The last week has been a bit hectic so I apologize for having such a large gap in between my posts. I’ll also be posting quite a few this next week.
As you might know from my Twitter updates, 2 Saturdays ago I finally had the opportunity to do the “touristy thing” in Madrid rather than just going to the airport or Atocha Station like I normally do there. The other Americans from Valpo flew back to Chicago last Monday but I opted to stay longer so I stayed in Madrid until Wednesday when I went directly to Norway to visit a few friends. A Norway blog is forthcoming as well but I thought it would be better to start from the beginning of this extended trip.
We all stayed in a hostel fairly close to the city center which many consider to be Puerta del Sol which is also fairly close to Plaza Mayor. The first night we were there we noticed that the area surrounding Puerta del Sol wasn’t exactly normal. We learned over the next few days that because of the education cuts ordered by the Spanish government, there have been almost constant protests and demonstrations in the area over the last few days/weeks.
There were a few thousand people there at sporadic periods during the day and since I’m not really informed of their agenda or demonstration times, many times we were forced to cut through the crowd to get where we wanted to go. Even though it was a little intimidating at first, we didn’t have any problems and everything seemed very peaceful for the most part. There were a number of police officers on hand to keep everything under control and even they seemed to be quite relaxed. In addition, this area was crawling with foreign tourists so we never felt alone. In any case I had a great time there and I’m glad I finally got to experience Madrid since, you know, it is the Spanish capitol and all.
Some of the places I visited include the Royal Palace, Royal Gardens, Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Reina Sofia, the Prado, and several other locations. In my next blog, I’m hoping to detail some of the more touristy things I experienced in Madrid followed by a post on Norway and a farewell blog. Check back soon for that!