Our trip to Madrid began with a train problem, meaning we had to catch a bus to the first stop. This would have been fine if not for the fact there were a bunch of teenage chaps sitting behind us who still sounded like they had a bit of a buzz on from the night before. One lady (baby in tow) they frequently targeted with their carry on got her own back by getting up and going to sit right next to them with the baby, classic.
We stayed at the same hostel in Madrid which Toby and Jess ventured to on their Eurotour three years prior. They gave it a strong recommendation coupled with the fact you could sit up in the first floor bar and watch about 10-20 prostitutes going about their business around Gran Via station below (I'll let you guess which of them told me that!). Sure enough whilst there we sat in the bar on numerous occasions, amazed by the goings on down below which predominantly involved working girls approaching any lone male/group of males and giving them a bit of a feel on the shoulder and, assumedly, saying in Spanish 'you lookin' for a good time?'.
We had quite the epic walk around the city as was becoming customary when we arrived anywhere, this time taking in the centre of town, Plaza Mayor and the Palacio Real and it's gardens. With a bit of time on our hands in Madrid we also planned on getting to an internet cafe to update this here blog and photos. As we travelled further and further, it became increasingly frustrating paying for and finding somewhere who would let us upload photos, so we made the wise decision to buy this very netbook from a local FNAC (think JB Hi-Fi).
After getting a few tips off a former Madrid resident in San Sebastian, we headed up toward the Tribunal area which was synonomous with bars and restaurants to sample the nightlife. On a mission to find a good mojito we found a bar that was one of the best of the trip thus far, with quality tunes and Back to the Future playing on the projector screen! To cap it off the mojitos were both delicious and potent.
Another recommended sightseeing walk the next day took in Plaza de Cibeles, Puerta de Alcala, Salon de Reinos and the lovely Parque del Retiro before we ventured back to Tribunal for what was meant to be a nice Mexican feed. Unfortunately the guacomole musn't have agreed with Barry's stomach, sending him to bed early and the bathroom numerous times.
We were back on track for the final day, which was lucky as Barry had sneakily booked tickets to a bullfight at the MCG of bullrings, Madrid's Plaza de Toros. To put it briefly, it was probably the most amazing thing we'd seen thus far, and not necessarily in a good way. The photos tell a pretty good story, but the bizarre ritualistic nature of it and almost cowardly way they go about killing the bulls was a bit much for some, including some South African ladies next to us who left after a few minutes. We soldiered on and watched six bulls get put to the sword, leaving with a great realisation as to why animal activists are trying to get the 'sport' banned.
The next day we checked out and took a day trip to Toledo to kill some time before our night train to Lisbon.