Whilst I am working as an au pair I have the weekends off so on Saturday I decided to make the most of this and visit Madrid for the day. My friend Izzy is also working as an au pair at the minute in Valladolid so Madrid was the perfect place for us to meet up. I caught the highspeed train (RENFE) in the morning from Zaragoza and when I arrived in Puerta de Atocha station in Madrid I walked down to the Estación de Sur to meet Izzy because she came by bus. The train station itself is actually quite impressive as it has a lovely glass roof so I would recommend taking a look at it even if you don’t come to Madrid by train.
The first place we visited was the Museo del Prado where I got in free with my student card which I thought was great considering I don’t even study in Spain! Before we went into the museum we sat down on a wall outside so as Izzy could finish a sandwich she’d bought at a café and we enjoyed feeding the sparrows which were so tame they were literally eating out of the palms of our hands. We decided to make a hasty advance into the museum however after a strange Asian man randomly asked to get his picture taken with us whilst he exclaimed “Chicas Guapas!” (pretty girls) We obliged but were somewhat taken aback by our apparent new found celebrity status.
In the Museum there was a vast collection of renaissance, romanesque, baroque and 19th century artwork, featuring the famous Spanish painters Goya and Velázquez. We were also able to visit the temporary exhibition which has paintings by El Greco and Picasso as well as some modern art. Being the rebel that I am I defied the no photos rule and took a couple of pictures of my favourite modern works by Jackson Pollock and Roberto Matta. I still got told off but it was definitely worth it.
After this we hopped on a tourist bus but the route it took us on didn’t really pass by the most notable sights (there are two bus routes) however we still got to see the stadium and the library. After this we went to the botanical garden where we met a lovely little retired man who insisted on guiding us around and teaching us about the most interesting plants and trees. It was nice to get a bit of welcome shade and I especially liked seeing kiwi trees and the pineapples which were growing in the greenhouse. After this Izzy and I pushed past hoards of gay rights protesters in fancy dress and a sea of rainbow flags in order to get to our respective stations. The atmosphere was great albeit a bit infringing upon our mobility!
So that was my day in Madrid! I know there is lots more to see so I would definitely like to go back one day but I had a great time and it was lovely to see Izzy. A beautiful city like Madrid is always best shared with a good friend. 🙂