Madrid

Day 27:

Early morning to Madrid with a stop in Zaragoza for our last bus ride 😩. The stop was short and sweet and just for lunch. Cody and I actually just had lunch with with each other which I think has been the only time we’ve done that all trip and we got some pretty good 8€ Chinese food in EspaΓ±a.

As we’re on our way to the final hostel of our trip, Mike tells us that this one is really cool and is probably the best one on tour. So we arrive in the gay district of Madrid because that’s where our hostel is located and have grab our luggage from the bus to walk 5-6 blocks because the bus couldn’t fit down the small side street the hostel was located on. We find our room and compared to some of the other places on tour is was very nice but I think Paris and Nimes were nicer then this one. The cool thing is, the name of the hostel is Hostel 007 but it apparently has nothing to do sigh James…James Bond.

We start getting ready for our night and met Mike downstairs because he said he would take whoever wanted to come out to chocolate and churros at this famous place on Madrid where all the Celebs go for their churros and choco too. I’m starting to think we really are one of the best groups that he’s had because he gave us all little souvenirs (soap from Carcasson [where lavender is popular], little candies, flamenco clappers and a shot glass from Zaragoza. He’s probably the best tour director I’m ever going to have.

Anyways, we went out for Churros and Chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines. They give you the chocolate in coffee cups and the taste reminded me of if you took a hot chocolate packet without so much sugar and dumped it into less water than you were suppose to. And the churros were naked, they didn’t have any sugar on them but that’s obviously an American thing because these are authentic. They were very good but super rich, I could only eat a few.

After that we went to the beer bar where they had buckets of 25 beers for 30€ which is probably the best deal we’ve found all trip haha. There were 4 or 5 buckets ordered between like 15 people…everyone was filling up on beer ha. We actually didn’t want to leave that place but they cut us off and told us we couldn’t buy another bucket πŸ˜³πŸ˜›. Crazy Americans.

But the plan was to go to El Kapital which is a pretty famous club in Madrid that has 7 floors of different music, drinks, and awesomeness but this time we weren’t as lucky to get in free. But we did have a bracelet that got us in for 16€ instead of 22 plus two drink tickets. Too bad one of the girls “lost” one of my drink tickets πŸ˜’. Oh well. But the club was awesome. The 7th floor had an open roof so you could see the sky, 6th was a mojito lounge, 5th-2nd were really just there, but the first floor was awesome. It was a huge mosh pit with an industrial sized fog machine that would shoot a ton of fog out every time the dj dropped the music. So much fun!

Day 28:

The bus tour at 9:30 came pretty quick in the morning but we learned a ton. Like Madrid means an abundance of water because the mountains bring so much water into the city and the tap water is usually better then bottled water. We went to Puerto del Sol last night while walking to churros which is the center and heart of Madrid. So on the bus we went down Grand Via street (23% of Spanish people stay in either Barcelona or Madrid), Cebelas square (I’m probably spelling these wrong), the new town hall, Columbus square where he’s actually pointing south instead of west, the East entrance into the city, Parka del Retrido where a tree has survived from Cortez expeditions times, the old train station that’s now a tropical green house with a pretty big turtle pond, Museo del Pueblo? Where they have like 7 king’s collections, the Don Quixote monument, and finished touring through the Royal Palace. Couldn’t take pictures in the palace but it was designed by the same architect and designer who made the Palace of Versailles so it had the same feeling to it.

After the tour, Erik, Cody, Sarah and I went to the flea market that’s only open on Sundays and shopped around for a bit. Then we rode the metro back to our hostel stop and got Wok to Walk for lunch. I don’t remember if I said something about this place in Amsterdam but that’s where we first had it and it is the most ingenious thing Europe has as far as fast food. Think chipotle but with stir fry. You can create your own Chinese take out bowl. I think I could eat there everyday.

Came back to the hostel to prepare for one of our last nights on the tour and took a nap…well Cody napped for the majority and I got a little bit in. But then we got up to go see a bull fight! Typical Madrid, they actually banned it in Barcelona in 2010 a this was our only chance to see one. But the fights that were happening were called novillada which means they they weren’t professional bull fighters, they were still in training. So when we asked the tour guide about going to see a fight she told us she would not recommend going to a novillada as your first fright because they can get pretty gruesome. But none the less, a group of us wanted to go anyways.

So we took the metro there, got tickets for pretty good seats, and waited for the show to start. Since my mom has been to Spain before and told me about the bull fights she saw, I knew generally was going to happen but some of the girls that came with us didn’t. They didn’t know the point of the “fight” was to kill the bull. So there were some tears ahead by a few and some early leavers. But a few of us stayed until half way through the third fight (there are 6 a night) and then headed out. There was a lot of discussion about it after words and I chalked it up to this: it’s not whether or not I enjoyed it because it’s a little scary to think that people enjoy watching that but for me it was an experience and I knew what was going to happen to the animal in the end. And the bottom line is that they use every part of that meat. As soon as the bull is dragged out of the arena it is chopped up and put in refrigerated vans that go straight to the market, the whole bull is used. And those bulls actually have some of the best lives for cows. They are essentially “free range” bulls which are feds the best in order to grow the strongest so they can perform at their peak in these fights. If I had to choose between being a bull in a fight and being a cow raised for eating, I would definitely choose the bull life.

After the fight we went to Cerveceria 100 Montaditos which we think means restaurant of 100 sandwiches because that’s exactly what they had on the menus. And, since it was Sunday, everything was 1€! It was awesome, Cody and I spilt 7 mini sandwiches and same cheddar bacon fries. And of course stopped to get ice cream on our way back to the hostel to watch the final game of the World Cup. I had never had a double caramel magnum ice cream bar before and lemme tell you…I probably never will again. It was delicious in the worst way. Anyways, go Germany!

Day 29:

Wow, last day on the trip. I really can’t believe it’s been a full month. When we started in London I thought it was going to take forever to get to Madrid but it really didn’t. Time has flown by and I’ve loved ever second of it. If I could I would probably do the whole trip over right now if I could.

So we had nothing organized or planned for our last day. Mike said it was a chill day and we could relax, wind down, and do our own thing. We got up and did a little shopping with Sarah and by shopping I mean walked into stores and walked out 😞 I’m a terrible shopper. But then we went to a piercing place so Sarah could get her nose pierced! I’m a terrible influence ha. Cody Sarah and I headed to Park Retiro and saw a palace of crystal which was pretty cool and some funky looking ducks.

We tried to meet up with everyone for lunch at El Tigre but there were 3 of them on the same street so it took us a while to find. But once we did all you had to do was order a drink and they brought you trays and trays of tapas, it was amazing! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is short on cash at the end of your trio ha.

We ended the tour with our farewell dinner which was not impressive at all but we were all together and that’s all that mattered. Then we went back to the beer bar ha, our favorite place here.

Soooooo our bus for the airport leaves at 3am this morning…no sleep for us, that was the plan but I got a hour. Not a good one I know but it’s our last day πŸ˜” I actually can’t believe it’s over. As my Gramma Betty would say “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”. It’s been an amazing experience that no money could ever buy. I’ve made friends that will last a lifetime and we’re all already planning our next trip! Now it’s the hard part…the long trip to get back home.

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