I was so confident in taking off from New York to Madrid, Spain via plane when I bought my tickets on my way back into the city from Boston, MA. Then, all that confidence disappeared when I arrived at the airport terminal. The airline had workers actively checking COVID-19 vaccination documents. It seemed so formal and strict that I irrationally half-expected something to go wrong. After thanking my lucky stars that I hadn’t lost the $266.23 of the flight ticket, I boarded to land the next day at Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD). Gotta say, MAD is a nice airport, very modern and clean. After figuring out the train and bus system, I checked into my hostel on September 24th around 3:00 pm. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was with Madrid Motion Hostel. It is an average quality hostel that I booked for 4 nights at a grand total of $24.37 US after conversion from Euros. And, I was relatively comfortable and safe during my stay.
California’s bus system sucks. New York’s is still subpar to London’s transportation system. So, when I landed in Madrid, I had reigned in my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Spanish public transportation in Madrid is not half-bad. It’s always a pleasure to move around a city when public transportation is easily accessible. For single travelers, it could also prove a slightly safer option as opposed to booking an Uber or taxi. Aside from making use of the buses, I also just walked for the sheer pleasure of it. Down long cobble stone walkways and back roads, between traditional Spanish buildings, and through touristy streets and off-beaten paths alike. One of the first locations that I strolled to was the famous Palacio Real de Madrid. And, I also hit-up a Spanish Food Market where I bought a chicken and avocado enpanadas, cheese enpanada, and a cup of sangria. Om, om, om.
Of course I would end up at a museum, and I knew that I wanted to see some of the best that Spain has to offer. The country has such a rich history and culture. The Museo Nacional del Prado was to drool over! I swear that I almost swooned and painting is not even a hobby that I partake in. The list of artists in collection: Rubens, Raphael, Goya, Velázquez, and Rembrandt. I believe it was the next day when I took a stroll through the famous Retiro Gardens, one of the nicest and most well-curated parks that I’ve ever visited. All the walking in my heavy hiking boots was worth the pain at the end the day. Did you know there are some temples in Spain from way back when? I was shocked when I saw them on the map, and I decided to take the trek over to visit. The little shopping store was closed, but right behind the temple (see picture) past the trees is perhaps the second most stunning view in Madrid after the view from the Palacio Real. It’s probably my favorite picture from my trip to Spain, and it gives me motivation to make it to Egypt some day soon.
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