Friday, February 28, 2014

Madrid is Huge- More Sightseeing

Madrid is one of the biggest cities we’ve been to. I’ve been to Berlin and both of us have been to Paris (both giant cities) but there was a lot to see! We took full advantage of the few sunshine days we had to go exploring.

Plaza Mayor is a central plaza in Madrid. It was the meeting point of our walking tour, and sits right next to Market of San Miguel. We often walked through it on our way back to the apartment. It’s surrounded by 3-story residential buildings with 230 balconies facing the square (one of which we almost stayed in!)

There is a bronze statue of King Philip III on a horse that stands in the center. We heard a story that back in the day, the mouth of the horse wasn’t sealed. Birds would fly in there and die in the belly of the horse. The birds would rot and emit a horrible horrible smell. The source of the odor wasn’t discovered until the statue was knocked over. When it was rebuilt, they sealed the horses mouth.  

And then we saw fat Spiderman:

Puerta de Sol is another centrally located square. This is where we first arrived via metro from the airport. It’s the best known and by far the busiest part of the city. It’s the center of a radical network of Spanish streets. One of them being Preciados Street which starts in Sol and ends at Gran Via (more on that later). The streets that branched off from Sol were absolutely bananas. They each had hundreds of people walking up and down. Shopping, eating, street performers and musicians, just craziness. So naturally we joined the party.

Looking down one of the streets from Sol

Sol also has a famous clock in the square. It’s the Time Square of Madrid. During New Years, millions of people gather in the square to countdown; eating grapes for good luck.  (Knowledge Bomb: Twelve Grapes is a Spanish tradition that involves eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight on December 31st. Its said it will lead to a year of prosperity. This tradition is linked to the Puerta de Sol clock tower.)

Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is a Roman Catholic Church designed in a neoclassic style. It’s located in the barrio of La Latina. We didn’t go inside, or even look at it that long, it did however have a really neat view off its ledge.

Gran Via is an ornate and upscale shopping street known as the Spanish Broadway and the street that never sleeps. So basically New York City and Las Vegas had a baby and it’s Gran Via. (Let’s just forget the fact that Gran Via existed way before it’s “parents”). Dan and I did not go party here, we did however, find a patio bar right when we got into Madrid along Gran Via. Despite it being "upscale" we each had a half liter beer for 1 single euro. Hashtag winning. 

Viaducto de Segoria is one of the most famous bridges in Madrid. The upper level connects the old Moorish section of the city to the royal center. Unfortunately, over time it gained the reputation of being “the suicide bridge” claiming the lives of at least 4 people a month. In 1998 authorities were forced to put up a 6-foot tall barrier along the edge limiting access. 

Spain was amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better "surprise" trip. Did I mention it was a surprise? I always plan and book our trips, but Dan wanted to do something special for me for Valentine's Day. I'm not big into that holiday, but he's a romantic, thus the surprise. While he booked all the accommodation and transportation, he told me where we were going a day before we left so I could do some planning. I was SO excited and Madrid did not disappoint. Amazing food and drinks and sites and just...everything! 


  1. Just found your blog! I'm moving to Germany this summer and I've just read a few posts but I'm now so much more excited for the move and the opportunities/adventures I will have. Thanks for sharing your experiences!!!

    1. Of course! I'm glad I could help amp up your excitement. Germany is amazing, you will love it. Let me know if you ever have any questions!


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