Madrid (Semana Santa part 1)

The past month has just flown by. March was especially busy, as everyone was taking their annual leave before it ran out on April 1st. I had a week to take too, so what did I do? Hop on a plane to Spain!

One of the benefits of living in England (apart from the number of days I get off each year), is that it is very easy and cheap to travel. Growing up internationally, I have friends all over the world, and being here gives me the chance to visit many of them. In Madrid I was staying with a friend from Oxy. I was very lucky, the weather was perfect and I managed to fit in a lot of sightseeing.

Madrid is great for a number of reasons, one being all of parks you can find in the city center. My favorite was the Buen Retiro Park. This is one of the most popular parks in Madrid, and going in you can see why. It was huge, with a fountain, glass palace and book stalls everywhere! It also had tennis courts and ample areas to picnic.

I would be remiss of course, if I didn’t also mention the food. Oh boy. Chocolate and churros, small bocadillos, tapas…all washed down with tinto de verano. I get hungry just thinking about it..

Apart from the food and parks, we spent a whole day just browsing the different museums in Madrid, mainly the Prado and El Reina de Sofia. After spending time in IGCSE history studying the Spanish civil war, it was quite incredible to see Picasso’s Guernica.

guernica_all

On our last day in Madrid we went to El Escorial. Or, more specifically, the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The monastery grounds spread far, and within 45 minutes or so you can reach the top of a hill to get a stunning look of El Escorial.

What a treat! After finishing our few days in Madrid, we took a bus down to Granada to go explore Andalucia. I’ll discuss this leg of the trip in a second blog post.

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