Somos Madrileños :)

We arrived in Madrid last Tuesday and have rather enjoyed being able to blend in here – a nice change of pace from our undeniable tourist identity in Morocco…

Actually, we didn’t have the smoothest start to our week in Madrid. Pretty much immediately upon landing in Madrid, Connor was overcome with some wicked food poisoning that lasted through the night. Fortunately our airbnb hosts were incredibly sympathetic and super helpful, which was a huge relief. So after a rocky start, we finally got our act together and we were able to traipse around this wonderful city 🙂

Our first day out, we ventured to the nearby Parque de Retiro. It is the absolute best park I’ve ever visited – it’s really clean, HUGE, gorgeous, great for people watching and for napping, and it’s FREE 🙂
20130603-154242.jpg{The peacocks even dig this park!}

We have literally spent at least a portion of our afternoon at Parque de Retiro every single day since arriving.
20130603-154443.jpg20130603-154500.jpg20130603-154518.jpg20130603-154532.jpg
Needless to say, we are big fans of this place 😀

Because of how much I’ve enjoyed the Parque de Retiro, I figured the Real Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanical Garden) would be just as awesome. Sadly, I was slightly disappointed – there weren’t many flowers, nor were there many places to sit and enjoy the ambiance, and it felt quite crowded due to how much smaller it is than the park. Ah well, it was only €3 to get in (thanks to our college student IDs we have shamelessly been waving around to get reduced ticket prices whenever we can) and we got some decent pictures…

20130603-155330.jpg20130603-155347.jpg{Inside the green house…}
20130603-155541.jpg{Connor really got into the bonsai exhibit}
20130603-155710.jpg{Connor finally came across some height competition :P}
20130603-155846.jpg

The royal botanical gardens may have been slightly disappointing but the royal palace of Madrid most certainly did not! Very regal & very well preserved. Unfortunately we only bothered to take pictures outside :/
20130603-160121.jpg{Still a kickass view from inside the courtyard, though!}
20130603-160256.jpg{And here’s one facing the cathedral}

We have also spent plenty of time just generally exploring…
20130603-160456.jpg20130603-160515.jpg20130603-160527.jpg20130603-160553.jpg{Connor outside the Egyptian Debod Tomb in the middle of Madrid}
20130603-160758.jpg{Connor inside the tomb}
20130603-160921.jpg20130603-160949.jpg{Connor inside Plaza Mayor}
20130603-161104.jpg{On top of the Reina Sofia Museum}
20130603-161206.jpg{Connor posing w/ the very informative lamb/pig/cow art structure depicting where each type of meat comes from}

…and happily eating 🙂
20130603-161453.jpg{Our first crack at paella! Not bad, but not quite our cup of tea…}20130603-161612.jpg{Findlay Market (shout out to Cincy!) Madrid-ified :D}
20130603-161850.jpg20130603-161904.jpg{Why yes, I most certainly will help myself to 2 large beers & 2 heaping plate-fuls of tapas from the local, hoppin’ dive bar!}
20130603-162121.jpg{I may have nurtured a mild crush on this distinguished, Sean-Connery-looking gentleman from afar while beveraging at a cafe :P}

20130603-163005.jpg{And finally, Connor and I each had a steamy love affair with this delicious little number (chocolate banana crepe) :P}

So we have our last night here in Madrid tonight and then we fly to Barcelona tomorrow. We have another airbnb rental lines up there – which reminds me! Here is the link for airbnb:

https://www.airbnb.com/tell-a-friend?airef=3pr50ze2411zz5

I cannot sing its praises enough – it really is a phenomenal option for accommodations while traveling and it’s an excellent deal!

So yeah, Barcelona for a week is our next stop and we are even hoping for a little beach time! The temperature has finally been over 70 and our apartment is super close to the beach – I’m pumped 😀

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