I cannot believe it’s our final day in Spain. Where has the time gone?! Ever since last summer I have had a mini checklist of places I have wanted to revisit or activities I have wanted to do for the first time.
We turned left out of our hotel onto Gran Vía and used our best memory of directions to get us to the Palace! Little did we know we were staying about three minutes from the palace all week! What?! Last year, we did a formal tour of the palace grounds with the students and this year just wanted to stop by again to witness it’s grandeur. The Royal Family does not actually live at this palace. It is used only for state ceremonies and special events. It’s really beautiful in person. The palace is open from 10am-6pm daily and tours run around 11 euros. Definitely worth a visit!
Sra. Perry and I were hoping to find a panadería on the way to grab a café and nepolitana for breakfast but no luck. We walked back towards the city center in search of food as we were starving! Fortunately we stumbled across a café that served churros and chocolate. It was our final day in Spain and we knew it was the right choice. I mean, lets me honest. Any day it would be the right choice!
After a delicious (and obviously healthy) breakfast, we headed towards Sol to hop on the metro towards Argüelles. Today we visited the Teleférico! So exciting! I waited a whole year to do this!
The teleferico soars high above the city’s largest park, Casa de Campo, which was formally a royal hunting estate. This park is huge! To put its size into perspective, it is five times the size of Central Park in NYC! It was not what I was expecting of a “park” however. This park resembled an African Savannah to me with little grass. The parks within the city are much more beautiful and lush with flowers.
You get a panoramic view of the city that is breathtaking, fly over the Manzanares River and end at a terrace on the outskirts of the city where you can relax with good and a drink! For only 6€ it is well worth the price of admission, especially since there is an audio guide talking to you inside the cable car about the city sights!
Boy was it hot today. After the teleferico, Sra. Perry and I were hungry and wanted to stop for a quick bite to eat as we needed time to do a lot of packing this evening. We decided to walk home and stop somewhere casual on the way. I was dripping with sweat (and it is a dry heat) by the time we reached Gran Vía. Since we really have not eaten at many touristy restaurants this trip, I decided to go for the gold and chose Tako-Way. I wish someone would have taken me away from there before I even went in! It was the Spanish version of Chipotle/Qdoba and an absolute disappointment! My tacos left me longing for Chipotle back in the states!
We arrived back at the hotel to do some packing around 6pm. It’s amazing all you can acquire during a two week trip, especially as a Spanish teacher. I collected some fun memorabilia for a bulletin board, bought a stuff ham leg to hang from my classroom ceiling, my name written in Arabic from the streets of Granada and souvenirs for family and friends! Luckily, I learned to leave some room in my suitcase for this very situation as everyone knows I am quite the shopper.
Since we knew it was going to be an early morning, we needed to get to bed early. We could not say goodbye to Madrid just yet! We set out for one last evening walk on Gran Vía towards Sol and Plaza Mayor taking in the sights and sounds of the city. It really is a beautiful place with so many proud of their culture.
There was one taste, however, that I was not ready to say my final goodbye. Churros and chocolate. You only live once right?! We headed back to Chocolatería San Gines for a final serving and reflected on the trip as we dipped our warm and fresh churros in the decadent chocolate. That was the way to end the trip. Delicious food and great company.
We have to be at the Real Madrid soccer stadium at 7am in the morning to catch the bus for the airport and say goodbye to the Spanish families. This second summer trip to Spain has been such a blessing for me as an educator. I learned so much about the culture I had not known before, was able to practice my language with natives and had the opportunity to see former students practicing the skills they had learned in our classrooms and falling in love with the Spanish culture.
I am looking forward to another trip to Madrid next year. This place really is becoming a home away from home.