It was the last BBQ of the summer and we were enjoying my home-made burgers and beer on the beautiful shore of the lake in Kralingen, Rotterdam. The boys were in charge of getting the food cooked properly and us the girls were gossiping about god-knows-what. The depressing thought about the inevitable bad weather had slipped into conversation and we immediately started planning an escape plan. Lenaki mentioned that she already had plans on going to Madrid in November for a work related function – and just like that a plan was born. If she was going for the week, then who are we to leave our friend to travel alone and enjoy the beautiful sights of the Spanish capital without her pals. We unceremoniously invited ourselves along and booked our flights to join her for the weekend. “
Two months later, Friday after work I found myself running to the airport to catch my flight down south to meet my girlies. It was a pretty uneventful journey until I met the friendliest taxi driver. I managed to use my broken Italian/Spanish/French to communicate with him, but to be honest it didn’t take a lot to get the man chatting away.
It was close to midnight when I arrived to meet the girls, where else but a bar(?). Truco was located in a lively area of Madrid. After a quick drink we decided to keep it reasonable and made our way to our hotel near Alonso Martinez.
Saturday morning, full of energy, ready to attack the world, we headed to see the sights that Madrid had to offer. That enthusiasm lasted about 3 blocks…until we found a cute shop and this sight-seeing expedition quickly turned into a shopping expedition! We did have an iron-clad rationale for our uncultured behaviour – the prices in Madrid compared to the Netherlands were merely a fraction. This was not over-indulgence – this was goed koop!
A couple of hours later, shopping bags in hands we made it to Plaza Mayor. Of course now was time for lunch and definitely Sangria! The menu was long and offered options to suit everybody’s palate, so we chose a variety of dishes to try. The favourite, as voted by majority, turning out to be something with eggs and truffle. It took a while but we finally managed to stop eating and ventured forth with our exploration of the city.
What followed was a long walk through the capital, a search for the best churros in town, trying not to collide with the millions of tourists walking slowly on the already small pavement, gawking at the beautiful architecture of Madrid, and of course numerous selfies 🙂 .
The city itself is magnificent and quirky at the same time. When you come up to one of the big squares you see the history, the regal nature of the architecture, the vibrancy of the colours in use. It is simply stunning.
When we arrived at the Royal Palace we were blown away by the sheer magnitude – no wonder it is the largest palace in Europe (by floor space). I think we were there for a good half hour just taking pictures, before trying to walk round to see the gardens in the back.
We were too lazy to venture any further, and were actually running low on fuel. Once again we began a search for food. What can I say, four hungry girls are just a menace to society, so we best be kept fed. After our successful lunch we decided to go to the mecca of gastronomy in Madrid – the San Miguel Market.
The market was full of a spectrum of delicacies. From any kind of cold meat imaginable, to a variety of smoked and fresh fish, cheeses, beers, wines, pastries, churros – it is a foodies wet dream! I wanted to eat all of it. EVERYTHING! (should have worn leggings and not skinny jeans!) The place itself was stuffed with people, but we still managed to get a wee bar table and hoover down our food, too scared that if we didn’t eat it quickly then someone was going to knock it over. Bellies full and happy smiles plastered on our faces we went back to the hotel for an overdue siesta.
After the excitement of the day our nap turned out to be much longer than planned. Or plainly put – we overslept! Then it was a rather manic attempt to try to salvage our hair and save our sleepy faces with a bit of make up. The night was swiftly salvaged. We went to a café/restaurant not far from the hotel. The place was busy and buzzing. We managed to get a table and once again proceeded to stuff our faces (yes yes we basically continuously ate this weekend!)
The meal turned into drinks…many many drinks. (No photos = no evidence!)
Sunday morning was glorious, the bags underneath our eyes from lack of sleep were not! We got some wonderful breakfast and walked around some more, somehow managing to gravitate to the shopping streets. Thank god we had only booked hand luggage with us, otherwise there would have been a considerably larger dent in my bank account. After midday we said bye to one quarter of our group – our Spanish guide Silvita that was going back to Netherlands earlier, and headed to make more discoveries. However, the lazy tourists that we truly are we got on the city tour bus! We thought we would be luxuriously driven around the city and educated about all the historical sights (like a sir!). That was definitely not what happened. Sitting on the top deck we were completely exposed to the elements. The assumption that because we were in Spain that it was going to be warm was not true! The wind was freezing!!! It was ice cold!!! I thought that my face was going to fall off. They should have some heaters or something….or maybe heated seats? (should probably make a suggestion on their website!)
At one point I decided I was just going to become a ninja and wrap myself in my scarf to the max. Lenaki was hiding on the bottom deck – she didn’t care whether she was going to see anything, she was just happy she could get the feeling back in her hands. Maraki was the only one of us who could stand it, refusing to bow down to mother nature and go full ninja mode like me, instead she was glamming it up. Or maybe she was so frozen that she just couldn’t feel the cold wind anymore? Either way, after an hour of this torture we were happy to get off and ran to the first restaurant available to try to warm up!
Some hot tea, and more of the egg/truffle thing, later it was also our time to say goodbye to the wonderful Spanish capital and head back to Holland.
“Girls on tour”