we woke, packed, and grabbed some messy falafels on our last morning in barcelona, before rushing to the train station to catch a renfe train out to madrid. we barely got on the train in time, but once we were settled, it was a pleasant ride with classic spanish countryside views. we were greeted in madrid by our lovely host mary, and we walked over to her family’s apartment, where we’d get to stay for the next few days. they live in a great location, very central to a lot of the sights and sounds of madrid. after getting settled we got to meet some of the kids, and we went for a nice walk in parque del retiro. the park was bustling full of tourists and locals alike, and i especially enjoyed seeing all the people rowing in the blue rental boats on the man-made pond. we also got to see some peacocks showing off their feathers.
for dinner, we ate at a delicious restaurant called ginger, after a nice walking tour of some of the city sites and plazas. we were also amazed by the streams of color lighting up the sky after a beautiful sunset. at ginger, we enjoyed a few tapas and main courses. we walked home past the neptune fountain, illuminated at night, feeling enchanted by madrid, and feeling so fortunate to be able to spend some time with such a kind and generous family.
our first full day in madrid, david and i were indecisive for much of the morning about where we wanted to go. only having 1 day in the city was certainly not enough, but we decided to see 2 main art museums: the museo reina sofia (the modern art museum that holds picasso’s guernica) and the museo del prado. we set off on our journey late morning, after eating a yummy breakfast and playing a few rounds of guess-who with some of our new housemates. the reina sofia was interesting, but a little overwhelming in its size and layout. some of the art befuddled us, but some of it was amazing, especially picasso’s tour-de-force.
for lunch, we were feeling seriously hungry, and decided on a kebab/gyro shop on a whim. usually, we try to eat food local to our surroundings, but we were getting a little desperate. and, its a good thing we did, because it started pouring just moments after we sat down. we enjoyed our food along with a side of garlicy hummus, while waiting for the rain to stop. then we rushed to walk over to the plaza mayor and the royal palace of madrid to snap some photos, before taking the metro back over to the museo del prado (from 6 to 8 guests can enter the museum for free) so we could stand in line and wait for the free admission.
we loved the prado. we could’ve spent many more hours there, and we were so impressed by the likes of velasquez, el greco, bosch, and goya. it was an incredible space with so much to marvel at. our two free hours flew by, and we had to leave much too soon. then we headed back to a wonderful paella dinner made by mary, and we enjoyed a relaxing evening chatting with the family.