As I mentioned in my blog post from yesterday, (if you haven’t read it already, please feel free to go read it), I have had a few weekends away in the past month that I would love to share with you all. I will write up little reviews about my trips in chronological order, otherwise I’m going to end up seriously confusing myself, particularly as I normally write my blog posts on the train home from work after a busy and tiring day in the office.
My first trip was back in mid March and I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful Spanish city of Madrid. Weirdly, embarking on the trip made me realise that I’d never actually visited mainland Spain before, despite having visited a number of Spanish Islands, Menorca, Tenerife and Ibiza included. My boyfriend had also never visited Spain before, so it was a new experience for the both of us, and overall we were very excited.
The expectations I had of the city were well and truly lived up to, and I was not left disappointed. The three and a bit days I spent there made me fall completely in love with the place, its history and culture. On our final day there, I found myself declaring that I already wanted to go back, although I hadn’t even arrived at the airport, let alone landed back on English soil!
Our hotel was in the suburbs of the city. I described it to people as the same way my hometown is located in London; being right on the edge of the city, but not quite in the centre of all the hustle and bustle. I quite liked it that way though, it was nice to see the normal everyday lives of locals and see how they go about their everyday business, rather than just seeing fellow tourists soaking in all the sights as we were. We didn’t hear one English voice in the area around where our hotel was located, and again, it was nice to fully immerse ourselves into the culture of the city. We were only a 15 minute walk or a five minute Metro journey away from the centre, so our hotel was in the ideal location.
Just up the road from our hotel was Las Ventas, which instantly struck me as being one of the most beautiful buildings I’d ever seen. We spent our first morning walking around the building with the accompanying audio guide, which is how we found out that the building is actually Madrid’s infamous bullfighting ring. Now I don’t personally agree or take interest in bullfighting, and I wouldn’t personally go and see a bullfight, but I appreciated the building for its history and the culture that surrounds it. As I said though, I appreciated the history and architecture, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent there. I would definitely recommend it for anyone visiting the city, if you look past the events that have taken place there for hundreds of years.
Our second day was spent at the Santiago Bernabeu, aka the Real Madrid football stadium. This was the sole purpose of why we were visiting Madrid. It’s been my boyfriends life long dream to see Real Madrid play, and in particular he has always wanted to see Cristiano Ronaldo before he retired from the game. I bought us tickets to see the team play Sevilla on Sunday 20th March, with a tour of the museum and stadium also thrown into the mix, so our whole day was spent at the stadium.
For someone whose not a football fan and who has never been to see a football match in her life, I really, really enjoyed the day we had there. The museum and stadium tour were really enjoyable, and being a bit of a history geek, it was really interesting to find out the history of the team and stadium. The match was equally as fun and I got completely drawn into the whole atmosphere that was prevalent throughout the match. It helped that Real Madrid beat Sevilla 4-0, and that one of the goals was scored by Ronaldo himself. All in all, an amazing day out that saw my boyfriends childhood dream come true, and which resulted in me having a new found appreciation for football. Who would have thought it?!
We spent the morning and early afternoon of our final day in Madrid at the Zoo Aquarium de Madrid. Me being me, I did my research about the zoo beforehand, but could only find positive reviews about it. So off we went on the 40 minute Metro journey to the other side of the city, and it was definitely worth the long journey and visit. The zoo was probably one of the best I’ve ever been to. The animals had lovely large paddocks, all of which had been made up to be like their natural environment, and there were so many animals that we didn’t even have enough time to see the whole zoo. The aquarium within the zoo was also incredible, and it was incredible to see the pandas and dolphins, who also had a huge tank that didn’t leave them overcrowded.
Entry into the zoo cost around 26 euros each, which we thought was rather good value for money considering how big it was and how there was to see. It’s most definitely one of the best zoos I’ve been to, and I would really recommend it to anyone who visits the city with children with regards to the animals and the education on conservation that’s there.
In between visiting the zoo, Santiago Bernabeu and Las Ventas, we spent the majority of the time endlessly roaming the streets, admiring the buildings, parks and lakes that are dotted throughout the city. Needless to say, by the time we returned to England our feet were well and truly worn out.
Overall, it was one of the best weekends away I’ve ever had and I loved every minute of my time spent in Madrid. I came away missing the city and everything that I’d seen and done there. It goes without saying that I will most definitely be visiting again one day.
P.S I will be adding some photos as soon as I’ve got home and have stable internet connection!