Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Madrid was so fun. It was a really last minute decision to go for Coop's birthday but I bought our bus tickets online and off we went. We got out of class at one Friday, headed off to the bus stop and then proceeded to ride a bus for six hours to Madrid. Arrived at 8:30. Poor Coop can never sleep on the bus and I can generally sleep forever.

On the bus, we sat next to some really interesting people with variations of dredlocks, shaved heads and long hair. Really weird. They weren't speaking Spanish so we think they were from the Basque region or Portugal. Anyhow, for all the Harry Potter lovers, one of them was reading HP and the cover was different and way cooler. FYI.

Once we arrived, we took the metro to our hostel which was very easy to find but once we walked in, it seriously looked like a construction site. We cautiously climbed the collapsing steps to see what kind of place I had booked. Turns out it was pretty nice after you get over the entrance. The room was tinyyyyyy but it had a sink and a closet and the communal bathroom was pretty nice as well. I'm interested to see how it compares with the other hostels.

Anyhow, dropped our stuff off and headed off for food because I refused to eat any more of the chorizo or ham sandwiches my senora packs for me every trip. I know I'm a snob but I never feel well afterwards. Anyhow, I ordered a hamburger and other than the shortage of ketchup and Coop's disapproving eyes of my lack of appreciation of a new culture, it was AWESOME.

We walked through the city through Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor and settled on a little place and ordered a mojito and a beer. Unfortunate that we didn't look at the prices beforehand but oh well. It was Coop's birthday wknd! We did some more bar hopping and people watching but decided around 1 to head back so we could get up early for Saturday....

Early Saturday we headed out for churros, chocolate and coffee. We sat outside and dipped our churros in the chocolate. Amazing. I think Madrid chocolate is better than in Sevilla but that's just my opinion. Then we took a short walk to the Prado!! The Prado, needless to say, is breathtaking. Obviously Europe's art museums are more impressive than in the U.S...My favorites were Goya, Dali and Rubens. I'm not really a big art person but they gave us a list of all the masterpieces and I was being pretty obsessive about seeing them all. But after Coop couldn't take anymore, we headed out and towards Plaza Mayor. Plaza Mayor is a huge square lined with restaurants and bars and full of people milling around watching the various entertainers including several winnie the poohs, an extremely overweight spiderman, magicians, dancers, etc. My person favorite was a person who had covered their body completely with sand. See pictures. We ate a so-so lunch and be proud, when they tried to rip off us *guerries (spanish word for foreigners)* I asked them to correct the bill. Needless to say, I was very proud. Afterwards, we made the long trek from Plaza Mayor to Plaza de Espana (where Coops bff Don Quixote has a statue). Before we came, I read about a nunnery that sold sweets and I was sooo excited about it. And of course after we looked for it forever and Coop almost peed his pants, we find it and the nuns say they have no cookies until Monday. We continued the stroll past the cathedral, the royal palace and the gardens. All of which were impressive. Of course I made Coop pose at pretty much every stop until he got fed up and clearly stated, "I'm not a monkey, I can't do this anymore. You do it." This is after I told him to climb up next to a statue and do the same pose. On the whole though, he was a good sport about taking touristy pics. So we finallly reach Plaza de Espana which I think was a highlight for Coop: 1)he had a cold beer and posed with his beloved Don Quijote. 2)we found Coop's role model. a man who we saw repeatedly on the streets drinking a 40 and carrying around a boombox. nice. we chilled there people watching for a long time until i could not longer feel my feet (its much colder in madrid than sevilla) and took the metro back to change for the night. Well a quick break turned into a 2 hour nap and Coop nearly flipped out when he realized that it was 10:00 and his birthday was almost over. Well I rebelled against my nature to continue napping and listened to the wise words of philly tilly: "go out like it's your last day in spain because pretty soon it will be." and then it was a great day.

mesones-bars that stay up very late filled with spaniards who sometimes break into song and/or dance. The list of mesones we hit up and the tapa we ate

Bar Valle de Tietar- the most amazing calamare sandwich ever. seriously. so good. and beer.

