The Porto Diaries: Part 1 of ?!?!

I cannot believe what is happening! It is 23:36 and I’m sat in Terminal 1 of Barajas airport waiting for my flight at 9:20 tomorrow morning! As Chrissie and I are going to Portugal once again! But this time it is in order to see Muse live on the 10th! I cannot wait, however we have just witnessed a disturbing event. There’s a French woman by the security desk and she is a little upset, apparently there has been a change in her ticket and something to do with 1,500 euros! I don’t know what it’s about but with that sort of money I can understand why she is so distraught! I hope that things sort themselves out for her anyway.
Anywho, we spent our day in Madrid and we wandered around and Chrissie took me to all the main parts. It was a really fun day, although it did rain on us a couple of times but I can’t complain as it wasn’t as bad as anticipated. We left our bags at the lockers in the Atocha train station and decided to head off to the Parque del Retiro, which is a giant park a few minutes away from the train station and there is so much in it! It has its own lake, a lake! With boats and everything! I still can’t get my head around that.  Chrissie took me to this really little, pretty rose garden that is tucked away in one corner of the park and it was beautiful! I think we went at the right time as there were some roses that were starting to wilt but the majority were in full bloom or just starting to. It was so pretty and I’m really glad that I got the chance to see it. However there was a slight problem when we had to try and manoeuvre ourselves around a group of people posing for wedding pictures. I can understand why they would want their pictures there but it may it difficult for any other random members of the public that may have been visiting at the time.

After seeing the wonders of the roses, we went on to walk around the rest of the park where we stumbled across a small bridge. It was built over a pond and there were a few ducks swimming around but we quickly realised our error when at the end of the bridge we saw this huge muddy puddle that we had to try and walk/jump over. We managed to do so, but I had to psych myself up for the jump which I managed to pull off and I was rather pleased about it. This is because I am normally a very clumsy person so being able to do something like that is rather impressive.

Whilst in El Retiro, we saw Steve (the pigeon remember). We were rather happy about it as we knew that he wouldn’t let us down and stop following us now. However, we made some rather startling discoveries when we saw him! We realised that he has a very distant cousin, Brian the duck. The resemblance was uncanny and it was amazing to see them bonding by the mini pond. And yet another amazing discovery was his uncle and aunt, Gerald and Jemima! It was great to get to see more of his relatives.

It was after this encounter that we stumbled across yet another couple having wedding photos taken! This time it was by the giant boating lake next to a Statue of some sort or other. It was strange to see two groups of people doing the same thing on the same day. I know it probably happens a lot but it’s not often that you run across it personally.  It was a nice contrast to what we accidentally walked into later on in the day anyway.

After we left the park, we walked to the Puerte Del Sol, which is where the clock is that the Spanish use in their New Year celebrations and also where the fireworks go off at this time as well. We decided to have a small break there and sat by one of the fountains or 20 minutes or so just to rest our legs a little and to relax somewhat. It’s really strange in this area because there are so many people wandering around dressed as cartoon characters. I saw two mickey mouse’s  and two spongebobs! It was a little surreal added to the fact that the metro station there is in the shape of two domes. I wonder who decided that that would be a great idea.  But from there we quikly ound our way to the Plaza Mayor which is alright but I much prefer the one in Salamanca. It just seems somewhat more majestic.

After the Plaza Mayor, we walked to the Palacio and saw the cathedral on the other side of it. The cathedral is nice but it’s not at all what you would expect from one. It’s more simplistic and much more like a church than any other cathedral that I’ve seen. I still thought it was rather beautiful but it could have done with a little work as the outside looked faded. Whilst we were stood in the little square between the palacio and the cathedral, we could hear this guy playing the violin. He was playing pop sings and musicals and it was fantastic! As we left he started playing “Memory” from CATS and I of course started to sing along to it but I only knew a few lines so it wasn’t much of a problem when I walked away.

From there it wasn’t too far to go to get to the Egyptian temple. Apparently it was donated to Madrid by someone but I’m not entirely sure who. Anyway it is very pretty and definitely worth a visit if you get the chance. However, I advise caution as it was here that I managed to lose my lower headband! It was blown off my head from the wind and I didn’t realise until it was too late so I was a little upset and I still am if truth be told. I am hoping I will be able to find a replacement in New Look once I get home in a just over a week, but only time will tell if it works or not.

After spending around 5/10 minutes trying to find my headband we decided to go along Gran Vía and do some window shopping but as soon as we got onto the street we saw a Starbucks and Chrissie is a little in love with the place and I will never turn down the chance to go into one. So we headed inside and got ourselves two Frappuccino’s and sat on the main street with them in the sun.  Unfortunately, the sun wasn’t around for much longer as it was getting pretty late by this time and the weather was beginning to turn cooler.

After finishing our rather luxurious drinks we headed down the streets and did some window shopping. I was on the lookout for any sort of headband that had flowers and Chrissie was just generally browsing and then we stumbled across a gigantic H&M store! Apparently it turns out that it is both mine and Chrissie’s weakness and we had to leave quickly before we spent all of our money.

I think the highlight of my day however was finding out that there is a Mezzo di Pasta in Madrid! I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before but that pasta place was one of my favourite places in Lille and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to eat there again for a very long time but as soon as I saw it I knew that I had to go in and buy a menu for old time’s sake! But because it was quite late on in the day, they didn’t have many sauces left so I had this sort of luxury sauce that was practically a carbonara but with mushrooms added as well. It was one of the best things that I have ever eaten in my life and I may have to head back there when I’m in Madrid later in the week.

It was at this point that we decided to head back to Atocha to pick up our stuff and go to the airport. It didn’t take us too long to get there but we were in the airport from 11pm until our flight left at around 9:30am the nest day but that is for another blog.

Hasta la fuego

Lauren Jx

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