Viva Espana and all that jazz. Madrid is the capital city of Spain and the perfect weekend getaway for sun, culture, sights and sex (wait what). I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in Sheffield with grey skies and a piping hot gingerbread latte between my fingertips. In short these sunny, blue sky photos are making me very envious and I need some vitamin C asap! Madrid was such a lovely place and although I had heard mixed things about it being quite boring, I really enjoyed myself and definitely saw the potential.
Let’s kick things off big and beautiful with the Royal Palace. It is the official residence of the Royal family (although they rarely actually stay in it). You can explore a teeny fraction of it but unfortunately no photography is permitted inside. I can attempt to describe it to you – grand, elegant, over the top but classy. Ironically, my favourite part was the outside where you can photograph haha. I think the building itself is gorgeous but so minimal. I’m a big fan of repetition, windows and this particular stone against blue skies. The palace sits amongst a plaza and on the opposite end is the Almudena Cathedral. This building you can spot from all over Madrid as it’s top peaks out amongst trees. What I like about this is the interior. It feels very gothic but the stained glass and art inside is very pop-art and modern. Parts of it feel very abstract and when the sun catches the glass the light reflections are gorgeous. You get a real feel to the Sagrada Familia here.
Wouldn’t be a Spanish city post without mentioning a market haha. However this one is a little different, instead of being the usual grocery market – this one is a gourmet tapas one. The stalls sell a variety of tapas from olives, meat, sangrias and baked goods. It is very centrally located and perfect for a quick energy top-up or even a pick and mix of Spanish treats for dinner.
With all this gorgeous weather a nice wander through the park is always a lovely thing to do. Buen Retiro Park is one of the largest in Madrid. It has all the usual things from cafes to playgrounds but a main highlight is the Monument to Alfonso XII. It is situated on the edge of a large pond where people hire row boats. The sight has all the typical element of a successful, dominating sculpture – pillars, lions, mermaids and a horse – all out of marble and bronze. The grandeur of it is what I find most impressive and apparently twenty odd sculptors worked on it as a collaborative effort.
Then one of the best things to do in any Spanish city is go for a stroll. Spain in particular (for me anyway) is a lovely place to get lost, stop for coffee, rest in a book shop, take a mini siesta and then wander some more. Plaza Mayor is somewhere you’ll probably stumble across. It is surrounded by residential buildings and the odd cafe to sit, drink and soak up some rays. On your wanders make sure you snack on some churros, check out street art and go bear/tree hunting (the coat of arms for Madrid).
And that’s Madrid. There are museums and more architectural sights to check out but I’ll leave it for now. If you want to check out some other Spanish cities why not Valencia or Barcelona? And I will see you super soon with something else!