My train ride to the capital of Spain was relaxing. The view outside gave me a good time to relax and cherish my trip so far. The instruction given by my next host helped me reach her home without any problem. As I entered my room, I saw suggestions on what to eat, were to go, guides and maps of Madrid. The best of everything in a very informative manner was kept there. It was more than I could ask for as I instantly sent my host a message thanking her for all this.
There are a lot of places to visit in Madrid that can suit ones preference. I stated with Plaza Mayor, a central plaza in the city of Madrid. It was bustling with people and has restaurants and cafes at all sides to give you a good taste of Spanish cuisines especially the tapas. Whenever I went there, I found Plaza Mayor filled with people, street artists and cafes lined up on all sides. Evenings used to be more fund with some street performance going on and cafes lit up with people's chit chat. This grand arcade soon became a go to place for me to relax, mix up with the crowd, and enjoy the local spirit of Madrid.
While Plaza Mayor became my favourite place, I was very much interested to visit Teatro Real or the opera house. Making my way, I reached Teatro Real or simply El Real, an opera house, as it is known colloquially. It was playing a Spanish opera for which I was very much excited but alas! I couldn't get a ticket to the show. Nonetheless, I made my way to Palacio Real de Madrid which is behind the opera house. It is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid, but is only used for state ceremonies. It was a magnificent building that boasts of amazing interiors, and a well-trimmed garden.
After spending some time there, as I was walking back, I saw a street artist playing music on different wine glasses filled with water. The music he created was entertaining and made up for my long walk. Watching people share their creativity with people was one of the best part of my travel and made it more vibrant. It was such a soothing experience listening to him creates music out of such ordinary things.
It was now time to treat my taste buds as I made my way to one of the famous café in Central Madrid, Chocolatería San Ginés to try the popular chocolate con churros (hot chocolate and churros). One cannot complete its trip to Madrid without visiting this place. There was a 15 minutes waiting time which was worth the pleasure of tasting the delicious churros dipped in hot chocolate with some fresh orange juice. A gentlemen playing music at the side and singing in Spanish made my evening more memorable as I indulged myself in some sweet sin of hot chocolates and churros.
Madrid had so much to offer me that I was literally confused where to go next. That's when I came across El Retiro or Buen Retiro Park. A magnificent park, filled with beautiful sculpture and monuments, galleries, a peaceful lake and host to a variety of events. Amidst all this, my favorite was Crystal Palace, a glass and metal structure in the shape of a Greek cross. The charm of the Crystal Palace was not less than a fiction. Tucked in the midst of the tress across and a water pond at the front, it was a true gem of the park. Next in line was Temple of Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple. It is dedicated to the gods Amon and Isis. There is great history on how it came to Madrid. I spent most of my time knowing the history as I enjoyed the beautiful sunset at the back of the temple.
On my last day in Madrid, I visited a famous flea market, El Rastro de Madrid or simply el Rastro. It is held on every Sunday and public holiday. The market was bustling with people and had variety of shops set up on the street for both new and used stuff
Madrid was the end to my journey in Spain. I had a good time and every moment made me fall in love with Spain a bit more. The language, the food, the connection with people; all made this trip a memorable one for me. As I boarded my flight with memories to cherish forever, I eagerly waited to visit the next destination of my solo travel journey.