Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Back to Madrid

Last night I met up with Doofan and Javier for a delicious dinner, ¨close to where I´m staying,¨(just teasing you Javier).

art exhibit

 Today I went to the Palace of Cibeles went to the top of the Palace for the  Mirador de Madrid , with amazing views of the city.  

Plaza Mayor

Within this palace there were art exhibits by new unknown artists, which were probably my favorite exhibits on this whole trip.  My favorite exhibit was titled, ¨persons with disabilities in everyday life.¨   The photographs were beautiful.  I wanted to take pictures of them all.  There were other interesting exhibits and paintings as well.

Buen Retiro Park
Then I headed to the outdoor café called Gran Cefe De Gijon, which is one of the oldest cafes in Madrid.  It was such a pleasant day to sit outside and enjoy lunch and some wine. 

Buen Retiro Park was next on my list of things to do, which reminded me a lot of Central Park.  I hung out here for a bit then walked around some more, just getting lost on streets away from all the tourists. 

Since I had hit all the ¨must do,¨spots and had done lots of walking, I figured why not do a little restaurant hopping and get some coffee, wine and tapas along the way!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Segovia, Spain

suckling pig

Aqueduct of Segovia

Can´t get enough of this view

Today I took a day trip to Segovia, which is about an hour away from Madrid.  Fantastic city with great views and delicious food and wine.  
not a bad pit stop

Castle ceiling

Segovia is famous for its love of the pig, cooked in a million ways. Roast suckling pig, cochinillo, is a delicacy in Segovia, which I had right when I got there and it was amazing.  

Cathedral of Segovia
I got to see the amazing Aqueduct which is the most important Roman monument in Spain, it was incredible, thought to have been constructed during the 1st century AD.  

Sleeping beauty castle
Then I walked to the Alcazar of Segovia, which was the inspiration of Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle.  It was so cool.  This was one of my favorite castles so far, the ceilings, the floors, the details and views were phenomenal.

Castle of Segovia
I walked around for almost 6 hours passing beautiful cathedrals including the famous Cathedral of Segovia known as the ¨ Lady of Catherdals¨.

wine and cheese with a view

obsessed with this beauty

Beautiful view with the Cathedral in the back

There is also a great variety of cheeses and wine, which I got as a snack before heading back on the bus to Madrid. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Madrid, Spain

lunch spot
A short 45 minute bus ride from Toledo to Madrid I feel like I´m going to like this city more than I expected.

I had lunch at this cute wine/cheese/meat store.  Super cute and low key, where I was able to do some planning for the rest of my trip.
lunch first day

Doofan´s apartment

Joy Club

at the club
Then, I walked around the city a bit and got ready to meet Doofan, a girl I ran track with at Kutztown University, who recently moved to Madrid.  I met her at her apartment and got to hear the awesome love story on how she ended up meeting her now boyfriend in Spain and ended up moving here a few months ago.

We ended up going to a club called Joy after her boyfriend made us some delicious strawberry gin and tonic drinks.  As he explained, in Spain clubs don´t really get going until 330am-4am.  We ended up having a good time and staying until 3 or so but couldn´t hang/didn´t really want to hang with the late late nighters, which were waiting in line to get in when we left.
Plaza meyor

yummy tapas

tapas time

The next morning I headed out to Plaza Mayor and the El Rastro the flea market which was bit overwhelming.  I thought Times Square had a massive amount of people.  This seemed worse.  I hung around for a bit, then took the closest side street, which was a lot less crowded.

I ended up finding a cute lunch spot in the neighbhorhood of La Latina, where you can sit at a table and the servers come around with platters of tapas and you just take whichever one you want, then pay for how many you had at the end.  I had some great ones, mushroom/bacon/cheese, cod/potato/cheese aoli, 3 cheese, spring rolls.  So good.

Museo del Prado
Meat shop
I then continued walking to the Mercado de San Miguel and La Iglesia de San Adres.  After all this walking a siesta was in order. 

In the evening, I went to the Museo de Prado, which has one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 19th century.  Many pieces from Goya, Velazquez, Greco, Rubens and Bosch seemed to be the highlights.  It was a beautiful museum.  I´m not super into art museums, but was told this was unquestionably the best single collection of Spanish art and couldn´t be missed and I´m glad I went! 

painting in Museo De Prado

Toledo, Spain

Ok, I won´t say it anymore.  The most beautiful city I think I have ever seen, (besides NYC of course) Toledo, Spain.
Ready to zip line

I took a 2 hour 30 min train ride to Madrid, then a 30 min train ride from Madrid to Toeldo.  Immediately I knew I had fallen in love with this city. 

zip lined over this river

nerves before zip lining

I dropped my things and headed out to explore.  I did a 2 hour walking loop around the city with the most amaznig views I have ever seen.  I also came upon a zipline over the river, which is the longest urban zip line in Europe.  For 10 euros I couldn´t pass it up.  It was thrilling!

As I contiuned my walk every time I¨d get up over a hill or a turn a corner, the views just took my breathe away.  I kept thinking, it can´t get any better and it did!

bull tail
For dinner I went to this amazing restaurant called Kumera, possibly the best food ever I got a delicious glass(or maybe bottle, but who´s counting) of red wine, Rabo de toro (bull tail) and anchoas con pan de cristal (anchovies on bread with tomato) which was a ridiculous combination.  It was so freakin good.  I then went to a nearby bar and had some beers before heading back toward the cathedral to get a night view.

 Today I walked around the city more, to the Sinogaga Santa Maria, Monasterio San Juan Los Reyes, the Alcazar and past many more beautiful churches.  I also tried the cities specialties of croquettes with ham, rabbit with garlic sauce and marzipan, which I wasn´t really a fan of, it was too sweet.

For lunch I sat outside at a local spot called  Ludena.  I happened to walk by it last night and people were spilling out onto the street trying to have dinner here, so I went back for lunch.  I had a delcious meal called carcamusas, the chef´s special signature dish, which was small pieces of pork cooked in a tomato sauce with peas.  So good, I never want to leave this place!