We took a bus from Barcelona to Madrid, where we based ourselves for four days. We decided to mix up our time in Madrid with daytrips to the surrounding towns, which we actually preferred to Madrid itself. On our first day in Madrid we did a free walking tour to explore the city. (This one was not actually free like the one in Nice – one was encouraged to tip at the end!) The tour started in the Plaza Mayor, then made its way past Palacio Real and through the streets of Madrid. It was pretty heavily history based – we didn’t actually walk all that far.
We did get two great tips for food though – we went twice to El Tigre, where buying a cheap drink meant you got a massive plate of free tapas – yum! The second tip was a place to try hot chocolate – this was amazingly rich, as it was literally melted chocolate, served with churros (fried donuts) which we tried after a walk in Retiro park.
Retiro is a large, beautiful park located inside the city (pictured above). We spent awhile strolling this park, visiting the Crystal Palace and seeing a statue of Lucifer (apparently one of only a few in the world, Lucifer doesn’t tend to be a popular subject!)
On our second day in Madrid we started again at the Palacio Real and visited the nearby cathedral. We walked to see an Egyptian temple that was gifted to Madrid by Egypt, then wandered over to El Tigre for some more tapas.
We then decided to head back to our apartment and rest – it’s one of the challenges of long term travel that sometimes we need to rest rather than do every possible tourist activity – this runs a bit counter to my instincts but it is sometimes necessary! I didn’t love Madrid as much as I loved Barcelona, but its proximity to the wonderful towns of Toledo and Segovia (blogs coming soon) meant it was a great base.