This weekend my two roommates and I traveled to Madrid and Seville. We left on Thursday evening by taking a train to Madrid. Upon arrival, we checked into our first Airbnb apartment. The apartment was located in the center of the City and was in an ideal location for tourists. Friday, we woke up as the sun was rising so that we could get an early start on the day. Our first stop was the Botanical Gardens. Most of the flowers and beautiful gardens have not yet blossomed because of the winter season. It was still very pleasant to be able to walk around and to imagine what it would look like during the warmer season. We only stayed for a little while because we still wanted to cover a lot of other sites and we didn’t have too much time to do so.
After the gardens we had some breakfast and chocolate milk, which helped to energize us and provide some warmth before venturing outside again. After breakfast, we went to the Prado Museum, which is one of the most famous museums in all of Spain. The museum consisted of collections of European art dating back to the 12th century. I enjoyed leisurely walking around and seeing some of the Spanish sculptures and paintings because I am more familiar with Italian works but this is the first time I have ever visited Spain or a famous Spanish museum.
As afternoon approached, my friends and I went to Parque del Retiro. There, we saw musicians playing American music and each turn took us down a different path. On one side we saw a fountain that got us a little wet as we stopped to take pictures. After casually roaming around for a bit of time, my friends wanted to go to the Chueca area to shop and see what else it had to offer.
By the time we got there it looked like a lot of the stores and restaurants were closed because it was the siesta. It was nice to still get a feel for the area. It reminded me of the area in New York City called Soho. All the streets were cobblestone, and it was very trendy and young. If we had an extra day in Madrid I would have enjoyed going back to try one of the restaurants for dinner. After walking around for an hour we saw a market that was also on our itinerary. We walked through Mercado de San Antón and looked at all the fresh food.
Late afternoon, we did our last tourist stop of the day and went to the Palacio Real. This was the famous palace of the royal king. It was so beautiful and reminded me a lot of other palaces I have visited with my family from previous European trips we have taken. Every time I visit a place like this I always find it so remarkable that so much gold was used throughout the ceiling and walls of each room. It is mind boggling to imagine how much time and money was used on each palace.
That evening for dinner we went to a delicious Italian dinner at Grazie Mille. Our waiter was an adorable man from a beautiful small area in Italy that attracts a lot of tourists during the summer seasons. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who travels to Madrid, if only I could go back each week!
On Saturday morning, we woke up to visit our last tourist attraction. We went to the Center of Spain which is a really busy area surrounded by stores and restaurants. There we took a few pictures and headed to the train station to go to Seville.
After a three-hour train ride we arrived. Seville looked exactly how I always pictured it to be; colorful, authentic and quant. We arrived at another Airbnb apartment and this sweet woman named Barbara greeted us with open arms. She was the first local person we met in Seville and she left a positive and lasting impression. She even got my roommates and me a bottle of champagne to celebrate our first night in Seville. After unpacking some of our things we went to a place that Barbara suggested. The place is a great looking dock where you can see the entire city and enjoy a remarkable sunset. We called them “the mushrooms” but it is really called Metropol Parasol.
Sunday was an action packed day to explore the City. We started at Plaza de España, which was by far my favorite part of the entire trip. It was a beautiful park where a lot of movies are filmed. I had never seen a park this beautiful in my entire life. It was so colorful and full of beautiful Spanish tiles and had a very authentic look to it. We took a lot of pictures and enjoyed just walking around and up and down the many pedestrian bridges.
Then we went to the Triana, and walked across the bridge and went inside the market at the end. There, I bought a beautiful hand woven leather bracelet for my older brother. They had a bunch of food and goods to purchase. However, the market was not fully open yet so we decided to walk across the bridge to the other side to try the amazing churros that we heard about. Those were certainly not overrated and were the most delicious pastries coated with chocolate. I am also a big fan of churros!
Next, we took a visit to Cathedral de Seville. It was a stunning church that had beautiful stained glass in the inside. It also had a lot of designs on the exterior, making it one of the most magnificent churches I have ever seen. I learned while I was there that it is the third largest church in the world!
Because we still had a small amount of time before we had to leave for the airport, we heard that the Alcazar Palace was a nice place to see and happened to be right next to the Church. We walked around inside and because of how big the palace was it took up a few hours to walk the entire Palace. It was very interesting to see because most of the palaces I have visited were not as old as this one. It included a beautiful section of Spanish tiles that date back to the time of the Renaissance.
While we were leaving for the airport I could not stop looking out the window to see the rest of the amazing city. I hope to visit both Madrid and Seville again in the future!