I’ll start this off by saying I had a great time on both trips (with some turbulence), and after these experiences, here is my schedule:
Friday: Our group was split to arrive at different times, so those of us who arrived earlier spent the morning walking in parks near the train station. Our first stop: Jardines Del Campo Del Moro. There were several trails and the view was beautiful. We also stopped by Casa de Campo and admired the river. This is where we got our breakfast cappuccino and it was delicious! For lunch, you already know we had to get Mexican food and we went to Taqueria El Chaparrito. They had 1€ tacos and jarritos, and while yummy, the tacos were small, so I recommend getting enough that’ll fill you up (I had 5 and was satisfied). In the afternoon, we met up with the rest of our friends. We walked around for a few hours, stopping for tapas, and finished our night at the Temple of Debod to watch the sunset. On our walk back, we went to the Jardines de Sabatini by the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral, both beautiful sights at night (and probably more so during the day). One restaurant I’ll note is El Madroño. If you find yourself here, do not get the patatas bravas. My friends tried my plate and did not like them, so that is 4 votes no!
Saturday: This was a day full of a lot of walking, please make sure you have supportive shoes! (My left foot was dying by the end.) On our walk, we came across some stands near Calle de Alcalá and one friend bought a new purse and another a pair of earrings. After a few hours, we set to have a picnic at El Parque De El Retiro. Stopping by Dia for groceries, we sat by the Monument to King Alfonso XII and enjoyed jamón on bread, strawberries, and more while listening to jazz music (there was a live performance!) Once lunch was over, we headed to el Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (it’s free for students), so definitely take advantage of this place. I got to see many beautiful paintings, my favorite being Adán y Eva by Rosario de Velasco. Since we were all tired from a day full of walking, we took a quick nap before heading out to dinner and then dancing the night away.
Note: While my friends and I booked our trip in advance, we did not create a concrete schedule of what we wanted to visit. Doing it when we arrived in Madrid was a little stressful and there were missed opportunities. There was a lot of aimless walking that could have been filled with planned activities, and being in a big group that has conflicting desires or is unsure of what to do, more time is lost (nevertheless it was fun). If given the chance, I will be going back to do a few more activities on my list!
Only being an hour away, this city was a quick day trip (booked in advance of course). We hopped on a 7:30 train and spent around 12.5 hours there before heading back home at 9. From the train station, we walked to the city’s center and found Cafeteria Fortaleza to have breakfast (mine being a tostada de jamón and chocolate as my drink). Our first stop after food was the Ávila Catedral. We paid to tour inside since it was cheaper for students (again, take advantage of any and all student discount places!) After, we went to walk the main attraction: La Muralla (for a student fee). The sight was amazing and I could not get enough, my camera roll is spammed with videos. There was still some snow on the ground from the recent cold weather and it added to the beauty. We spent an hour walking both sides, but we did not walk the entire way since we had a reservation for lunch. The spot: Sibuya Urban Sushi Bar, it was delicious!!! I got the soft shell roll and they brought it to me with a fire show on my plate (so cool). I will note however that you will have to spend a little more, but definitely worth it. After lunch, we walked back to the outside of the Muralla and laid on a rock to soak in the sun. We talked for a while before heading down to el Río Adaja, where we sat and watched the water for another bit. In the evening, our group split off, some going to tour another church and museum and others of us going shopping. My favorite purchase: a t-shirt blending starry night with the Muralla. It started to snow a little and the cold weather had us finish a little early and wait out our train inside the heated station. Once we got back to Salamanca, we had dinner, some at KFC and others at Burger King, and then called it a night.
Note: You don’t need 12.5 hours in the city, 8-10 is more than enough to hit the main attractions. Even with the long day, we managed to fill all the time and had a blast. Definitely recommend the city as a day trip, it’s one hour from Salamanca!
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Hi! My name is Alexandra Carrillo and I am a 2nd year at my university. I am studying International Relations and Spanish with emphases in politics and security and Latin American literature. I am from the USA and México and I often travel between the two. My hobbies include embroidering, painting, and reading (my favorite genres are romance and history). A fun fact about me is that I have a twin sister who goes to the same university as me (we are fraternal and people still mix us up!). I look forward to documenting my journey abroad and the people and places I'll meet along the way!