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Monday, October 19, 2009

A weekend in Madrid!!

We did it! We made it to Madrid and back, and for the most part it was really great! It started out not so great... we were supposed to go to a fieldtrip to Glanum, then leave from there to get to Avignon. We had 10 minutes to eat breakfast and get down to the bus, everyone was a few minutes late and by the time we got to clear off our plates and make it down the hill, the bus passed 8 of us and we were left in Lacoste! It wasnt too nice because they could have easily stopped for one second to open the door, but instead we were left wondering how we would make it to Madrid... Lara and I wound up having to take a 65 euro taxi to Avignon, but atleast our taxi driver was entertaining. She talked non stop about loving Obama, hating Bush and Paris Hilton and talking about Thanksgiving. On the way there we passed a line of farming tractors on their way to protest in Avignon. We had enough time to explore Avignon's main street of shops and see the Pope's Palace. We then activated our Eurail passes for our future trips, and hopped on the train to Montpellier, then Barcelona, then finally Madrid! The sun set and we arrived in Madrid and to our interesting hostel around 1 am.
After a rough night of sleep we woke up early and headed to the Royal Palace. It is similar to Versailles and very beautiful. I got a few illegal pictures of the interior, it was really stunning.
We then walked through the city to Plaza Mayor. Its a huge plaza with restaurants, artists, and that day, Spanish Dancers. It was so festive. We found ourselves some squid sandwiches, literally, and sat down with the locals for Bocadillos de Calamares.Afterwards we found an amazing pastry shop, La Mallorguina, which we went to all three days for the best cafe con leche and a treat.
We adventured around the Sol area where there are lots of shops and beautiful and expensive clothing.
After all that we went to Retiro park for a siesta and to kill some time until we could get in free to the Museo del Prado. Afterwards we headed out for tapas, paella, and a few fun drinks.
Day 2 started by going to a crowded flea market. On the way we stopped for churros con chocolat, a local favorite. They were yummy of course, anything dipped in chocolate is. After the market we of course stopped by our place for a cafe then took the metro to the Templo de Debod, an Egyptian monument with beautiful gardens and architecture along the way.We then headed over to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, which houses many Picasso and Dali pieces, including Picasso's impressive Guernica. Again we siesta-d in Retiro park and explored the rose gardens.Our last night in Madrid we spent around the Plaza Mayor and Sol area, a very happening area. We went to three different places for tapas and drinks, and ended up at a bar/restaurant we liked the night before for yummy strawberry daiquiris.Our last night in the hostel was.. interesting. We woke up the next morning, checked out, and headed to the airport. We got a taxi back to Lacoste from Marseille and our taxi total for the weekend wound up being 190 euros split between the two of us, ouch. It wasnt ideal, but it was definitely worth it because we had a great weekend and really enjoyed Madrid. Now the excitement keeps going as we prepare for Paris in two days! Things are speeding up and are not going to slow down until I am back in Perkasie in 5 weeks.


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