Warning: Unless you like 45C (113F), I wouldn’t suggest going to Madrid in the summer time. WAY TOO HOT!
We were also coming off a ridiculous four days in San Fermin and really needing to recharge our batteries, mentally and physically. Madrid was the perfect place to do just that. Though we did sneak in a little sightseeing, of course.
Two days in Madrid. Ready… GO!
Madrid 2015 Redbull X fighter.
Redbull X Fighter is a motocross event that just happened to be in town while we were there. And the Spanish crowd LOVES IT! Michael is good friends with an old professional rider, Andy Bell, who treated us to VIP tickets for the show. I’ve never been a huge motocross fan, but I must admit, the show was insane! So much action, the largest jumps you’ve ever seen, and the gnarliest tricks/flips you can possibly imagine.
I was very excited to check out a local Flamenco Show at Cafetín la Quimera. Michael wasn’t exactly enthused about it, but he ended up being pretty mesmerized by it as well. There are so many shows to choose from, which can be overwhelming, and I’m sure they’re all pretty similar. In fact, I read a lot of the dancers rotate between the cafes every week, or from other regions. I wish I would have watched a tango show in Argentina, but taken a flamenco class in Spain. Much more entertaining, I think. A neat mix between tap and stomp. Very intense and aggressive at times. The build up and the way the dancers feel the music is such an art. Highly recommend.
Madrid has many art museums and I don’t think you can go wrong with either of them. Seeing as we were short on time and not typically interested in museums, we chose the Prado which was walking distance from our AirBnb and had a featured gallery of 10 pieces by Pablo Picasso. Very cool!
Naturally, we had to catch one bull fight while in Spain, and what better place to do it than in Madrid at the famous Plaza de Toros Bull Fight Stadium. After talking with a number of people, including my mom who has seen THREE! (WTH Mom? Mrs. “I’m a PG kind of gal”), I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. However, nothing will really prepare you to see a live creature die in front of you. Six bulls die every Sunday. I’m told it’s an art, and is so rooted in the Spanish culture and tradition of the three different rounds leading up to the final kill, but it was definitely difficult to watch. I found myself rooting for the bull more often than not. Just seemed like an unfair fight to me. We left after the third round. [Warning: The pictures below are disturbing, but I want to show them so people know what to expect if they choose to see a bull fight. It’s not for the faint of heart, and I personally will not see another.]
Madrid, you’re a beautiful city and there are many things I’d love to experience next time. But for now, I’m happy to leave your heat and head to the coast. Portugal, here I come!
2015 Bucket List Complete:
- Row boats in Retiro Park
- Flamenco show
- Picasso painting at Arte Reina Sofia Museum – accidentally booked for the Prado instead (supposed to rival the Louvre), but we got lucky that Picasso was the featured gallery so we still got to see 10 pieces of his art.
- Bull fight
- Redbull x fighters
- Sunset at Temple of Debod
- Cooking class
- Eat at the oldest restaurant in the world
- Visit Palace
- Delicious, cheap tapas everywhere
- Nice helpful people
- Easy to get around
- Late night everything. Dinner at 10pm, bar at midnight, disco at 2am, first subway home at 6am
- Smokers everywhere
- Come in the spring or fall. Summer is just way too hot to do anything. We were exhausted and didn’t see nearly as much as we wanted to.
- Buy beer and snacks outside the bull fight stadium. 9.50€ for a large beer. Am I in LA??
- Plaza de Toros sells tickets based on the sun. Sol vs Sombra. Trust me. Pay extra for the shade. Even though it’s 7pm, the sun doesn’t set until 10pm so it’ll be hot and sunny for hours.
- Met up with Tori for tapas and sangria! – She took me to El Tigre – A tapas bar where all the “kids” go. 6€ giant drinks and comes with two plates of tapas. Not great ones, but perfect for college students on a budget. Or a 29-year-old traveling the world on a budget.
- Don’t come to Spain in summer time! Too hot!