(see europe pt. 1 with pictures from london + paris: here)
today i get to cross off goal #15 from my 30before30 list: to visit spain!
i have been wanting to go to spain for so long, and it was every bit as great as i expected.
after spending a week between london and paris, we flew to madrid and made our way to the cute apartment we rented for the next 3 nights. since we were used to using the subways to get everywhere in london, we decided that would be our main source of transportation in spain, too. we were lucky that our apartment was very close to two subway stations, so it was easy for us to get anywhere in the city. but the very best part about us getting to madrid was that it meant my brothers and their awesome ladies would be meeting us there to finish off the last week of our trip.
my brother leo and his wife melanie who we visited in seattle a few months ago arrived in madrid a few nights before we did. and my brother mario and his girlfriend betty spent a few days in sevilla and in toledo before meeting up with us. i can't tell you how excited that we all were able to spend this time together in spain. when you live across the country from one brother, and in a different country than the other brother, any time spent together is pretty precious, agreed?
we barely needed to use the metro in madrid because of the fact that everything seemed so walkable. we arrived pretty late on our first day, so we went to a late dinner with everybody and had a few glasses of tinto de verano (red wine + lemon flavored carbonated water) which became kind of our trip-drink. our second day there was the big walking day for us - while leo and melanie headed to barcelona a few days before us, tucker and i met up with mario and betty to walk the city. although touristy, one of our favorite things in madrid was the mercado de san miguel - an indoor market with tons of booths filled with different tapas, wines, beers and treats so you can sample so much different food. another big highlight for me was seeing bosch's garden of earthly delights at the prado museum, i've wanted to see it for so long!
and even though we were exhausted after 8 hours of sights, we went to the tiny cafetin la quimera for an incredible flamenco show. a friend of mine who lived in madrid for two years recommended this place, and although she mentioned that it wasn't like the touristy flamenco shows, i didn't think it would be this authentic. there were only about 15 of us inside the tiny bar and i could not have asked for a more amazing show!
leo + melanie, mario + betty
we crammed so much sight-seeing in on our second day in madrid (cathedrals, museums, markets, plazas, palaces, etc) that we decided we'd use our last day there to take a 30 minute train ride to toledo and see a completely different side of spain - madrid was so busy and city-ish and toledo was a beautiful little maze town filled with alleyways and streets that were far too little for cars. that turned out to be one of the best decisions we made in the whole two week trip; we absolutely loved our day in toledo - lots of uphill hikes, several beer stops sitting at teeny tiny tables outside & trying to find our way on the world's least decipherable map.
from there, it was on to my favorite leg of the trip: barcelona.
but in order to avoid even more of a picture overload, i'll post on that tomorrow!