Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Madrid in a Day

So on Wednesday we did ALL OF MADRID! it was way not long enough to explore the whole city but it's all the time we had so we did it. There were originally 8 of us who went to Spain but only 4 of us went to Barcelona as well as Madrid so we split ways on Wednesday morning.
We had breakfast in the hostel just cereal and toast but it was nice not to pay for breakfast, even if the milk was grossly warm. Our theme of not paying continued at our first site of the day, The Palace. I guess it was a holiday so everyone got in free which was awesome for us and because we went early it wasn't even crowded. Because we didn't pay to get in, we payed to get the audio tour and I'm so glad we did because if we hadn't all the rooms would've been meaningless. So going through the Palace really reminded me of touring the White House, it's basically the same concept except a lot bigger and more ornate.

The outside courtyard was beautiful and the weather could not of been nicer. After taking in the sites and views from the courtyard and balcony we went inside.

So all the pictures that I'm going to show now are complements of Camille. She really is the queen of sneaking pictures places where you are not allowed to take them. Although I don't really agree with her taking them, it seems a shame not to share them since I have them. :) so here we go:

So this is me in the reception hall. This is an important room because it's where they still do all their important signings, like treaties and things like that.

This was my favorite room because it was amazingly ornate. the detailing on the walls and ceiling are not just paintings but raised woodwork. It really was breathtaking.

This is the throne room. Pretty awesome and yes that is Red velvet on the walls.

I don't remember what this room was besides really pink. but it was pretty.

This was part of the Pharmacy at the Palace. It is still used today.

These were the guards in the court yard, pretty cute but I'm not really digging the chin strap.

This was in the armory. Really big guns, interesting armor or as Camille put it "booty shorts armor" and armor for an animal that doesn't know if it's a horse or a goat.

After the tour of the Palace we went outside and walked around this little park across the street and Camille and Katie took a really funny picture which they then had to pay for.

Then we walked back towards the Palace just in time to see the changing of the guard which was pretty cool. It was amazing how in synch the horses were except the one that decided to relieve its self right where the guards had to walk. Camille could not stop laughing next to, it was pretty funny.

After that we went to the Palace Gardens which was pretty. The only sad part about the gardens was that the fountain was drained so it was a little less pretty but still an awesome view of the Palace.

After the Palace gardens we walked to the Egyptian temple. No we didn't walk all the way to Egypt but there is a Egyptian temple in Madrid. So I guess it was a gift from the Egyptians to the Spanish for there help in something. It was beautiful, and the view from it was even more amazing.

So one thing that I'm not explaining very well is the fact that all these sites are at different corners of the city so by the end of the day we literally went all the way around the city and there were many laughs along the way, especially about Katie being our Sherpa! :)
So after The Egyptian temple we went to Puerta del Sol which is usually has cool shops and street venders and things like that but right now it's the site of a huge protest. So I didn't read up on it as much as I should've for being in the country but I guess there is a lot of political unrest right now. So we decided to avoid the area and move on to the place our Hostel worker who spoke English suggested for lunch. So we found the lunch place and it was probably my least favorite experience the whole trip of Spain. It wasn't terrible but our waiter really didn't want anything to do with us or our broken Spanish.
side note: our spanish was elementary level at best but we did pretty good because I was good at listening to the people and translating what they were saying and Camille was pretty good at speaking back to the people and reading it. I was surprised at how many people were more than willing to work with our broken spanish and you could tell they really appreciated that we tried.
So back to our lunch. So we got Paellea which is basically the specialty in Spain. Its a rice and usually sea food dish. Well anyone who knows me at all knows that I hate sea food but I decided to be a good sport and order it and just eat around the sea food. Well the rice was good but the rest of the dish was so "authentic" that I was having a hard time keeping the rice down.

Even the other girls who like seafood were less than impressed. but the place we ate was really cute so I guess that counts for something.

After Lunch we all felt a little quessy but we kept on going. Next we went to the Prado Museum and saw some very famous works of art. Like I've said every time I talk about Museums I've been to, I'm not a museum person and there are entirely too many naked people. But the naked theme is very prominate in Spain, and I don't just mean in the art. But there were some I enjoyed because I had studied them in past classes, its amazing how much a difference it makes when you know something about what you are looking at. So once again these photos are compliments of Camille's awesome sneaky photo skills.

So sorry that the second one is a little graphic but it was really cool to see because we spent a whole day in one of my classes just talking about it.
side note: I would've been a lot more excited if it was the Prada museum instead of the Prado! :)
So after the museum we went to the train station. Were we there to take a train somewhere, nope! we were there to look at the jungle! they have basically built this rainforest in the train station and it's really cool. There are also a lot of turtles in the pond of it to the point that its kind of gross how many there are.

they also have these cool escalator things that don't have stairs they are just a ramp. they seem like a really good idea but I think they take up a lot of room. I was way more excited about them than the other girls were.

The next thing we did was get lost! :) we went the wrong way on a street and ended up way far away from where we wanted to be but it was ok because the cutest little Spanish Grandma stopped to help us while we were looking at the map. Only problem is that she didn't speak any English and her Spanish was really hard to understand but we eventually figured it out. We finally got to where we wanted to be which was this famous square called Plaza Mayor which had all types of restaurants and things but by this time we were really tired and kind of just wanted to rest so this is Camille and I trying to be really excited!

On the way home we got some candy because basically the theme of our whole trip was eat eat eat! it was great! I really loved being with people who love food and sweets as much as I do! I forgot to mention that we had already had gelato this day.

Then we went back to our Hostel for a nap. While we were napping one of our roommates came in. There were 4 of us but it was a room of 6 so we had 2 random roommates. Well the roommate who walked in surprised us more than we were ready for......IT WAS A MAN! so I was awake in a second and jumped out of bed and basically ran down to the front desk to figure out the situation because we had booked a all girls room. So unfortunately the man who only spoke Spanish was back at the desk but our new roommate came with me and spoke really good Spanish so he translated for me instead of me fumbling my way through it. So we figured it out and got moved ironically back into the room we were in the first night but we ended up having the 8 person room to ourselves so that was really nice.
After our nap we went to a flamenco show with the other people in our hostel. It was really cool because it was in this tiny underground club that had just enough room for about 20 people one dancer, a singer, and a guitarist. It was so intimate and cool and after each number they let us ask questions and they explained things about flamenco.

It was one of my favorite parts of the day because it was just so Spanish. So after the show we were hungry so we joined the other people staying in our hostel on the "pub crawl" we didn't actually go to the pubs but the guy leading it showed us a reaustuante to eat at that was on the way. It was really fun walking with the Hostel worker and just talking to him. We also had lots of fun making of the name "pub crawl" especially when it started to rain and we called it a "pub swim" among other things.
At the restaurant we got some cheese thing that I guess is very Spanish but I don't remember the name of it and we got a Spanish omelet which is like eggs and potatos. it was really yummy.
It was the longest day ever and I was totally exhausted but it was great!

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