Oh how things have changed since my last trip. Now, well…I had such an amazing time travelling solo on my last trip and things had changed quite drastically the second I’d arrived back in England that I had quit my job, moved out of my flat and decided to travel for a bit longer. After a difficult few weeks, I was on my way to the airport for an early morning flight and feeling absolutely no regrets about my decisions.
After sleeping for most of the flight, my bag was first off the belt and I was on my way into Madrid city centre in no time. I called the apartment to see if it’d be possible to check in early but no luck, so I left my bag in the train station storage locker and went to meet a friend for lunch. We stopped at Mercado Antón Martin and checked out a few of the restaurant stalls before settling on one that had a pumpkin risotto. Not something I’d usually pick but was actually quite nice!
After lunch it was time to check in so I collected my bag from the train station and took the 10-minute walk to the apartment, where I tried again to call the owner and say I was here. Apparently there had been an epic language miscommunication because despite it being time I could check in, he was at lunch and I would have to wait. Wonderful. I found a nearby bar and got a drink while I waited for the time he’d told me to be there, and then had to wait outside the apartment for another 15 minutes as he was late. Trying to not take this as a sign for how the rest of my trip would go, I dropped my stuff in the apartment and headed out for Retiro Parque, taking the opportunity to explore the little backstreet shopping streets on the way.
The evening was a wild one, full of quiet strolls around the lake in Retiro Parque and a burger from my favourite Spanish burger chain. Back at the apartment I had an early night watching Netflix and prepping myself for a trip to Segovia the next day. Wild.
Having plans are all well and good, but I felt dodgy when I woke the next morning and took it slowly getting ready. Eventually making it to the train station, I realised that all of the trains to Segovia were sold out until early afternoon, which wouldn’t have been worth the trip. Slightly disappointed, I made a note to buy my ticket for Toledo in advance so I wouldn’t miss out on that too, and started to walk back to the city centre.
Although it had taken just minutes on the metro to get to Chamartin station in the north of Madrid, I had no other plans for the day and enjoyed the two hour walk back to Sol. Too often we take the quickest way from A to B, because we don’t have the time to waste taking the ‘scenic’ route. But as I had no other plans for the day, I wanted to make the most of being able to see a side of the city I wouldn’t usually. On the way, I spotted Tim Hortons, the Real Madrid stadium and even stopped for a bit of shopping.
It was so nice to just enjoy the sunshine, and once I got back to the city centre I went scouting for empanadas and bought my train ticket to Toledo for the next day. The train I’d hoped to get was already sold out, so I’m glad I was buying the next one now! I stopped for a plate of patatas bravas on my way back to the apartment, and celebrated my first dinner out on my own!
The next morning it was up early and off to Toledo for the day. I had no real idea of what to expect, but wanted to visit because I’d heard a lot of people mention it. Although it was super quiet when I arrived, the small city soon came to life and I had a great time exploring the hilly, narrow streets and range of sights. As I made my way back to the train station at the end of the day, I just knew my legs would be feeling it tomorrow!
Once I’d arrived back in Madrid, I nipped back to my apartment for a bite to eat and to rest my feet before heading to Sol to watch the Semana Santa parade. I’d come back to Spain over the Easter period so that I’d be able to see as much of the celebrations as I could. As I stood in the crowds in Sol square, I heard the drumming and saw the floats coming, but it all felt a little underwhelming. Was this what I’d been waiting to see?
Before the celebrations could really get underway, the rain that had been threatening finally started to fall and everyone scattered. I had no idea what was going on, so went back to the apartment to pack as I had an early train to catch to Zaragoza in the morning. Fingers crossed I’d have more luck with the celebration parades in Zaragoza!