So, my month-or-so blog break turned into a three-to-four-month blog break and I have no regrets. I was super busy doing things that weren’t studying. 🙂
One thing I did this summer: visit Madrid. I loved it. If you are ever there, here are a couple of places in and around the city centre that I thought worth visiting. This is not a definitive list, just places I visited that I would recommend.
(Firstly: Madrid is hot. Either be prepared for that and soldier through, buy lots of ice cream, or duck into air-conditioned shops on a regular basis. Or, make it an early morning/late evening activity.)
1. A patisserie called La Mallorquina. It’s right in the central square of Madrid, Puerta del Sol, so you have no excuse to miss it. Go there and order a “napolitana” (I would recommend “napolitana de chocolate”, personally.) You will not regret it.
(There’s a shop that sells beautiful fancy fans in Puerta del Sol too, which is also worth a peek. Ludicrously expensive though; it’s a have-a-look,-then-pretend-this-is-far-too-cheap-for-you,-then-run type of place.)
2. The Retiro Park. It’s a reasonable and very pretty walk from Puerta del Sol. Between the park’s crystal palace, boat-filled lake (you can hire a boat if you want) and sheer size, it’s definitely worth a wander.
3. The “Palacio Real”. The Spanish royal family don’t live there anymore and the palace is now open to tours. The building itself, the cathedral outside the gates, the little garden in the front and the view out the back are all fairly grand, but nothing could have prepared me for the splendour of the rooms. I visited Dublin Castle last December, I thought it might be something like that. Nope. This place is ridiculous. Every ceiling has an artistic masterpiece. Each room is literally grander than the last. I thought it couldn’t get any worse, and then we reached the dining hall (a table stretching away into the distance, 22 chairs on each side; I bought a postcard and you can’t actually see the far end of the table, it’s that long.) Although it left me reeling, the palace is definitely worth visiting. It will leave you with a diminished sense of your own self-importance, and everyone needs that now and again. Right…?
Finally: if you have the chance/mode of transport, there are some beautiful mountains around Madrid that are also worth exploring.
Hope this may someday be useful to you!
P.S. I hope to have two more weekly posts the next two Fridays, to get me back in the swing of things, then back to once-a-fortnight for the foreseeable future. Next week I’ll be writing about bookish things again, for the first time in ages!