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Orientation: Madrid, Toledo, y El Escorial

January 23, 2012

Continuing on with my catch up posts. Brace yourself for this one it’s a little lengthy. Here we go…

Madrid

Since I arrived in Madrid pretty late and was exhausted from the flight, I didn’t do anything the first night and instead went to bed. The next day we had plans to visit the Prado Museum & take a walking tour with our group. After our super quick breakfast of café y melón — yummmmm – we were off to the museum.

Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and sweet. At first she started the tour in English, but we asked her to speak Spanish instead. Thanks to all those capítulos del arte the only thing holding me back from comprehending was my exhaustion (even though I had managed to get to bed early Spain time, my body thought I was taking a nap since it was actually mid-afternoon CA time, and I woke up after a few hours and couldn’t fall back asleep).

After the museum we proceeded on a walking tour of Madrid. Since I have been spoiled by Shari & Sabrina my whole life, the amateur tourist that I am forgot my camera in my hotel each time I went out into the city — oops. (Please don’t get mad Sabrina, I promise I’ll go back to Madrid & remember next time!) Overall the tour of the city was interesting — we heard a lot of information about the history of the city, Spain, and the buildings that were there. I definitely enjoyed it more than the Prado.

Once the tour was over we had free time for the rest of the day. Me, my roommate, and another friend decided to spend it eating lunch at the Museo del Jamón in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor (I had a bocadillo with jamón, of course). I really wanted to go to Topshop after, but once we found it it was closed for the holiday. I was super bummed, but it might have been for the best.

Later that afternoon, I met some other girls who were planning on exploring the city. I decided to go with them and we spent the evening checking out all the little boutique stores around the city and just walking around to see what we would find. My favorite place that we stumbled upon was this gorgeous building that you can see below – aka Palacio Real (The Royal Palace). It looked so beautiful lit up at night.

So amazing! — Photo Credit

We also decided that we needed to check out the churros y chocolate place that our tour guide had recommended. After a lot of confusion (what line do we stand in? Do we want it con or sin nata? Wait, what’s nata? Is chocolate caliente the same as the chocolate that comes with the churros?) our final verdict was … drumroll pleasechurros y chocolate is a delicious dessert.

After dessert we went back to the hotel, packed up, and got ready for our next day.

Toledo

Our day started out pretty well minus the fact that I was still suffering jet lag and didn’t get much sleep the night before. After breakfast we went back up to our room to bring down our luggage — little did we know of the chaos that was about to ensue. After waiting 30 minutes, we somehow managed to squeeze 4 people and about 7 pieces of luggage in it (Mom, you would have freaked out — I came pretty close to it). We finally made it downstairs — a tad late (Because the Spanish are known to be late, we like to blame our tardiness on assimilating to the culture :p)

When we arrived to Toledo, the history nerd in me loved it right away. The city is famous for the mixture of Arabic, Christian, and Judaic cultures and the architecture found there is a great example of what this mezcla has created. I finally took some pictures this day — here are a few of them:

Me and Toledo

In the courtyard of a church

Catedral de Santa María de Toledo. I also saw it at night and it was GORGEOUS!

El Escorial

The following day was Sunday — the day we were finally going to arrive in Salamanca. But first we had a pit stop at El Escorial. I guess they figure making a stop at a national landmark is more exciting than a gas station on the side of the highway. I’d say I’d have to agree.

El Escorial is a monastery that was built in the XVI century. We took a tour of the building, but weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. Here is one that I took & a few that I found on Flickr.

Side of the building plus a little bit of the gardens

Entrance to the monastery — Photo Credit

Another view of the building stolen from Flickr — Photo Credit

My favorite part of the tour was the library — Photo Credit

Once our afternoon in El Escorial was complete, we were off to Salamanca!!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2012 10:05 am

    EVERYWHERE IS SO SO SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! LOVE THE BLOG JESS 😀
    (can’t understand half of it though :p)

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