Thursday, September 20, 2012

Madrid in Only a Day and a Half


Once I was in Madrid, finding the Metro was the next step. While it wasn't hard, buying my ticket was dificult. I wanted a two day pass and had to ask how to get to Maria Tudor station but finally I was on my way. Of course, my cell phone still wasn't working in Spain so I asked a girl in the station if I could use hers but I don't know if she didn't understand me or if she didn't want me to use the phone and she just pointed away from the station as if I was supposed to walk to find a pay phone. Of course I considered that but when I was on street level, there was nothing. Nothing at all.

I walked away from the station and finally found some girls who spoke a bit of English and they let me use their phone to call Roberto. He told me to wait at the station and that he would meet me there so I thanked the girls, turned around and headed back to the Metro station.

Just as he said, Roberto showed up and he walked me back to his family's apartment. I got to meet his wife and doughters but the family needed to leave to go to a party at the Mexican embassy in Madrid. Before they left, they showed me some things to do in the city for the afternoon and then they were on their way.

I showered and made a sandwich since he kept saying to "help myself to the fridge" and I was on my way into the city. I hopped onto the Metro and headed toward Puerto del Sol. 

When I got out of the station, I saw this building but when I turned around, there were shops beyond shops. I'm not a big shopper but I am a bargin hunter so I went into a few shops and even wound up with a few new tops!

The Spanish arcatecture as amazingly beautiful and everywhere I went, I was reminded of this fact. I even found a small "renisance" market. I bought a few small things like christmas presents for friends but I just couldn't stay still, I wanted to explore everything in the city.

I went into a few more shops and even stopped for some Tapas and drinks, but it's not the same when you're alone actually, drinking alone is always a bit sad.

Finally after a bunch more wandering, I too the Metro back towards Roberto's house and decided to stop a few times on the way. I got on at Banco de Espana to Sol then from Sol to Plaza de Castilla. I got off there and walked around but there really wasn't anything to see at night.

I got back on the Metro and went to Tres Olivos and had to switch to another train to get back to Las Tables. One more change and a short walk and I was back at the apartment. Since Roberto gave me a key, it didn't matter that him and his famil was not home, I could just go in. (This is very common for CouchSurfing when the host cannot show you the city themselves they tell you what to see and send you out with keys in case they're not there when you get back. Or for me, since my phone didn't work, it was 100% necessary.)

I decided to relax and watch some TV in Spainish, a language I don't know at all, and I setteled on childrens programing. Maybe my subconcious learned a few words... Right? I fell asleep at some point but I woke up when two Austrian girls showed up. They were also CouchSurfing, so we got to chat a bit (in broken German on all parts) in Austria, they speak "German" but it's not Hoch Deutsch which is propper German. Finally, I decided to go to bed.

As soon as I got into bed, the family came home and I got up to say hello. They were all quite drunk but that's the nice part about having such good public transportation, no need for a DD, just take the Metro.

We wound up staying up until about 3 AM talking and drinking and I finally went to bed.


When I woke up at 9:30 AM, the Austrian girls were already gone which surprised me but they had said last night that they were getting up at 7 AM (I at least understood that in German.) I quickly got ready and left the apartment to go to the Metro.

I went back to Plaza de Castilla and took a few photos but even in the day it wasn't anything special so I got back on the Metro to Ibiza so I could find Parque del Retiro. 

I wandered the park and found some beautiful views, there was even a small pond / lake thingy where you could rent row boats and go out on the water.

I kept walking through the park and finally came out on the other side. I had no idea where I would find the Prado Museum when, BAM!, I look up and there it is! It took some serious searching but finally I found the ticketing office, but first I found this church and checked it out. It was breathtakingly beautiful from the outside -- with it's sand colored and white stones and the high peaks -- but the inside wasn't really anything special.

The entrance fee for the museum was 12 Euros for general admission and 6 Euros for students but I left my student ID in my backpack so I paid full price. The museum was fabulous!

The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in Madrid. The museum features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, and it is based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. The collection is seen unquestionably as the best single collection of Spanish art in the world.

When I was finished in the museum, I walked some more and found a museum with free entrance and looked inside. All the art was from the Tate museum in London. Also, when I left this free museum, I found this awesome wall covered in greenery, how cool!

I then walked back through the park to find the botanical gardens but there was a really long line to get in so I decided against it. I needed to get back to the house sometime soon to grab my things and make my train home. I continued to wander through the park then caught the Metro back but again, I stopped and wandered between stops.

I got back to the house and Roberto and family were there and we talked a bit and they made me some food then I grabbed my things and went to the train station so I didn't miss my train. After a long wait, they finally announced the platform I would be leaving from and I went to board the train. 

This was a night train, a "hotel train" with beds. Never again. Never. I will never travel with a train like this if at all possible in the rest of my living, breathing life. 

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