Meson tapa tapa- croquetas mixtas and beers. fried something. they were okay. we watched the bartender make "real sangria" and decided it was just a mixture of fruit juice, red wine and sugar.

Meson de Championes- the best place of the night by far. the best mushrooms ever. the bartender was so nice and explained how we were supposed to eat them and where he was from. and really great rioja red wine. i wish we had gone back the next day :(

Cervezas y Tapa de Belgica- Coop finally got to try Duff beer. the beer that Homer drinks on the Simpsons. i didn't like it but coop looked pleased. It's a pretty dark beer.

some other place- two glasses of wine that were okay...but i really enjoyed watching the bartender pour shots into edible shot glasses. they were made out of ice cream cone and covered in chocolate. yum!

irish bar: so we walked out and started talking about how much we've always wanted to try irish coffee. and then the next place we pass advertises, "real irish coffee." obviously it was a sign so we went in and it really was the best drink everrr. it was sort of coop's bday dessert because it was so sweet and topped with real whipped cream.

we finally started to head back because unfortunately, the bars were beginning to close. we hit up one more bar and i think that was plenty for Coop's 21st bday as a)we still had the next day to visit madrid and b) he was done for the night.

Goodnight madrid!!!

the next day was cool but i'm sick of blogging so i'll make it quick.

Museo de Reina Sofia
-modern art is not impressive
-Guernica is unreal and awesome

Retiro Park
-i was hungry so we left early and I don't think Coop will ever forgive me. Him and his nature.

Plaza Mayor
-flamenco dancing!!!
-pics with the famous Madrid bulls (art, not real bulls)
-catman and the angel ARE friends. They are ridiculous.

Museo de Jamon
-this is not a real museum as we found out. its just a bunch of ham. still exciting though for Coop. He bought a bag lunch.

We finished the day up with tourist shopping. I got a plate and Coop got a wineskin. I'm still trying to figure out what to collect. Coop has informed me that snowglobes are tacky. Anyhow we took the metro to Lavapies which was supposed to be a good place to eat ethnic food. But we found a gyro place too soon with a great deal and ate even though we weren't really hungry. Found our way to the bus station at 10. got on the bus at 11. got to sevilla at 5:30. worst. bus. ride. ever. but i survived. and now i'm going to lisbon this weekend by what means of transportation? BUS! :)


  1. AWESOME Blog! I am so glad your are taking my adventurous spirit and advice to heart. It always pays off. Glad to see you stuck up for yourself with the check. I loved Madrid. You guys should have toured the Palace, it was pretty awesome. But just walking around is like an adventure cuz its so old, with cool buildings and so picturesque. Glad Coop had a great 21st. Just thinking about the two of you hanging out in Madrid makes me happy. I LOVE IT. I could go on about Plaza Espana and Mayor and all of it because I loved Madrid and stayed there for a few days with Catherine, but you were just there so you know. We did a lot of tapa wine drinking. Ate at a really posh place too that wasn't too expensive. Anyhow. Lisbon will be awesome. When there, you have to do the walking tour. You have to take the local shot of luck. Actually a shot. Many locals take one every morning on their way to work. Can't remember what its called. See the tower. Its phat. Can't remember the name. See the Golden Gate bridge look alike by night. Seafood restaurants are amazing. Take a trolly car. Where good shoes cuz its really hilly. And. prepare yourself for more horrendous bus rides because they all are horrible. Bring a book and your own delicious food. (BTW have you gone to the mercadona/cortes ingles for some food for yourself. Many days we would stop in and buy some fruit/sandwich stuff/chips or whatever and make our own picnic in a park somewhere. Always a good and cheap choice. LOVE YA TONS.

  2. I am so proud of you...traveling all around Spain and making the most of your time there. Philip says Lisbon is incredible, so I am sure you will have a fabulous time there also! Coop's Mom and I talk frequently and we are so glad that you keep in touch via your blog.
    I love you and I can't wait to see you and Coop in April. Love, Mom