Have you ever arrived in a city armed with zero information about it at all? Sometimes it happens to me, or I’ll bring a travel guidebook to flip on the flight.
My friend Mich and I arrived in Madrid on a winter December one year, knowing absolutely nothing about this Spanish city at all.
Our Europe trip had been pretty much an impromptu decision – we booked the trip two weeks before flying off and both of us had been too caught up with work each to prepare for Madrid – the last leg of our four-city trip.
We had no idea where we were, how to get around Madrid, which attractions to head to. When we reached our apartment, the apartment-owner – warm, sweet Antonio, having orientated us around the apartment, asked if we knew where to go. Both of us shook our heads sheepishly.
Antonio promptly whipped out a map from his bag and shared with us the attractions to visit, the places to eat. He literally planned an itinerary for us there and then! The best part was, we were staying right in the heart of Madrid and everything was within walking distance, so I’m afraid I don’t have any tips for transport in Madrid – we walked everywhere.
Two full days in Madrid and we…
Got to see the most ornate decorations at Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid; no photography allowed inside at all):
Marvelled at the golden Xmas structure at the city square (and also saw it being lit for the first time when the first December weekend arrived)..
Had an awesome lunch at one of the top food markets of Madrid: Mercado de San Miguel:
Spent many hours admiring an incredible amount of art housed within the splendid museum, El Prado..
Though not before having a Cinderella-like brunch somewhere near the museum:
Dined al fresco in the cold (thankfully there was a heater)..
Walked past the setup of this carousel..
Concluded that it must be competitive being buskers in Madrid..
And saw that art, artists and music are everywhere, even on street signs..
For a trip with no pre-planned itinerary, we spent wonderful times at beautiful places,and Madrid is now a fond memory.
So you see, sometimes the only thing you need to do is to breathe (out), and take a leap of faith into the next step, into the unknown.