And that's exactly what I've been doing all week. Last Sunday, Carolina, Taylor and I went on a free walking tour of the city. Thanks to my awesome friend Katherine, I found out about this company called Sandemans New Europe. They have free tours in like 14 different cities and then special tours (for money) in each city. The other tours offered in Madrid are the Civil War tour, the Pub Crawl and the Tapas Experience. Im SUPER excited to do the tapas one because for only €14 (about $18) you get a free drink and tapas at the 3 different bars they take you. So that should be fun but getting back to the point lol...the free tour! It was really great. I had been to or walked past a lot of what we were shown but it was cool to have a guide explain the history and cool little stories about everything. And the guide was really awesome too! A little quirky but he was very entertaining, definitely knew his stuff and you could tell he loved his job, which was cool. They're free but at the end, you can tip your guide as much as you thought their tour was worth. Very cool idea and we ended up giving $20 because we liked it so much. Here's pictures from the tour.
The first one is the Catedral de la Almudena, right next to the palace. The second is at the Puerta del Sol where a protest was going on! Walking through that one a tour with 20 other people was pretty interesting. I have no idea how our guide kept everyone together. And the last one is of a couple cool buildings but the one on the left is the Hotel Asturias, where me, my mom and my sister stayed the last time we went to Madrid! Memories! Haha.
So the tour was great. I'm really glad we did it and I cannot wait to do the others! Next up in our adventure of Madrid week was the world-famous art Museum, El Prado. I'm still not sure how I feel about classic art. Some of it is really cool and interesting but most of it is super boring.
The 3 of us, along with our wonderful guide Encarna and our program director, wanted to figure out a day that wouldn't be too busy so we could see everything we wanted to with no crowds. The group consensus was a Wednesday morning. We were sure there wouldn't be too many tourists. We were so wrong...
|This picture was taken on the way out, when there wasn't 200 people waiting on those stairs to get in|
|Thank you Google!|
|Google saving the day again!|
Something really cool that we learned on our tour is that Ernest Hemingway used to constantly hang out at bar at the Plaza de Santa Ana. Its called the Cerveceria Alemana. According to our tour guide, there's a plaque on one of the bar stools that says "Hemingway sat here blah blah blah". On my way to the Banco de Espana I decided to stop by and have a drink. First off, there are no bar stools. There's also no plaque. Or pictures. Or any mention of Hemingway. But I asked the bartender and he said that Hemingway did in fact spend a lot of time there but they never had a plaque or anything. Oh well. I had a beer where Hemingway got wasted. So cool.
|They gave me olives with my beer and tortilla...haha...|
|One last goodbye!|
Hasta la proxima!
|Possibly one of the most photographed buildings in Madrid|