Madrid

Well, last night I got back from a long weekend in Madrid, and I had a TON of fun. We took a five hour fast train from Barcelona to the center of the country, and the landscape was really interesting — I had no idea the interior of Spain was so desert-y. The ride over was pretty painless; I read The Devil Wears Prada from cover to cover and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Before long, we were in the Atocha train station, and we took the metro to the hotel. We stayed in the heart of Madrid, by the Prado Museum and many important and large plazas. The first night was pretty quiet because we were all pretty tired from the trip over.

The following day we took a long and intense walking tour of Madrid’s older sector, visiting the Palacio Royal and the Plaza Mayor before heading over to the Prado museum to look at art and the botanical gardens. Long day, but then I ate a steak, so I was pretty happy about that.

The following day we went to the more modern parts of Barcelona, and looked at Antonio Palacios’s Palacio de Communicaciones, which was a pretty impressive building. We also saw several other modern buildings on the way, many of which were highly decorated like the Metropolis building. For lunch, we ate at the Botin Restaurant, the oldest standing restaurant in the world. It was all really good food (no seafood for me, finally) and a good time.

Our last day, a few students and the professor headed over to the Rastro, a huge flea market in a poorer part of Madrid. Some people were selling such crap I couldn’t believe anyone would buy it — used makeup compacts, things like that. But there were a few good finds too; I just didn’t have the patience to look through things. It was all really interesting and a very different experience than what I’ve had previously!

After the Rastro, we returned to the hotel, had some food, and headed back to Barcelona. After a few train breakdowns, we made it back to Barcelona in time to watch the end of the World Cup final. All in all, an amazing weekend, and I can’t wait to go back in two weeks!

Photo albums:
Madrid (day one)

Madrid (day two)

Some examples…