¡Hola! From Madrid 🙂
First off, I have to say, overnight trains are not as bad as I anticipated… Thank you to sleeping meds for helping me cope. A very, very small room shared with three people can be a bit…stuffy. But waking up in Madrid was worth the night onboard the Renfe express.
The best part of my time in Madrid was definitely “Buen Retiro” Park, a “good retreat” indeed. The front gates are beautiful and surrounded by greenery. It belonged to the Spanish Monarchy up until late 19th century- definitely has a royal & relaxing feeling to it.
I love all of the grass squares, eloquently lined with green bushes to form perfectly shaded squares to sit and eat, read, or even sunbathe if you go at the right time of day. There’s plenty of room to nap, roam, and take in all the beautiful facets of this park!
Estanque de Retiro (Retiro Park’s pond) is stunning! Jumping fish, swimming turtles, and small row boats fill the area. For 6€ you can rent a row boat for 45 minutes and row around the pond. Absolutely worth it, we had an amazing time.
After being out in the sun, rowing on the pond, Buen Retiro Parque also offers multiple places to have a drink, eat, or grab some ice cream. A bit more expensive since you get to enjoy your choice of treat in this beautiful park, but worth it to enjoy a pitcher of sangria in the shade, with views of the pond. I loved it.
Apart from the park, Madrid also has an awesome nightlife. I know that’s no secret. What’s nice about the night life is we just had to walk around and find a promoter- who then gave us wristbands for free. This allowed us to enter any of the 4 included clubs, and have a free drink at each. Yeah, all of that, for free…. I think we got lucky though, because the next night we found the same offer- but had to pay 10€. But hey, I’ll take it! The music was awesome- a lot of Latin infused songs, and even some remixes of our favorites from back home- just spun with a little Latin flair. We had a blast! Would definitely go back.
The food is also amazing- tapas are great. Iberico ham is great. Paella is great. Churros with hot chocolate are GREAT.
In addition to all of that greatness, I feel comfortable and safe here. As an openly gay female, I can’t say I didn’t have a few thoughts cross my mind about the perspective we may encounter in certain areas abroad. The areas of Spain we’ve seen so far are definitely open and don’t seem to peek twice (for the most part). It’s all good 🙂
I love Madrid. Now off to Barcelona, enjoying the adventure.