Thursday, 9 June 2016

Madrid in a word, Magnificent

So it’s been just over a week since I returned from Madrid, another beautiful city I had the pleasure of ticking off of my ever changing and expending mental list of places I want to visit!

When I booked this trip up, I’d not quite realised that a) I was travelling out on a bank holiday so it would be busy, and b) it was the half term holidays so it would be busy. Heathrow was certainly busy when I got going, but it wasn’t an issue, as the time had got closer I’d come to terms with the fact it’d be chaos! What I didn’t bank on though was the flight out being incredibly uncomfortable and probably the worst I’ve had so far. Don’t get me wrong, I know the more I fly, the more likely I’ll encounter problems, but damn it was the bumpiest and most nail-biting take-off I’ve ever been a part of! I didn’t let that bring me down though, once I’d got off the plane and stretched my body back into shape all was well again!

I’ll be honest (as ever), I didn’t have much of a plan as to what to see in Madrid, I was purely playing it by ear, whereas in Rome & Bruges I had an idea of what I wanted to see. But things started to fall into place after I’d checked in and got on the metro to a station that I thought would be the right place to go to get food. It wasn’t, but after looking at Google Maps on my phone I realised that the Bernab—źu was literally just down the road, so off I went to see what it was like. I got there about 18:00, with an hour to go till the tours stopped, so I thought sod it, use the time effectively and get a tour in now. What a stadium it was!?! The tour was cheap, and you could walk round without a guide which was cool, taking in the presidents area, the dressing rooms, press area, pitch side area and the seemingly endless stream of trophies on show (including the Champions League that they’d won that past weekend).

After that it got me thinking that there was a second team in Madrid and that it’d be worth doing a tour round their stadium too if I could. And that was what I did, first thing the next day, smothered in suntan lotion as the sun was shining brightly, and wearing my West Ham shirt with pride (us English either choose our club or an England shirt on holiday without fail). Another great football stadium, but from what I learnt on the tour (this one guided), Atletico only have another season or so there before they move and it’s torn down, so I was glad I got to see it now.
The rest of the day (and the following one) I quite literally walked everywhere I could before my feet began to ache too much! There was so many palaces and historical buildings around the city that me and my camera were in our element! The food was beautiful too, along with incredible weather, it was another couple of days away that allowed me to switch off and get swept up in the enjoyment of it all.

I was walking through Parque de El Retiro (a beautiful place with a boating lake in the middle of it), and I got a little taste of home. I had stopped to look at my map, then I heard "Come on you Irons!".
A cheerful old chap & his wife had spotted me looking at the map & asked if I was lost (after the Irons shout). They were Essex raised but now reside in North London (and still go games), was a great little conversation about the club & the OS when it wasn't expected! A taste of home so far away

Anyway, Madrid was a lovely trip, I enjoyed wandering around the city and seeing the sites. It is a beautiful little city, not one I’d go to again though as I feel like I’ve seen most of what I can, but I would also recommend visiting it yourself if you get a chance. Next up for me is a switch off trip to Palma, Mallorca, to soak up the sun!

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