3 Nights: Friday 3/30 to Monday 4/2
My earlier post on the trip from Dallas to Madrid kinda covered our morning arrival in Madrid. Given that we were trying to stay up until later that night in order to combat jet lag, we spent most of Friday walking around just to get a sense of our neighborhood and the city in general.We mostly explored to the southeast, towards the train station, then up to the Prado museum and then back through the center to our neighborhood in Lavapiés. This map roughly shows some of our walking routes on Friday and Saturday. I didn’t record Sunday’s as it’s a little time consuming to do these by hand. Perhaps we’ll try to capture some GPS-based maps with one of our phones going forward.
As you can see on the above maps, we spent Saturday exploring more to the northwest. We also decided to swing by a couple of the more famous (and touristy) plazas, Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor. We ran into much larger crowds than on Friday – I’m not sure if it was due to the locations or the fact that it was now the weekend. We continued west to the Palacio Real de Madrid and on to the Temple of Debod, an actual ancient Egyptian temple transported and reconstructed in the heart of Madrid! Overall, we really enjoyed spending time in the various scenic plazas and parks we encountered.
On Sunday, we had to make sure to swing by the El Rastro outdoor market. It was a multiple-block, sprawling outdoor market with tons of crowds. In general, there seemed to be more interesting vendors a little off the main streets (e.g. more antiques vs. t-shirts). We then headed out east to the Parque del Retiro, which was impressively large and quite scenic. On our way there, we thought of spinning through the Prado, but saw that they had free hours from 5 to 7 and decided to try then. Turns out that was a mistake, since most of Madrid seems to have had the same idea. We’ll try some other time if we pass through Madrid again (which is likely, see below).
Finally, we got up insanely early on Monday morning (i.e. 6:00) since we wanted to be at the airport by 8:00 in order to check in for our flight to Lisbon. We had originally thought of working our way through northern Spain as we traveled west to Portugal, but in reality the route would have been too meandering. Also, the overnight train from Madrid to Lisbon takes 10 hours. In the end we did a little research and booked a quick (one hour) and relatively affordable ($150 pp) round-trip flight to Lisbon. We may end up preferring this option to overnight trains in general. As for travel in Spain, it looks like Madrid is a central hub, so we’ll probably be passing through at least a couple more times!
More Madrid Photos
See the links on our photo album page.