Hola a todos! Two weeks ago my friend and I left Sevilla to hang out in none other than this nation’s wonderful capital – Madrid! Added excitement because one of my best friends from school is studying abroad there. The whole week leading up to trip I was thrilled to see her, go to tons of museums, and most of all, choose my own meals. I love my home stay but sometimes it’s nice to have a little control over what you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ya feel me?
I had only been to Madrid once before and for a very short time, basically 36 hours. I didn’t get the best feel for the city while I was there, most likely because I was getting over jet lag and hallucinating the majority of the 36 hours. Luckily I was traveling with two people who know the city well and knew exactly what spots to hit in the short amount of time we had. I hope our list of activities helps you plan your trips to Madrid in the future! It was a beautiful city and I loved every minute of the weekend.
Museo Nacional del Prado – A can’t-miss if you’re in Madrid. The Prado is overflowing with some of the most famous paintings in European art. It’s almost overwhelmingly big which is a good and bad thing. On one hand, you can wander through the museum rooms and stumble upon masterpiece after masterpiece without even having to look for them. On the other, it’s impossible to see the full museum in a day. My friend and I were there for two hours and could have kept going. It helps that students get in for free!
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – The Thyssen is another great art collection in Madrid. What I loved most about their collection was the huge span of time and art movements and styles. They have pieces by Caravaggio and Rembrandt, but also works by Lichtenstein, Van Gogh, Monet, and Dalí. In addition to these huge names, there was a whole exhibit on Cézanne that was going on that we also got to see. Not free for students but still inexpensive and definitely worth it.
Reina Sofia – The highlight of the Reina Sofia was seeing Guernica by Picasso. It’s a work I’ve studied in countless art history and spanish classes so seeing it in person was arresting and stunning. Other Picasso and Dalís fill this more modern museum. Plus, if you’re a student it’s fo free!
Micoteatro (por dinero) – This was a highlight of the weekend. My friend who is studying in Madrid brought us and I’m so happy she did because otherwise we probably would have never found it. It’s a mini theater that puts on skits that are 15 minutes long in tiny, tiny rooms. Only around 10 to 12 people see a skit at a time and the theater performs 5 skits (we went to two) at a time. It is such a cool experience because you are literally right up against the actors and actresses, less than 3 feet away from them. We saw a comedy and a tragic-comedy and both were amazing. I highly recommend this as a before or after dinner activity!
Mercado de San Miguel – This market was possibly my favorite place in Madrid. Located right outside of Plaza Mayor, it is a beautiful old building filled with stand after stand of different types of food. All are fairly small portions, like tapas, so you can go to two or three in one visit, taste-testing a bunch of different things! We went for lunch both days because it is easy and delicious, everyone sampling what they thought looked good. Great if you don’t need a sit down meal and want to try a lot of different dishes.
Convento de Corpus Cristi – This is a small convent of nuns known throughout Madrid for their dulces or sweets, in this case cookies. They are located on a tiny side street right outside of Plaza Mayor. To buy the cookies, you ring the bell for monjas (nuns) on this unassuming wooden door and are let in by the a tiny voice asking if you want sweets. After following a small, arched hallway, you come to a lazy-susan and list of cookies the monjas offer. You make your request and put the 7 or 9 euro on the lazy-susan, it rotates, and your delicious cookies appear! All without seeing the nuns. It kind of feels like a drug deal but then you take a bite of the melt in your mouth galletas and you’re in heaven.
These were the highlights of the weekend. Check any of them out while you’re in Madrid and you won’t be disappointed! Now, pictures! Adios.