Hello again readers, and welcome to another addition of 'The Blog', this time from the Spanish capital, Madrid.
We arrived here yesterday from Valencia, where we had spent two nights after a brief but eventful train ride from Barcelona.
I think we left you just after arriving in Barce, so I´ll start there.
We spent four nights there, three of which was at the Barcelona Mar Hostel (clean & very accomodating but lacking atmosphere and full of French!) before spending our final evening at the Gothic Point (also clean, very accomodating, great atmosphere but also full of French!).
After exploring the city for the first couple of days thanks to the help of our guide, David, we ventured out into the night to see the ´legendary´nightlife. We wondered into some pretty random places, including a Sherlock Holmes bar where there seemed to be some kind of Flamenco competition going on (obviously Sherlock was a fan!?). Anyway, the staff didn´t appear too welcoming, so we quickly drank up and moved on!
During the days we got time to visit the beach, which would have been a far more pleasurable experience had we not been approached every minute by a man or women trying to sell you something..."Sangria, Dos Euros!?"...No love, I have already told you no!. We also visited the La Pedreda (dont quote me on spelling I haven´t got the patience to spell check!) which is a vast building just outside the centre created by the architect Gaudi. It was interesting to explore his work and ideas and the rooftop view was a real treat, providing extensive views across the city!
It was sad to leave Barce, more due to the fact we were leaving our newly found friend David behind, as he had run out of money and was unable to continue on to Valencia.
The planned train ride to Valencia was the first occassion that we had not attempted to check train times at the ticket office before travelling. Error. Using our trust Euro Train Guide book, we believed that trains would run pretty much every hour or so from Barce. This proved not to be the case, which meant a four hour wait at Barcelona Sants before we could catch our ride to Valencia. We used the time wisely to buy food and drink beer.
After a three hour journey to Valencia, we stepped off the train to be hit by what we termed "The Hairdryer", i.e. 48C heat!! The walk to our hostel seemed to take hours (in truth, it was around 15 minutes walk) but once arrived, we were welcomed with a free drink!
The first night in Valencia was a rather random affair, and the first time on the trip that me and Max had done our own thing so to speak. We met a group of lads from England who were up for hitting a few bars along the beach so I decided to tag along, whilst Maxwell, well you´ll have to ask him personally for that story! ;P
I can safely say we both had a very enjoyable evening, though it was one of the most random nights spent on the trip (thanks to Mark, Tommy and Scott, creases lads, Steve out!).
After such an epic night, we took the next day to chill whilst climbing another tower to see the sights of Valencia from the Cathedral. We then found an Irish bar to watch the footy before taking the sensible option of an early night before the trip to Madrid the next day.
Shortly after arriving here yesterday, we caught wind that a bull fight was taking place nearby. We both talked up the possibility of seeing one whilst in Spain, so quickly jumped on the subway to see if we could snap up a couple of tickets. This proved a doddle, as the arena was only half full (probably down to the fact that there was a big Bull fight going on elsewhere in Madrid). We watched around five fights before I pulled out. Personally, I don´t regret going, as there were elements that were enjoyable, but at the end of the day, it´s cruelty to animals, which is something I couldn´t stomach.
And here we are, awoken and fully refreshed for a free tour of Madrid which starts in 7 minutes time!
One more stop in Lisbon before a visit to Dad & Cath´s so this may well be the last time you here from us :(..via the blog at least!
If so, it´s been fun, catch up with some, if not all of you soon.
Steve & Max