Thank God I’m not comfortable with wasting my life away in the same place (I joke I joke. nothing wrong with staying put somewhere but I’m grateful I can wiggle out of my comfort zone once in a while). Going to Madrid was a bit of a gamble but worth taking as I had an unforgettable experience even though I went it alone. It was over a month ago and I’m annoyed with myself at not posting sooner but hey WHAT YA GUNA DO ABOUT IT.
I’d never been to Spain’s capital before and chose to go after my quick visit to Murcia because people (on the internet) favoured it over tourist-heavy Barcelona. I took a €15 coach and arrived to blue skies on Sunday 22nd February. I had almost given up hope of Couchsurfing and was looking into hostels because everyone I’d sent requests to was either out of town or lived too far out of town. Finally I got a notification telling me I’d been accepted by Alfredo, an IT consultant living in Villeverde Bajo, in the south of the city. Result.
Before I went to Alfredo’s I planned to explore the south of the city. I found a train station with luggage lockers, left my rucksack there and went on my way. I walked for a few hours until I looked at my whatsapp (Alfredo had let me know he was home) and my watch and realised it was time to get going. Obviously, being the ditz that I am, I hadn’t noted down where I’d left my bag. And had very little knowledge of Madrid’s main stations. Luckily I retraced my steps and managed to find the right station after a few attempts and a wasted hour or two. This basically sums up my attitude/luck when travelling. I’m unorganised and usually daydreaming but everything’s always fine in the end.
Yeah yeah, I say this every time I go anywhere (apart from Frankfurt, I severely dislike Frankfurt), but I had an incredible time in Madrid. The days were cloudy but my eyes were feasted to charming buildings and the nights were all about the beer, tapas, gorgeous music, people and laughter.
The trip was a while ago now but I’m still going to share some things I thought of while there. Can’t wait to look back on this list when I’m 90 and think how ridiculously unorganised and naive I was.
Thoughts during my first visit to Madrid;
1- What is this Ale-Hop shop and why doesn’t it exist everywhere and why don’t I own all of these cheap ‘accessories, gifts and décor’ items!?
2- Why don’t I own a motorbike or have a boyfriend with a motorbike *changes Tinder description ‘motorbike owners only plz*. (My CS hosts car was in for an MOT so we just went cruising round the city on his motorbike. He said he could tell I was an experienced passenger ((lol I aint)) and new I was an adrenaline junkie so thought he’d go faster than he normally would with passengers. The wind was crazy and the roads were hectic at times but it was up there with one of the best things I’ve ever done. We went through cobbled streets, past cathedrals, huge government buildings and a bloomin palace! You don’t experience moments like that, for free, if you stay in a hotel.)
3- Why don’t I live in Madrid, this place seems to have the best of everything
4- Zaras here are prettier than most churches (is that blasphemy?)
5- Every girl here looks so fab and glamorous, why am I not you?
6- seriously, how do girls here look so effortlessly stunning
7- guys are even more beautiful.
8 – there must be something in the water. give me all the water
9- aw guys are so friendly here. I’ve just been called beautiful 3 times in the past hour.
10- oh no, quite a few are major creeps. Stares all round
11- I wonder why it’s totally acceptable to scream ‘MAMA’ down the road. full on screaming.
12- why is this deep friend fish stick I’m eating and how unhealthy is it?
13- why am I standing up at the restaurant. Where are all the chairs?!
14- couchsurfing parties are expected to be totally lame and awkward, lets not get our hopes up
15- oh no, this couchsurfing party is promising. We’ve come to a lively club, free drinks all round and a fun group
16- eurgh, this german couple we’re hanging out with are way too wannabe quirky for my liking. Put down your pikachu rucksack and stop dancing like you’re in a cheesy 50’s movie.
17- roof bars are my new favourite thing! Not new favourite, they’ve always been up there in the top 5 but this place is amazing. I’ve watched the sun set and eaten 3 different types of pizza; life doesn’t get much better
18- should we go to this kizomba party? sounds like it could be cool, something different. *watches video of instructor on YouTube* yeah sorry, we’re not coming. nope.
19- why is this woman in a flamenco dress lip syncing and aggressively dancing towards me?
20- wearing sunglasses and a coat together isn’t just acceptable, it’s expected.
21- the little dogs are even cuter than ones in Paris, plus there’s a lot less poop lying around the streets
22- the only way to describe this palace and gardens is ‘freakin majestic’
23- there seems to be news reporters, police and ambulances everywhere. Non-stop drama
24- I may have found my favourite place to run. River, hills, views and pretty flowers. a 12 mile run seemed to fly by without me realising
25- whats that loud noise and rumbling feeling. *gets back to hosts house 10 minutes later* ‘did you feel the earthquake?! It’s on the news!’
26- the wind is so strong I genuienly think theres a hurricane happening too
27- I am surrounded by the worst dressed Disney characters I’ve ever seen. Why do they keep taking their heads off and why are they here. THIS IS NOT DISNEY LAND
28- I’m an unstoppable, bad ass, confident, solo traveller. I don’t need no one. Look at me totally sussing this all out on my own. I’m a total boss
29- oh no wait, I’m lost
30- found my way again. Its 11pm, I’m in a foreign country, I don’t speak the language, I’m tired, hungry and pretty poor but I’ve still managed to navigate my way to this random house on the outskirts of Madrid without internet or the full address. I’m allowed to be proud of myself
31- why is my couchsurfing host the friendliest person in the whole world *feeling lucky and content* & I have my own room, bathroom and roof terrace!
32- these ruins are pretty darn cool. I feel like I’m in a Will Smith movie
33- I don’t need any clothes. Must stop shopping
34- just a few pieces can’t hurt; theres a sale on so it doesn’t really count
35- I can’t fit half of my stuff in my tiny bag and I need to leave for the airport asap rocky
36- lets wear ALL MY CLOTHES. So many layers that I can barely get my oversized coat on
37- airport food is the most overpriced poop. I’m so done with this. I’ve spent all my money and have no souvenirs. But I want a sandwich.
I arrived back home in Paris with 2 euros to my name but some of the best memories and friends for life. Spain was gorgeous and Madrid was the perfect remedy to any problem I’d experienced in the previous few weeks. So much love and gratitude to anyone I met, stayed with or chatted to over a very reasonably priced beer. Until next time.