beers are a little pricey at 4 euro each, but they’re cold and very big. And they come with plenty of tapas. I was just there yesterday afternoon with Gabby and her mom. We each had two tinto de veranos, with which came a plate of bread, paella mixta and two Spanish tortillas, all for free!
I understand when you’re away for the weekend and just can’t bring yourself to go out drinking all night after walking around all day. Conde Duque, which I just discovered last weekend is your cure. We saw an awesome flamenco jazz concert of two guitars, a cello, a drum set, a singer, and some dancing at the end for 10 euro. Though they’re in the middle of a Jazz Festival right now, there are ongoing events, concerts, and exhibitions there. I recommend getting there early to check out the building, which contains a huge plaza, as well. (We were rushing, so I wasn’t able to snap any photos!)
A great easy option is going to Puerta del Sol. From about 9pm onward there are promoters in the streets and plazas of Sol begging you to come take free shots or reduced priced drinks. It’s like happy hour, but normally free, and in about 150 bars at once. Go enjoy, it’s amazing!
I promise to update more for the rest of the month because I already have things to look forward to: my roommate from Boston coming to visit, Gabby’s 21st birthday, a trip to see a great friend in London, and a homemade Thanksgiving feast.