Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Abracadabra: Madrid Turned Me Into a Tourist

I made it, safe and sound! Being as the plane ride was the worst I've ever experienced you cannot imagine how happy it makes me to say that phrase!

I arrived to Madrid around 4:00, and y'all while the Madrid airport is one of the cleanest I have ever encountered it was beyond confusing. No guides, no directions, strictly following signs in Spanish that are leading you in the right direction (hopefully?). Honestly, I just located a local and followed them up the stairs, down the stairs, to the baggage claim and out the door. The taxi took me to the most adorable little bed and breakfast Abracadabra ran by the sweetest little old couple, who made the best breakfast- grilled cheese, my friends!
Abracadabra Bed and Breakfast- the owners daughter did all the artwork!
The B&B was located about 10 minutes from Plaza Mayor, which I took some time to walk around Saturday night and the people watching was plentiful. Sunday morning I enjoyed some delicious breakfast headed out the door at 11a and walked until 6:30p. It was only the beginning of the pain my feet would feel on this move to Spain. My first stop was the Tourist Information Center in Plaza Mayor to pick up my MadridCard. The MadridCard is a card you purchase for a certain amount of hours ( 24, 48, or 72) and it allows you priority access at a discounted prices via the card purchase to certain attractions in Madrid along with food, shopping and services.
Plaza Mayor representing the Spain in so many ways.
Mine was cultural which meant all access to the Museums. I  shopped at the greatest boutique for hand crafted jewelry with the bubbliest working girls who to this moment are the nicest Spaniards I've meet, took a two hour walking tour of the Old City, visited the Prado, and the Thyssen-Bornimesza- at which point I decided really quickly my feet, body and nerves needed a break from all the forward motion. Unfortunately, the moment I made the decision to head home was the moment I could not find the exit- it took me twenty minutes and many other pieces of art visuals to kindly exit through the gift shop.

 Jusepe de Ribera’s, ‘Mujer de Barbuda’ (‘Bearded Woman’)- this haunting photo was hands down my favorite at the Prado.

If you are wondering how in the world I was able to do all this walking as a single gal who was unaware of the street names being posted on the sides of buildings then welcome to my travel hack 101: Follow the old folk! Seriously, they are abundant here in Spain and love to talk walks- the little old ladies in partners gossiping  and the little old gents with the canes/weapons. They know where they are going, which makes me look like I know where I'm going and it's so easy to switch from one pair to the next!
The road to Toledo, which almost beat out Madrid for Capital city- almost.

Oldest Restaurante in Madrid, just check the record books.

This is where you buy your sweets folks, from the nuns and they are delicious!
 Later that evening I meet up with some folks from the CIEE program for dinner, we would all be traveling together the next day so it was nice to meet and greet before hand. On my way there I took a less touristy route and ran into some locals ( i.e. motorcycle riding, tattoo having, leather wearing men who complimented my hair, but laughed at my accent)- who were kind enough to guide me on my way!
The next day bright and early I was off with another great breakfast in my belly.
That lovely flower being consumed by my hair is courtesy of the ladies from the jewelry store.
 The cab ride to the train station was 6.50E and I proudly wore my seatbelt while firmly grasping the "oh crap" handle. Once there we hauled all our luggage to our platform, squashed everything in the cart and enjoyed the view. Now I'm in Seville participating in CIEE Orientation before I move to my homestay with Spanish classes, more on that in the post to follow.

Until next time, Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be Blessed  . . .


  1. I'm dumb. How do I follow your blog? I spent a year in Madrid many moons ago teaching English. Let me know if there's any advice I could give you, etc!

  2. By the way, that comment was from me. ^^^^

    1. Regan! I knew you taught here, but I could not remember where exactly. Such a great town, feel free to suggest eating places- I love to eat!
      Just click the little "plus follow" icon, BUT I will always post my blogs on Facebook- my family is not even considering following this blog to keep up, so no worries.

  3. So glad you made it! You'll get used to all the walking, I remember the pain, haha. :)


  4. Hello Teacher,

    I am so happy for you! I am looking into joining CIEE as a teacher next year, thinking of teaching in the corporate setting. I am 47 years young. Are there any teachers my age over there?

    Kimberly from New Jersey

    1. Kimberly from New Jersey,
      There are plenty of people who aged out of their 20s sometime ago. Really this is all about your spirit and desire to live abroad. CIEE would help in connecting you with others your age and helping you with adjusting to living in Spain should you chose one of the programs that offer Spanish course. Please let me know if you have anymore questions AND in case you were wondering there are also plenty of people from New Jersey!