So where did we leave off from part 1. Oh yeah, we had just arrived in Madrid. So we catch a cab to our hotel. We’re hoping an early check in is available because we are beyond tired. We reach our hotel the Jardines de Sabatini. It has a small but cute lobby with a modern-looking foliage wall. There’s a weird faux-grass ramp thing next to a short staircase leading up to the lobby. I’m not sure why but I decided to go up the ramp behind my suitcase and let’s just say that my trip almost ended there. As I began to slide backwards down the ramp with my suitcase, I realized this was a bad idea. I almost ate it. I just pictured my face smacking onto the ramp and my body sliding down it as my suitcase slide down on top of me. The guy at the concierge desk saw this fiasco happening and came running to save my life.
The concierge told us that check in wasn’t until 3pm but he would give us a map of the city so we could explore until then while they held our bags. E who was waiting in the lounge area while I checked us in, looked like she just got news that our hotel was in the next city over and we would have to walk the 42 miles it would take to get there. Maybe the concierge saw this look and decided to have mercy on our souls because just then he stated that there was a room that might be ready now. The room was in fact ready. We checked in and were able to go take a nap. We reluctantly woke up in the early afternoon (still dead tired) and decided to head out to go purchase the train tickets we would need for the rest of the trip. But first we explored the hotel grounds. The back of the main elevator was all glass and provided an awesome view of the colorful mural that stretched the length of the exterior wall. On the rooftop was a lounge area and lovely rooftop bar, which overlooked the Real Palace of Madrid and the adjoining Sabatini Gardens. Fun fact: I had no Idea that’s what I was looking at until we returned from the trip and I looked through the pictures.
It was scorching hot outside so even our short walk was killer. We walked down the hill to the train station located in Prince Pio. The original train station was converted into a combo shopping mall and train station. Prince Pio is the main commuter station for the Renfe trains and metro. We decided to get something to eat and stopped at a restaurant called Colonial Norte Madrid. There was an outdoor eating area but there was no way we could bear that with this heat so we went upstairs. You couldn’t really tell by the outdoor seating area but upstairs was a beautiful restaurant. I used whatever little Spanish I knew while in Spain and while it definitely helped, at times the language barrier proved to be too wide. For example, at the restaurant I just mentioned, I thought I ordered tapas that included bread, soup and ham but all I got was the bread covered in some sort of tomato sauce and soup. It was tasty but I just sat and drooled at the appetizing looking rice dish E ordered.
Our waiter was adorable. His outfit was adorable and I think the blue apron brought out the blue in his eyes. I dunno (shrug), he was a cutie. He happily obliged when E asked to take a photo with him (actually when I asked for her in broken Spanish). We decided to change our shoes because we had a lot of walking to do and though cute, the thong sandals were already making us uncomfortable. We took the train to Puerta de Atocha, a large train station in the center of town. In fact it’s the largest railway station in Madrid. Within this massive building is the original building, which is no longer open for train service but now houses a breathtaking tropical garden, shops, cafes and nightclubs.
We purchased our train tickets for the other cities we’d be visiting and bought a couple of Red Bulls in an attempt to try to revive us and we then took to the street. We stumbled on some statues of giant babies just outside of the station posed for some pics and then walked to the near by Buen Retiro Park. This is one of the largest parks in Madrid and reminded me a bit of central park. I loved it. The park was littered with people simply enjoying a nice day out. Near a large statue in the center of the park, a group of people gathered practicing their inline skating tricks and a fitness class full of rock solid bodies worked up a sweat. Others took part in a yoga class, games of chess or just sprawled out on the grass and enjoyed the sun. We didn’t get to see it all but we did come upon this pretty glass house, the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), which was originally used to display flower species indigenous to Archipelago.
We left the park and walked the area just taking in the sights. By this time it was dark out and the city lit up as great Metropoles do only with jaw dropping architecture at every turn. We snapped a few photos in the street and then headed back to train station to Principe Pio where we had a delicious late night pizza dinner and drinks at Pizzeria La Estación. After dinner we went up to the rooftop bar for a bit before heading back to our room. Barcelona awaited in the morning.
Check back in soon for part 3 to see how we painted the town red in Barcelona.