I woke up fully dressed in my bed. I have no idea what is happening and I am searching for my phone. My fellow students have left for University (they’ve left me!!!) and I can’t find my phone. I notice I am still wearing my watch. I have to look twice to realize what is happening. Faster than my body actually wants to, I am grabbing all my stuff and toss it into my trolley. I find my phone in the bathroom (of course!) and I run downstairs to throw the keys on the desk (sorry).
At nine o’clock in the morning I am running into the streets with my trolley, searching for a taxi. Almost in panic, a taxi stops in front of me. The lady sees me sweating and I am trying to tell her to get me to the airport as fast as she can. I see the Sagrada Familia disappearing in the back window. I am off to Madrid.
24 Hours Madrid
Before I head back to the Netherlands, I make a quick stop in Madrid. I had to spend the week in Barcelona to attend the University there. And since I was already in Spain, why not make a quick stop to see my crazy Belgium friends in Madrid!
After a shower and fresh clothes (yes I was still wearing the ones from the day before) I was ready for a day in Madrid. Next day I would leave again to fly back to the Netherlands. Because of the limited time I had in this wonderful city, I didn’t had time for everything. So here’s what I did do:
1. Overdose On Sugar at San Ginés Chocolatería
So I hadn’t eaten yet, well, my stomach couldn’t bare food yet after my quick leave from Barcelona. And now I am all showered and clean again, I could really eat something. My Belgium friends must have known me very well, because I cannot think of anything else to start my day with than chocolate and churros! The very popular San Ginés chocolatería serves traditional hot, liquid, chocolate with churros. Open 24 hours and close to Plaza Mayor.
2. Walk Across Plaza Mayor
Madrid is filled with tightly packed streets, like a city supposed to have. But suddenly out of nowhere, there is this huge, central square. Exactly, you have reached Plaza Mayor. The combination of busy street life and amazing architecture makes this a place you must have seen. If you are here in December, at Plaza Mayor will be home to a major Christmas market then.
3. Taste Spanish Goodies at Mercado de San Miguel
What started out as a market, turned into a tasting event of large proportions. At Mercado de San Miguel (close to Plaza Mayor) you can sample your goodies for an Euro or sometimes even for free, before you purchase it. And you can buy almost everything! To give a small example, it goes from cheese, to seafood, to frozen yogurt and much, much more. Definitely go to this vibrant market and go on tasting expedition!
4. See Great Artwork in Museo del Prado
I have just one sentence for you: One of the largest art galleries in the world!
Free entrance from Monday to Saturday from 18.00h – 20.00h and Sundays and holidays from 17.00h – 19.00h.
5. Scatter the El Rastro Market
El Rastro is one of the most popular markets in Spain. Every Sunday from 09.00h to 15.00h, between Calle de Embajadores and Ronda de Toledo, you can stroll the market looking for beautiful products. Of course, the real good stuff you can find in the side streets of the main street. Originally only antiques were sold on this market, but nowadays you can find anything on this market, wether it is new or second hand and a wide range of products.
6. See The Sunset in Parque del Buen Retiro
Parque del Buen Retiro is my favorite escape-the-city-place. I love to just lay here in the park and watch the people pass by. My friends brought me here just in time for the sun to go down. The park is perfect to do some exercise or have a picnic. Or step into one of the boats and enjoy the Spanish sun.
7. Eat Tapas in the La Latina Neighborhood
La Latina is definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods. Eating and drinking is the key in this area with their beautiful bars, restaurants and cocktail places. Which also means, it is crazy busy here, especially during weekends. So make reservations or be smart. This also means that prices went up, since the popularity increased the last few years. Nevertheless, is La Latina one of the oldest and most traditional parts of Madrid. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the Mercado de la Cebada and the beautiful churches and basilicas hidden in the area.
What would you do if you had just 24 hours in Madrid? Tell me in the comments below!