The third (photo documented) day came and I decided to undo my braids and go for a curly fun look. I owe having the courage to heat-process my hair to the Olaplex system and the incredibly delicate BaByliss Curl Secret and there was no sign of damage to my hair whatsoever.
Since the weather was very nice and warm, we decided on yet another park. This time our walking marathon started at Templo de Debod where we snapped lots of pics (for yet another fashion post to come). Since there’s lots of info online about all the places we’ve been to, there’s no point in me trying write it down here, I’ll just do my best with the direct links for all of them. After we’ve finished our part tourist, part fashion photoshoot at the temple, we realised that we were in one of those great, non-touristic green areas (aside from the temple) thanks to a viewpoint at one end of the temple. Since we had absolutely no time to prepare for this vacation, we took things as they came, and decided to continue our Madrid marathon in that area. First place we encountered was the Garden of La Rosaleda, where, as per usual, lots of photos were taken. We quickly realised that Madrid is a city where there’s always something happening as there was a triathlon undergoing in the area, the cycling part to be more specific. As I was concentrating on posing for D, I realised that my favourite photographer had left me to look as stupid as possible and ran off to catch the cyclists on camera.The Garden of Rosaleda is a vast rose-garden with hundreds of rose species on display, but, unfortunately for us, this was’t their blooming period. None the less, it was lovely spending some time there even without a strong rose fragrance.
As we went further, we discovered the Parque del Oeste, which is a place nobody should miss while in Madrid. If I was under the impression that Retiro Park was the best park Madrid had to offer, well this one definitely changed my mind for good. This is a beautiful area, with lush vegetation and beautifully landscaped alleys. Since this was a Sunday, I was really surprised to see that we were alone most of the time spent there and that allowed us to really discover some beautiful hidden corners of the park. That again, was the thing that got us hooked on Madrid – the lack of tourists. One of the wonderful corners I was talking about was the fully bloomed lilac arch we found at some point along our walk. The fragrance we felt in the area was amazing and this was a place that was completely out of the way of any main alley of the park, so this park really needs a full day for discovering. After we started feeling the repercussions of walking so much (translation: our feet were hurting like hell), we made our way towards the Moncloa metro station, to start our way towards the centre part as we did need to eat our dinner and we wanted to explore the streets some more after that.
We stopped at Puerta de Alcala and made our way towards the Calle de Cerrano, which is Madrid’s high-end shopping area. When D told me where we were ending our Ester day, I was beyond ecstatic and started making lists in my head with what statement pieces I needed for summer. Fortunately for our bank accounts, since it was a Sunday, all the shops were closed, to my disappointment. We continued our evening walk down Calle de Maria de Molina, a walk that I personally recommend as the boulevard is very peaceful and nice with wide pedestrian areas and lots of things to see on the way. We then finally and fortunately (for our feet) reached Avenida de America where our hotel was located.
On the next day, I had my mind set on visiting the Botanical Gardens, thinking that being a Monday it should be quite empty. We started walking through Buen Retiro Park again as D spotted the Crystal Palace the night before online, and since we were there anyway we thought why not make the most of our park adventures, plus it seemed like a lovely place to snap pics. The area around the palace was way more beautiful than any of the pics we’ve seen online or in any travel guide, so this one really deserves the trip. After about 100 photos snapped there we started for our destination, the Botanical Garden. Since the entrance is not clearly specified on the map we were using, we went down Cuesta de Moyano, and as usual a book fair was going on there, with lots and lots of old books, magazines and postal cards for sale.
When we finally reached Plaza Murillo, where the entrance for the Botanical Garden was located, we realised there was no way whatsoever that we were going to see the garden as the queue was two-hours long, so we decided to explore the area surrounding it. We made our way towards Plaza Mayor by way of Calle de Huertas and then we continued our walking-marathon towards Puerta del Sol as we realised that we had not yet bought presents for our families and friends back home. We, however, changed direction at some point, on Calle de Augusto Figueroa because D spotted some lovely side streets and we can’t resist small streets. Lucky we id that, as we found Mercado de San Anton where we ate one of the best meals while in Madrid, but more details on that in the food post.
Our last full day in Madrid was all about tennis. Being sports freaks, we enjoy watching tennis as well and we absolutely love going to live tennis events, as, just like with any other Open, the atmosphere is incredible. We were very fortunate to catch a very eventful third day, with matches played and won by Simona Halep, Rafael Nadal and Any Murray, but since we had quite an early flight the next day, we couldn’t stay and see Murray as well. None the less, our day was perfect with just two important matches, especially, as we know by now, Halep won the Open. If you’re ever in Madrid while Mutua Madrid Open is happening, make sure you won’t miss it, as everything from location to the people coming there is absolutely a must-see.
Since we had a lot of packing to do, we started our way towards out lovely hotel, but we did stop at Paseo de Eduardo Dato, which is a location we saw on our first day, because I had my mind set on taking a few pictures there as well. Naturally, when we got back to our hotel, none of us could stand on our feet anymore and the whole packing experience was time-consuming and horrendous.
Overall, Madrid is a wonderful city to visit and I personally think that it’s way underrated as a tourist destination because of Barcelona and Valencia. Trust me when I say that it’s a must see and this is coming from someone who’s seen Barcelona (twice) and Valencia (once). Though we thought we’d come back way fatter than we left, thanks to our walking marathons I think that after 2 weeks of serious gym and diet time, we’ll bounce back into our original shape. Until then, loose clothes and comfortable shoes for us! I really am very excited to do the food post because, to be honest, by comparison with Valencia and Barcelona, in Madrid we’ve found the best food options.
I honestly hope that you enjoyed our text/photo tour of Madrid and stay tuned as more posts on our vacation will come with lots more photos. And by the way, our next vacation is in Milan, so if anyone knows any good places to eat and see there, please leave a comment either here or on our Facebook page!