We spent two really fun days in Madrid before going to Morocco. Madrid for some reason is really hard to get used to the time change. The direct flight from Chicago leaves really early so you get there in the middle of the night. Unfortunately as I get older the time changes are harder and harder for me.
We took the bus to the Atocha station and walked to our hotel. Because it was so early we couldn’t get in for a while. So we walked around Madrid seeing some of the sights. My favorite stop is the Mercado de San Miguel. You get to see some awesome fruit stalls, yummy tapas, beautiful confections. It truly has a little bit of everything.
Because our hotel room wasn’t going to be available we signed up for a Segway Tour. It was right across the street from the Mercado but they were sold out and we would be too exhausted to go on the next one. Instead we just walked around town and saw some of the sights: Plaza Mayor, Plaza del Sol, and the Royal Palace. I also have to admit that I went to the much less touristy Mercado de Anton Martin. Some of the things they sell there are not for the faint of heart, but truly show all the things that Spaniards eat. My favorite was the pig snout. It was one of those places that I felt I was a local and could see their true colors. Now I wish I had asked some one, how do you cook a pig snout?
After a much needed rest, we headed to Estadio Santiago Barnabeu for the biggest futbol game of the year, El Clasico. The game between Real Madrid and Barcelona that would decide who would most likely win La Ligua. It was a very expensive game to attend but it was one of those things that are bucket list worthy. How often are we going to be in Madrid for El Clasico?
Because the game was just a week after the attacks in Paris,the security was on high alert. A lot of police everywhere, a lot of security checks going into the stadium and a really tense feeling. But all these security measures didn’t take away from the excitement. It made me feel safe.
Some suggestions about going to a game at Santiago Barnabeu. Tickets for important matches sell out fast (in a matter of seconds). If you are buying from the internet buy from a reputable source. We got ours from viagogo.com and they were legit. Also be prepared to pay more for big games. We needed four tickets but weren’t able to find that many together so we sat 2 and 2.
Arrive early at the stadium. There aren’t a lot of places to eat nearby and all the tents sell merchandise and not food. We were fortunate that there was some food at the stadium. Also allow plenty of time to go through all the security. There was a pat down of every person in the stadium.
My kids just had to get an El Clasico scarf. It is a very cheap souvenir and one that we will cherish for a long time. Because of the terrorist attacks in Paris there was a moment of silence before the game. It was quite moving to know that no matter where most of the people are against violence.
One thing I did not like about the stadium was that every one seemed to be smoking. One thing that I really did like about the stadium was that there were heaters above us and kept us very comfortable. Every seat has a good view of the field. All we could get were some nose bleed seats but we were so glad to be there.
My husband and daughter were by the Real Madrid fans and we were on the other side by the Barca fans. Because of that, there was extra security around us. They didn’t let them do anything wrong and quickly escorted out some fans who were misbehaving. But ultimately the Barca fans were happy because the score was 4-0. Madrid never was able to get control of the ball. We left a few minutes before the game was over and the crowd in the subway wasn’t too bad.
On the way home we decided to get something to eat. If you are in Madrid and you want a bite to eat, you must get some hot chocolate and churros. You can never go wrong with that. My kids love it! My daughter said that she would move to Madrid so she could get churros and hot chocolate every night. We stopped at the churro place by our hotel, Maestro Churrero and we were not disappointed. Super thick hot chocolate and fresh churros at good prices. One night we even took it to go and it was just as good.
For our final day in Madrid we were still very exhausted from the trip and the game. After going to church we ate some really yummy food at a restaurant near the Palace. My kids really liked the potato, egg and ham dish. I simply must have a paella when in Spain and my husband had beef.
While I hate being a tourist and prefer being a traveler, I must admit that the hop on hop off buses are perfect for when you want to see the town without having to walk much. It was cold and rainy and we were tired so it was great. There are two routes, one which takes you to the historical sites and the other that takes you to the more modern sites.
Our trip was very short, we didn’t get to do any of the museums but we still got to see how beautiful Madrid was. We enjoyed a game at Santiago Barnabeu. It gave my children a taste of Spain and I think they will want to savor it some more. Next time we’ll spend more time in this beautiful capital city and see all the museums and parks. I just hope the weather is nice, I’ve never been to Madrid when it wasn’t raining. 🙂