Madrid Madness: Adventures through Spain’s Capital

Planning my trip to Madrid was a last-minute whirlwind. I have been dying to go see Spain’s capital city since I arrived in Barcelona in November. I found out last Thursday that my last class on Friday was cancelled so I figured why not spend the weekend in Madrid? Of course, since it was so last second, taking the train would have cost 260 Euros round trip, so that was not an option.  My friend Erica also wanted to see Madrid, so we decided to book a BLABLA car (a car sharing program in Spain), and attempted to plan our trip one day in advance. Thankfully, my friend Kate lived in Madrid for 2 years and had some great recommendations for me, as I would have been clueless about what to do otherwise. Thanks, Kate 🙂

Our 6-hour car ride was long, but surprisingly hilarious. Our driver spoke decent English, but the other guy in the front seat only spoke Spanish. Erica and I both speak some Spanish, mixed in with Spanglish, which the two guys found entertaining. They taught us “practical” Spanish words and phrases, AKA curses. In my last post, I talked about how I didn’t feel comfortable telling someone off in Spanish yet. While I don’t feel completely comfortable, at least now I know some of the cursing lingo en Español, something that I have not yet learned in my proper Spanish classes (and probably will not learn). Here are a few of the gems that we learned (some I did already know—sorry in advance for the profanity Mabes and Dad) and some examples about how they are used in sentences.

  • Joder= the F bomb
    • ¡Joder! ¡No tengo mi billetera!” (F***! I don’t have my wallet!)
  • Follar= to do the deed with (aka the verb of the above curse LOL)
  • Giliipollas= A**hole/wanker
    • “No seas gilipollas” (Don’t be an a**hole)
  • ¡Cabrón! = a**hole or bastard, but literally means “male goat”
    • “Eres un cabrón.” (You are an a**hole.)
  • ¡Putamadre! = motherf***er or holy sh*t, usually used as an exclamation
  • Hijo de Puta= Son of a b*tch
  • Puta= b*tch (used in a lot of Spanish curses)
  • Los cojones= literally translates to “Testicles/balls” but is used in many slang phrases to express a huge range of feelings and expressions. Below are just a few…
    • ¡Los cojones!= Bullsh*t
    • No tienes cojónes= You don’t have balls (aka you’re scared, a wimp)
    • Poner los cojónes sobre la mesa= Putting everything on the table but translates directly as “Putting the balls on the table”
    • Estoy descojonado = to laugh really hard
  • Mierda= sh*t

Don’t worry, we also taught them some “useful” phrases in English. We explained to our driver in English what a “butterface” was. For those who don’t know, it is defined on Urban Dictionary as “A girl with an exceptionally hot body but an exceptionally ugly face. Everything BUT-HER face is attractive.” The guy in the other seat couldn’t understand what I said because of the language barrier, so our driver attempted to translate and rephrased my definition as “Cuando su cuerpo se ve bien y ella va al gimnasio pero necesita una bolsa en la cabeza” or “When her body looks good and she goes to the gym, but she needs a bag over her head”. I was dying laughing because he didn’t realize that I understood every word he said until I innocently asked him about whether it was normal for men in Spain to place a bag over an ugly woman’s head. He was semi-mortified, which made me laugh even harder.

I caught a really beautiful sunset right before we got into the city.

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After we were dropped off in Madrid around 8pm, we arrived at our hostel which was in a great location in Madrid, very close to Puerta del Sol. Aside from the good location, the Hostel was definitely the worst I have stayed at since I arrived in Europe. Co-ed bathrooms, 4 toilets for everyone staying in the hostel (disgusting), unregulated temperatures (like 100 degrees at night and freezing in the morning), sheets that didn’t cover the entire mattress, and potentially dirty comforters. Don’t stay at Los Amigos if you visit Madrid. Ok, rant over, moving on….

While I showered, Erica met friends from Chile in the kitchen area and we all decided to go out together. They had friends that lived in Madrid, so we went to their apartment to drink before hitting the bars. The group insisted that we had to go to this bar called El Chapandaz or better known to locals as “The Cave Bar” to try this milk drink leche de pantera (Panther’s milk). If you think it sounds disgusting, it most definitely was. I’m pretty sure it was a mix of milk, gin, cinnamon, and maybe some other stuff because it was really sweet. I am no expert, so I could be wrong. But, it was nasty AF. I was shocked how the locals raved about how great it was. However, they were right about the bar being a good time. It looked like the inside of a cave, with huge stalactites hanging from the ceiling, a dim interior, and fun music.

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Disgusting leche de pantera

Next, we headed to a club in Malasaña called Pacha, where our new friends decided to get VIP access for the night and we were included on the list. Free drinks? Yes, please! The music was mostly Spanish-esque, not the commercial stuff I normally listen to on a night out which was seemed a bit strange but it was still fun.

