Just Emkaying: The one with Madrid - Spanish Escape Part 4

Dec 30, 2016

The one with Madrid - Spanish Escape Part 4

This is a part of a series on my travels to Spain. Read the previous post here.

Real Madrid's Beautiful Stadium - The Bernabeu
After bidding adieu to Bilbao, I took a bus to Madrid. In my mind, Madrid was going to blow my mind. However, of all the cities I went to Madrid was my least favorite except for the great Airbnb experience - I was hosted by professional musicians! It was really sad that I could not get to an actual performance as I had to leave on the day of the show.

Andy, my host and I coordinated over recorded messages on whatsapp. I often used to have a barrage of questions and doubts when it came to traveling in India, and hence my travel so far has been limited. But staying in Madrid, a foreign city changed my perceptions completely. For starters, Andy was not around so I had to find the house on my own in the north of the city, and then had to coordinate with his Mum who didn't speak English. Yet, it was so awesome how we communicated through signs and pointing at stuff. I was so taken aback by the sheer hospitality and warmth, coupled with such a fantastic home!

In Madrid I spent a lot of time on walking tours. Back to back, morning and noon figuring out more about the history of Spain, the great squares and the inquisition. The guides are here are fantastic, and the one story that got the most attention was how they classified "witches", and the building they were brought to in the picture below.

The other major highlight was a visit to the Bernabeu Stadium - what an amazing technological set up they have! I missed the chance to visit Camp Nou in Barcelona, but I had time on my hands in Madrid and this was one of the unscheduled visits. The stadium is pretty cool and stuff, but what is a must see is the walkthrough of history, collectibles and all the trophies! Here's a video:

Here's a tip. To really experience the stadium, check out the 360 photo I made. It's got more than 150,000 hits so far. Download the Google Street App, and then click on this link https://goo.gl/ezPxEL .

I also went to the Retiro park - A huge park with lots of water bodies and some fantastic architectural wonders right in the center of the city, a must visit. Preferably in the morning, I was caught there right in the afternoon so I was downing water bottles like crazy. 

A photo posted by Maddy (@2emkay) on

And of course, food was never missed in any city! Chocolate Churros!!!

A photo posted by Maddy (@2emkay) on

I do know that there was one major checklist item I did not manage - the party scene! If I'm not mistaken then Madrid actually has one of the best party scenes in Europe, and that is something I missed. But honestly, I don't think I'd really have cared much for it at the point.

One interesting episode in Madrid was buying tickets from a vending machine at the metro. While there were a lot of machines, and similarly a lot of people in queues, my first attempt went in vain as I couldn't make head or tail of the multiple slots, routes and instructions. And under pressure from the people behind me I decided to just move till I had figured this out. Helplessly looking around I couldn't find a single official to help me, and at the same time everyone seemed in a rush.

When you travel in a group, you have the strength of numbers and there's some comfort in the fact that someone will figure it out. When you are alone, there is no one else! In this case, I decided to just observe how people were actually using the machine. So, shamelessly I just stood right next to the machine and stared at the screen and how people were navigating it. One good thing is that I realised there was an English language option. Finally, after a good 20 minutes I went up to the machine and went through the whole operation, feeling like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Everything went perfect, but - as always the case with me - no ticket appeared.

Zilch. No whirring sound or ticket popped out from anywhere. 

Just as I was about to give up, I saw that the change of my ticket and the ticket dropped down in a slot at the bottom of the machine, like where the coca cola bottle usually falls through in the coke vending machine. Sheesh!

I literally jumped up and let out a whoop! Which got me some smiles from the Cop on duty and stares from everyone else. #MissionAccomplished. And that was my short stay in Madrid.

Still to come - Tenerife / Granada / Seville!


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