Monday – Lunch by Conchi, Alcázar
On Monday, I went for a run in the morning along the Canal de Alfonso XIII. It was so nice! The weather was beautiful – I wore a t-shirt and shorts!! Check out this picture I took after my run:
Decent running scenery, I’d say!!
In the afternoon, Shannon’s host mom, Conchi, had me over for lunch again!! This time, she served tortillas de bacalao (fried codfish), patatas alioli (potatoes with a garlic mayonnaise sauce), and picos for tapas, and a delicious garbanzo/navy bean stew with chorizo for the main dish. Afterwards, she gave us oranges and torrijas (a typical Spanish dessert, made of bread soaked in milk and honey) to eat!
Shannon and I then went to the Alcázar, a beautiful royal palace surrounded with equally beautiful gardens, for their weekly free hour visit! There was so much to see, so I went back the next day 😀 Here is a photo I got with a peacock who lives at the Alcázar on Monday:
And here is a photo of me and Shannon standing in part of the palace, overlooking part of the gardens!
On Monday night after Shannon’s class, we met up again and went to bible study! Shannon met a few people through CIEE, her study abroad program, who were interested in setting up a bible study so they have been meeting every Monday for a few weeks now. I really enjoyed it! The other people in the bible study were so incredibly sweet, and they led a great conversation about being foreigners. It was interesting to connect being a foreigner in Spain/Scotland to being a foreigner on Earth and seeking to spread God’s message.
Tuesday – Alcázar (again!)
On Tuesday morning, I met up with Shannon before her class and we went to the Convento Madre de Dios, a convent where the nuns make delicious baked goods and sell them!! I had already tasted their delicious muffins since Shannon generously brought me some on Friday 🙂 I bought a bag of really tasty ring-shaped hard vanilla cookies! They were called mantecados de vainilla and they were SO good. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture, and I cannot seem to find even a photo online of this type of cookie. I guess you’ll just have to go to Sevilla to see for yourself 🙂
Later in the day, I went back to the Alcázar – I did not have nearly enough time on Monday to see everything! I stayed there for over two hours but I could have easily stayed longer. Here are some more pictures I took on my second visit:
The Alcázar is phenomenally beautiful. Six years ago, during my first trip to Sevilla, I visited the Alcázar, and it stood out in my memory among all the other beautiful sights I saw! Yet, it was still even more breathtaking than I remembered!!
On Tuesday night, Shannon and I met up for our last dinner together in Sevilla 🙁 . Dinner was delicious, as usual – the Spanish really know how to make food right!!
Wednesday – Puente de Triana and Plaza de España
On my last day in Sevilla, Shannon and I went to the Mercado de Triana! This market is right by the Puente de Triana and it offers all sorts of shops and stands. There are stalls dedicated to produce, meat (some to just ham!), fish, pastries, soap, wine, oil, and so on. There was a stand for cooking lessons, and they were teaching how to make paella. There was even a shoemaker stand!
Under the Mercado de Triana, there are old ruins, so we walked through a guided tour of those.
Then, we went back to three of my favorite places in Sevilla (I’m a copycat, though, as they were Shannon’s favorites first 😀 ). We went to the bridge (Puente de Triana), and took one last bridge photo together:
We also went to Parque Maria Luisa, which was beautiful as ever.
Our last stop, of course, was Plaza de España. Shannon took this photo of me there… notice anything?
A rainbow! Okay, so maybe there was no rainbow in the sky, but a fountain rainbow is still pretty magical. It was a perfect ending to a perfect week!
We said our goodbyes, then parted ways 🙁 – Shannon went to class and I went to the train station! Onward… to Madrid!
Thursday – Madrid
I arrived in Madrid at about midnight. My goal for Thursday was to have the most fun-filled and cultural experience possible during my one day stay in Madrid! I wanted to see and experience as much as possible. My friend Gabri studied in Madrid last spring, so I asked her for a must-see/must-do list. I made it to all the places she suggested…and then some!
My first stop of the day was La Mallorquina, a pastry shop Gabri recommended. They are most famous for their napolitana de chocolate, so of course I had to get that…
It was phenomenal. No wonder they have been in business since 1894!
La Mallorquina is in the Puerta del Sol, which is a really cool place. Not only do about ten streets intersect here, Kilometre Zero is located here too. There is a marker on the ground which indicates Km. 0! The square itself is very lively and full of activity.
My next stop was to Plaza Mayor, the main old square of Madrid. I loved it here:
Then I went to the Mercado San Miguel, which was much like the Mercado de Triana. I bought a delicious juice here from one of the vendors… I cannot explain how good this juice was. It was raspberry, pineapple, and coconut juice. I want more…
After the Mercado San Miguel, I went to Plaza de la Villa. It was so pretty here!! Next, I went to a cute little garden nearby that has been around for quite a while – it was called Jardín de Príncipe Anglona. I then went into the Iglesia de San Pedro, which was also close by.
I then went to the Catedral de la Almudena. This cathedral was so beautiful, and it had such cool ceilings!! I stayed in here for a while, marveling at the beautiful architecture, statues, and symbols in the cathedral.
Next, I went to the Palacio Real! Well, kind of. I just looked at it from the outside. If I had more time in Madrid, maybe I would have gone in. I guess I just have to go back now! Here is the palace (it is enormous!):
There are beautiful gardens right next to the palace, so I went there next. They are called the Jardines de Sabatini.
I went to the Plaza de España (quite different from the Sevilla Plaza de España!), then walked along Gran Vía, the main street in Madrid. There are countless shops and interesting buildings located on Gran Via! I stopped for lunch, then continued onward to my next destination. I stopped for a minute at Plaza de la Cibeles, which was very pretty.
Finally, I made it to Retiro Park, a huge park that Gabri put on her must-do list. I spent over two hours here, but still did not see everything there was to see. In fact, I did not even come close. The first thing I came across was the Monumento a Alfonso XII, a huge and stunning monument with an artificial lake in front of it. There were people in boats in the lake, which looked fun!
Within Retiro Park is the stunning Palacio de Cristal…
And lots and lots of incredible landscape.
I went to the Prado Museum for about an hour. This was another place I would have loved to have gone back to if I were in Madrid for longer. The Prado Museum offered free entry after 6 PM, so I took advantage of that opportunity!
My last stop on my busy day in Madrid was another location on Gabri’s must-do list. I went to Chocolatería San Gines, where I got chocolate con churros. I lost track of how many chocolate con churros I ate in Spain… so many, but still not enough. Back to San Gines – this chocolatier has been around just as long as La Mallorquina… since 1894. It is no surprise that both of them are in business and flourishing… their food is so delicious!
On Friday morning, I headed back to the airport (but not without stopping at La Mallorquina once more first) to board my flight to Edinburgh! It was bittersweet to leave, but I am so glad I went to Spain and had the opportunity to explore two of the most beautiful cities in the world!!
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed following along.