We decided to walk back to the hostel at 430am. Apparently in Madrid, everyone drunk eats. Also, everyone in Madrid also throws their trash on the ground, so the streets were covered in food wrappers when we were walking back. In Barcelona, no food places are open early in the morning when we leave the clubs which probably is why the streets are always clean. Flash forward to me slipping on a closed ketchup packet that was hidden beneath a burger wrapper strewn on the ground, taking a massive tumble, and falling on my ass. SERIOUSLY?!! Only me would this happen to… Once I had recovered and Erica realized that I wasn’t hurt we were both dying laughing. Thank goodness this happened on a side street.

The next morning, I forced Erica to wake up for a walking tour of Madrid that started at 11:00 am. Our tour guide was extremely enthusiastic, and it probably would have been a lot more awesome had we not been so miserable, hung over, and exhausted. But, I did manage to take some pictures from our tour.

After we ate lunch, we headed back to the hostel to nap before going to dinner and exploring Madrid at night. We decided to go to Tierra Burrito Bar for dinner which is ACTUALLY THE SPANISH VERSION OF CHIPOTLE. I got a “Denudo” which is their burrito bowl, and Erica got a burrito. They were SUPERB. I was so happy after that.

We walked to the Plaza de Cibeles, which is a square that is surrounded by palaces and has this large marble fountain in the middle. I took pictures of the spectacular Cybele palace at night.

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We then went to Parque Retiro and did a little exploring, but it was super dark so we decided that it would be something that we should see during the day instead. This was a pretty gate close to the entrance that I thought was photo-worthy.

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At the beginning of the day, we initially thought that we would go to Kapital, the famous 7 story club in Madrid, at night. However, as the day went on, we just couldn’t muster up the energy to go late night clubbing again, and figured that the long car ride home the next day would be an absolute nightmare if we were not feeling great. We decided to just have a quiet night and go to some of the bars in La Latina. We went to Plaza Menor, which was a smaller version of the cave bar, where I had an awesome mojito and caipirinha, and Erica tried the Vodka Carmelo on the rocks.

On our way home, we decided to stop at the Mercado de San Miguel, because we had heard great things about the place. There are a ton of options for food and dessert in there, so I decided to get the most unbelievable chocolate truffle I have ever had, and Erika got some tapas and wine.

We woke up on Sunday morning and walked around Puerta del Sol for a little bit, which is the square in the very center of Madrid (similar to Barcelona’s Placa Catalunya). It is bright, beautiful, and very crowded.

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There were all of these people there that were doing things that did not seem humanly possible. I sat and stared and the woman floating in the air, and the man stuck in a snowboarding pose AND I STILL CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW THEY DO IT. Am I being naïve? I just cannot grasp how they did this since there was nothing underneath them. If someone could please explain this to me, I would really appreciate it.

 

Our next stop was brunch. We were planning on going to this brunch place Carmencita, but it was closed on Sundays. Then, we stopped in this café called MÜR Café, which apparently you need reservations for (which we obviously didn’t have). By that point it was about 12:45 and we were ravenous. They have a Federal Café in Madrid that was a 5-minute walk from Mur Café. Federal Café is an amazing brunch place in Barcelona that I love, so I was hoping this one would be just as good. It was, and we were very happy eating here. I got a latte there that I had to take a picture of!

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Next, we headed to El Rastro in La Latina, which is this massive outdoor flea market and moseyed around for a couple hours.

Our final stop of the trip was to the Templo de Debod, which is this ancient Egyptian temple that was given to Spain as a gift of gratitude for helping Egypt save some other temples. It was dismantled in Egypt and rebuilt in Madrid in 1968. The park in Madrid where the Temple is located is beautiful, and has an amazing view of the city and the Royal Palace of Madrid. We went around at around 5:30pm and sat behind the temple with a bottle of wine to enjoy the view of the sunset. It was beautiful, relaxing, and a great way to end the trip.

We grabbed our luggage from the hostel, stopped for dinner and ran to make it to our ride back to Barcelona in time. In contrast with our ride to Madrid, the ride home was miserable. It took 7 hours and the drive listened to the most awful jazz/classical music I have ever heard. Thank god I brought earplugs or else I would have killed someone. However, suffering for 7 hours for 25 euro was better than paying 130 to take a train for this poor teacher. We got home at 4am and I have never been so happy to see my bed.

I did really enjoy my trip to Madrid, and think that it is a very underrated city. I don’t think it is possible to really get to know a city (particularly one as large and with as much history) like Madrid in a weekend. It was great to explore the city, experience the nightlife (if only for one night), understand the language (as opposed to the Catalan in BCN), and eat good food. However, Barcelona feels like home to me now and I am always happy to go back. Until next time… Adios amigos!

 

 

 

 

 

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