Arrival and finally paella
Madrid was our “relaxation vacation” after the two-week “active vacation” in the form of the pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago from Porto in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. We actually wanted to take the train from Santiago in northwestern Spain to Madrid, but unfortunately, there were no more seats available and the tickets were also very expensive. So we opted for the much cheaper tickets with the coach, which also took us around 9 hours, which means almost the whole day. The ride started at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. At 9:00 a.m. there was a short break for breakfast and around 3:00 p.m. we arrived in Madrid. On the way there you could already see how Madrid is situated on a large plateau in the middle of Spain and else, the rest of the population of Spain is more on the outskirts of the country. The ride was therefore not very varied, but there were still some interesting landscapes to see.
Arriving in Madrid, we took the metro from the bus terminal directly to the “Ibiza” district, where our accommodation was. Nathalie chose this part of the city because she lived nearby in 2011 for a language trip. It is located to the east of Retiro Park, which is Madrid’s central park and is located as the name already tells you in the center of the city. Again to the west of the park, you will find the actual city center, with lots of museums and other sights. We had to walk about 5min to the center of the district where we were supposed to wait for the Airbnb owner at a meeting point. After a while, a student also came who also wanted to go to the accommodation and after more than half an hour the owner finally came. She led us to the Airbnb, which was a block down the road and turned out to be a seven-room apartment. In the middle was a kitchen and two bathrooms, and the corridors to the left and right led to three or four single rooms. From the kitchen, you could look into the inner courtyard, which was surrounded by the whole building. This was so densely built that you could only see the sky if you leaned a little out of the window and looked up. As a result, you could look into the windows of the other rooms or apartments, which was a bit strange – especially because there was a bathroom directly opposite, whose window unfortunately was hardly opaque. In itself, the apartment felt more like a student flat share. The owner of the Airbnb, who also lived in one of the rooms herself, hardly spoke any English, but Nathalie was able to discuss everything with her in Spanish (it was only very fast Spanish, which is typical for Madrid).
After we put our things in the room, we made a little detour to the park and then bought some groceries in the supermarket. After that, Nathalie wanted to do something with me that she had been raving about all the time in Spain – but we never got around to it on the Camino: eat paella. The Ibiza district has numerous restaurants, which is why we found an excellent place quite quickly. We ordered meat and vegetable paella and it was served to us in a huge pan. Precisely because paella is often fried in large pans for two or more people, we didn’t get it in the rather small towns and villages. Although it was a lot, it was also very tasty. Back in the Airbnb room, we thought about what we wanted to do in Madrid for the next few days.