8 days, 4 flights, 3 cities and 2 countries later… My roommates and I have survived spring break! From our first experience with RyanAir to arriving to a surprise at every apartment we stayed at, there was a new adventure around every corner. We embraced all the ups and the downs and luckily all came home in one piece with lots of memories to share. It was a long but wonderful trip however we were quite glad to be back in our little town of Florence where we know the language (well some of it) and where no map is needed in order to find our next destination.
Our first stop on our spring break adventure was Madrid. Although not really knowing what there was to do before going, we filled our days with sightseeing and shopping as we ate our way around the city (shocker, shocker). After a short, uneventful flight we made our way through the metro system and into town where we were supposed to meet with the landlord of our apartment. Little did we know that he had overbooked our apartment and the previous guest would not be leaving for another 3 days. Luckily he offered to put us up in a hostel more towards the center of town in a quaint little place run by the sweetest Spanish women. It was clean, quiet and much better than our last hostel experience. We settled in then headed out for some yummy tapas and sangria to start off our trip the right way. However our eyes seemed to be bigger than our stomachs and since the waiter spoke little English, we ordered WAY too much food and even had to pull another table over to fit all of our plates… Yes we were those Americans. After a scrumptious meal, we explored and grabbed churros and hot chocolate for dessert then headed back to our hostel to rest up for the next day.
The next day, since we knew very little about the city, we decided to hop on the big red double-decker tourist bus. When we got on, the lady taking tickets mentioned there would be a “demonstration” going on in the city and that some of the tour routes would be a little skewed. Since we had experienced a demonstration in Rome a few weeks back, we thought nothing of it and continued on our way. We saw the Palace and the Egyptian temple then stumbled upon the Mercado de San Miguel which is where I fell in love. PACKED with Spanish people on their lunch break, it was overflowing with Spanish food and sweets of every kind. It took all I had in me to narrow down my choices and only grab a bowl of paella and a glass of sangria. I ate them happily as I marveled at the bustling crowd around me. Before we departed, I grabbed a piece of a marvelous meringue cake that tasted like a yummy cloud. I left very happy and ready to take on the rest of the day. After a few more stops and a stroll through a lovely park, we came to the main street that was full of thousands of protestors participating in the demonstration. Unlike what we had seen before, we had NO idea how to handle the situation, not knowing what the protest was about and if it was safe for us American girls. After asking a police officer for some help, we ended up having to cross through the middle of the protest because there was no other way around. The three of us grabbed hands and darted through the protesters, heart pounding all the way. Once we got our heart rates down, we made our way home and ended our night at a cute little Irish pub.
The next day my roommate Jennie planned to go to the Prado Museum and although I like art, I wasn’t up for spending 4+ hours inside a building all day. So my other roommate, Heidi, and I took to the streets and shopped our hearts out down the main strip of Madrid. We had a wonderful day exploring and dodging the mass amounts of tourists (which seemed a lot like NY in the summertime) and even made friends with a churro cook who made us fresh churros in the shape of hearts. We left him a good tip and made our way home to meet Jennie for dinner then settle in early for our 7am flight to Barcelona.
Although not expecting much out of Madrid, we made the best out of our time and I was happy to experience a large Spanish town where I was forced to use what little I know of the Spanish language. In my next post I will continue with details of my trip to Barcelona!
Until next time…