Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spain - Day 8

On our very last day in Spain, we didn't have much time to do anything other than eat breakfast, check out of our hotel, and head to the airport.  Our flight was leaving at noon and we had to make our way there via the metro.

We decided to just have breakfast in our hotel again, so things could move along more smoothly.  Luckily, the breakfast was really tasty.  And check out the decor!  This hotel was so colorful.  I loved it!

After breakfast, we went back to our room to shower and pack up our things.  Then, we headed down to the lobby to check out.  So long, awesome hotel!

We made it to the Madrid airport without any problems and had plenty of time to kill before boarding our flight.  We relaxed, looked through photos from our trip, and stretched our legs before our long flight.

Eventually, it was time to board.  Thankfully, this flight was much better than our flight getting over to Spain.  Thank goodness!!

After about 8 1/2 hours, we finally landed back in Philly.  First things first, time for some pizza!  Sorry, Spain - You have soooo many delicious foods, but pizza is not one of them!

After our 3 hour layover and extra hour delay in Philly, we were finally able to board our super short flight from Philly back to Pittsburgh.

We arrived home in Pittsburgh around 6:30pm and completely mentally screwed up from the six hour time change.  Apparently it snowed a lot while we were gone and my parents, being the amazingly awesome people that they are, shoveled our whole driveway for us!  And my mom even left this little guy for us to come home to...

What an awesome welcome home!  We had such an amazing time in Spain.  We have been on many vacations over the years and this one was just so unique and different.  We loved every second of it.  We are already dreaming about our next potential European adventure.  Many Belgium?  Germany?  We shall see... :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spain - Day 7

After our fun filled New Years Eve in Madrid, to say we woke up a bit hungover was a total understatement.  Maybe 3 bottles of cava between the 2 of us wasn't the best idea?  Nah!  We had a blast!  Regardless though, the first day of 2013 was off to a very slow start.  At least our hotel room had a gorgeous balcony that we could step out on and get some fresh air to really get us going!  We lingered in bed a little longer than any other morning of our vacation in Spain, but it was much needed.

Also needed: food!  Since we felt the need for food basically immediately in order to help with our hangovers, we opted to feast on the breakfast buffet right in our hotel.  Hit the spot!

After eating breakfast and showering, we were starting to feel a lot better.  And we knew that stepping out for some fresh air would definitely also help.  On our only full day in Madrid, we decided to just roam around and see what we could see without any real set plans.  It was really nice to just walk around and see where the day would take us.  We checked out the Royal Palace (which was very close to our hotel), Plaza Mayor, and a few other spots along the way.

 After a while of walking around and seeing the sights, we were starting to get hungry.  I had heard about the world famous Chocolateria San Gines (which opened in 1894!) and knew we had to go check out their churros and chocolate.  The line was out the door when we got there but thankfully, it went fast.  We each got an order of churros with chocolate and munched away.  To be honest, I think I enjoyed the churros we had in Barcelona better than these ones... but that's just my opinion!

After getting our chocolate fix, we were still hungry and ready for a real lunch.  We still had the "I'm hungover and need carbs" feeling, so we ended up getting some Thai takeout (so random, right?!) and heading over to Parque del Retiro to eat.  After finishing up our lunch (which was delicious by the way!), we continued on our way, roaming through the park.  There were so many cool areas of this park and it was huge!  So glad we made our way over here to check it all out.

After spending a good part of the afternoon roaming through the park, our feet were starting to get a little restless.  We decided to make our way back over towards our hotel.  We re-visited the Royal Palace again for a view from a different angle compared to what we saw earlier in the day.  It was so huge!  I couldn't even get it all in one photo.  We also checked out the Almundena Cathedral and a few other cool areas while walking around.

During our random wandering, we stumbled across a food market similar to La Boqueria in Barcelona (but not nearly as large).  We did a little bit of taste testing with some of the (many) varieties of foods offered, including some stuffed olives and macaroons (first time EVER trying a macaroon and it was delicious!)

We explored the streets of Madrid a bit longer, eying up some spots we wanted to check out later in the evening, and then as the sun was setting, we made our way back to our hotel for a little relaxation before heading out for our last night in Spain (sad face).

After we were well rested, we were ready to go out with a bang on our last night in Spain!  Instead of choosing one restaurant for dinner, we decided to do a little tapas tour, so we could experience a couple different places.  We made it to three different restaurants and ordered tapas and red wine at all of them.  Gimme as much PATATAS BRAVAS as possible please!  So delicious!

Experiencing a little tapas tour was the perfect way to end our last night in Spain.  On our way home, we even walked by the OLDEST restaurant in the WORLD (last photo above): Sobrino de Botin.  It opened in 1725!  I can't even wrap my head around that.  So crazy.

After staring in awe for a few moments, we eventually slowly wandered back to our hotel to call it a night.

I just didn't want the day to end!