Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Written by Kaitlyn
**Disclaimer: The following trip took place over Easter weekend, before the most recent series of COVID-19 related restrictions were put in place in France.**
Dear Madrid, thank you for being the perfect getaway for a long weekend. We love you and your sit-down restaurants, energetic nightlife, and never-ending shortage of things to do.
The night we arrived it quickly became apparent Madrid is a city that thrives at night; its streets were full of life and laughter, revelers were celebrating the long weekend in stride.
The next day was off to an early start; there was so much to do, to see, and most importantly, to eat (which is exactly what we did)! Due to COVID-19 restrictions we have been unable to sit down in restaurants until this weekend so you can bet we were going to eat out every chance we got. Our breakfast was one of champions. We were craving familiarity and jumped at the chance to have an American style breakfast, and dare I say the Spanish almost do American breakfast better than Americans? With our stomachs full and smiles on our faces we headed to our next stop: a shopping spree on the iconic Gran Via.
We wandered through a park, where we stumbled on a man with an extremely old-fashioned camera. He offered to take a photo of us, and showed us the process of developing it.
We then headed toward the Prado Museum to admire some artwork. There were many memorable pieces, but one that particularly called out to us was Las Meninas, a Baroque-era painting depicting Margaret Theresa, the king’s daughter.
After getting our fill of art history and seeing more than a lifetime’s worth of Spanish royalty paintings, we ventured into trying traditional Spanish dishes. I ordered their famous huevos rotos con jamón (broken eggs with ham).
Our culinary tour then took us to El Chocolatería San Ginés, Madrid’s oldest and most famous chocolate shop. The churros were delicious! It was a thousand times better than the frozen and reheated churros I’m used to having at my state fair… although now that I think about it, that’s a pretty low bar.
One of my favorite things about Madrid was seeing the architecture. They seem to slap Spanish tile on everything. Even their street signs are artfully painted tiles!
The next day was absolutely beautiful weather-wise, so much so that we spent half the day relaxing in Buen Retiro Parque. It reminded me of New York City’s Central Park, but better. Flowers were blooming all around us as park musicians serenaded us with a variety of instruments, from the saxophone to a man creating notes from the rims of glasses.
One of the main attractions of Retiro Park is canoeing on the lake in the center of the park. My friends and I excitedly hopped into the boats and rowed around the lake. We raced in the water, laughing as we got close to bumping into each other and generally causing chaos in the small lake.
The park was so photogenic that we couldn’t pass up any chances to hold impromptu photo shoots, especially with spring in full bloom.
Of course, we couldn’t vacation in Spain without fully embracing the culture. We were a little tired from our morning activities, so we returned to the Airbnb for a short siesta. Honestly, America could learn from Spain — siestas are always a good idea.
At night, we scouted out the best sunset spot in the city, the rooftop of the art gallery Bellas Artes. Though we didn’t exactly catch the actual sunset, the afterglow was magical with the lights from the city twinkling all around us.