Year Abroad / Madrid in 48 hours

Hey lovely people!

Last week saw me embark on my last proper trip of my year abroad, spending the weekend with my friend Celia in Madrid. Celia and I met during my second year of university when she was an Erasmus student at Birmingham, and we’ve been trying to work out time to see each other all year. After missing each other the weekend she visited Zaragoza (which just so happened to be my weekend in Milan), we finally managed it. I took an early coach to the capital and there I was.

We were reunited at Puerta del Sol in the baking heat, before going for lunch and a catch up at a super cute Italian place hidden away from the main squares. We spoke in a mixture of our two languages, mainly so Celia could practice her English after almost a year away from Birmingham, and she took me on a walk around some of Madrid’s sites: Palacio Real, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía (where we had a cheeky Starbucks stop) and showed me Malasaña, a very cool, hipster area within the centre. That evening we took a bus to Celia’s town about 25 minutes outside of Madrid, Villalba, where we went out for dinner to celebrate a close friend of hers leaving for Mexico the next morning! It was so nice to practice Spanish in a relaxed setting, and the beer and tapas certainly helped things; the storm that followed that evening did not, however! When we eventually made it home out of the rain, I was exhausted.

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The following day, we made our way back into the centre, heading straight for Temple de Debod. Walking through Madrid in the sun is absolutely lovely, especially as everything is so gorgeous, but bloody hell, it gets hot! We walked up Gran Vía and went to the top of El Corte Inglés, which gave us the perfect view of the city, overlooking the busy streets, with Celia pointing out several places that we were going to hit throughout the rest of our busy Saturday. She showed me some of her favourite places, before we took more touristy snaps at the Metropolis, the town hall, El Retiro and Palacio de Cristal. El Retiro is absolutely beautiful in the sunshine, and after a wander through it, we came across a book fair. While I had to stop myself from buying something, which can be quite hard at places like that for me, we chilled out in the park before meeting Celia’s sister and cousin for a bite to eat.

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While we were eating, we heard news of the terror attack on London Bridge, which is such a surreal thing: hearing news that something horrifying is happening somewhere at home while you’re in a foreign country, for the second time in less than a fortnight, almost makes you wonder if you’re living in a movie rather than living real life. But luckily I was with Celia and her family, who made sure we all got home safely – I wasn’t ready to leave just yet.

The next morning I had to get up pretty early as I’d stupidly booked an 11am coach, forgetting I’d need to travel into the centre. After a lovely breakfast with Celia and her dad, they dropped me off at the train station. It was such a weird feeling saying goodbye, especially as it had been such a short trip and we hadn’t seen each other in so long, but I know we’ll see each other soon. Who knows, maybe we’ll catch up again back in Birmingham!

With the end of this trip means the end of my long coach journeys across Spain, which I’m honestly quite thankful for. As I write this, I’ve already completed 2 of my final 5 exams, with only 15 days left to go in Zaragoza! The last few months have flown by – I honestly can’t believe I’ll be home soon. You better be ready for my return!

Until next time, cariños.

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