Adventures outside of San Sebastian

Friday morning most of the group woke up before the sun to catch the 5 am train into Madrid city because we had a 3 day weekend. Others decided to stay in Madrid and do some day trips to local towns nearby like Hondarribia. The group of us that went to Madrid took a taxi to the train station and arrived 30 minutes before the train came as we weren’t sure exactly where we were going. Unfortunately we had to wait as the station wasn’t even open when we got there. While some of us took a nap on the train I was unable to as I found the seat uncomfortable. Luckily I was able to get a window seat so I waited for the sun to come up and watched as we went through various towns and open areas of land. The sunrise on the train was amazing to watch.

Once we got into Madrid we got off the train and headed to the metro to figure out the best line to take to get closest to our hotel. We then took the subway and got off at Principe Pio which is a station close to the center of Madrid. Once we got off the subway we walked around the city for a little while before finding a tapas bar for lunch because none of us had eaten and we were all starving. After lunch we walked through the Plaza de España in Madrid which houses the Monument to Miguel de Cervantes which was commissioned by King Alfonso XIII in 1915.

After exploring the plaza and the nearby park we headed to our hotel as we wanted to drop off our bags, which was very close to the Royal Palace and checked in. After checking in we relaxed in our rooms a bit as many of us were exhausted from the train ride and getting up so early. We then headed to explore some nearby shops. After shopping a tad we went to get dinner at a restaurant that we had passed that looked amazing. We then decided to walk around Madrid city and passed by the royal palace. 

On Saturday part of the group went sightseeing. I went and had a guided tour inside the royal palace where we got to see the kings and queens apartments which are separate, and learn a little of the history of the palace. It was amazing to walk through and see all the furniture and decorations in each room and how there were no two rooms that were the same. Then I headed to the Plaza Mayor and walked around seeing other amazing sites along the way like the Cathedral de Santa Maria. Madrid is so big and there is so much to do it is impossible to hit all the major landmarks in one weekend. A few people went to the Reign of Sofia museum to view some artwork. Afterwards we regrouped for a late lunch before going to take in an amazing flamenco dance show just a few minutes from the hotel. The flamenco show was more than just dancing which was very fun. We got to listen to someone play the guitar for a little as well as listen to a great singer in between dance routines. I can’t believe how fast their feet moved and wonder sometimes how long it took to learn the art of flamenco dancing. 

Sunday we woke up and checked out of our hotel before heading to Calle de Cava Baja which has many good tapas restaurants. After a nice lunch we made our way back to the train station where we were going to catch the train back to San Sebastián. In Madrid if you are taking a train out of the city you have to go through security where they check your bags before getting on the train. We almost got on the wrong train as there were two trains on the same exact platform. The train ride back was nice as we got to see more as the sun was up and we went through the mountains. 

We all had fun in Madrid but by the time Sunday came around we were excited to head back to San Sebastián. I missed San Sebastián because it isn’t as hot as in Madrid and we know our way around town.

When we got back we went to Olarain, our dorms to drop off our bags before meeting up with some people from the new session that had just arrived to go get dinner and of course gelato.