From NYC I flew to Madrid and arrived at the airport about 10 am. I took the metro to Plaza de Espana and checked into my hostal on Gran Via. The single room costs 30,-€ a night with a shower and sink in the room, just the toilets were shared. It was a beautiful old building with an old elevator – I love those!
I walked along the Gran Via and then over to Puerta del Sol. The metro station “Sol” is now called “Vodafone Sol” – probably the first sponsored metro station I’ve seen!
There were several things I wanted to do on this Sunday afternoon but I had only time for two of them. So I skipped visiting Anden 0, the Rastro flea market and the street food market “MadrEat” and took the metro to Delicias to visit the flea market “Mercado de Motores” at the train museum “Museo del Ferrocarril”. This was definitely the best flea market I’ve ever visited! The location was amazing: all the booths along the platforms with the old trains as a backdrop, an indoor and outdoor space, lots of food & drinks avaiable at reasonable prices, live music, … After visiting so many markets and street fairs in NYC I thought I’d seen it all but this was simply amazing, I could have stayed all afternoon!
After the flea market I finally got to visit Matadero which was just a short walk / one metro stop away from the Mercado de Motores. Matadero is an arts center housed in an old slaughterhouse and it’s huge! I spent about 2 hours there and haven’t seen all of it. There are galleries, co-working spaces, a bar / cafe, a cinema, a theater, a restaurant, huge exhibition halls and an even bigger outdoor space with various events. I’ve read about it a few years ago and wanted to visit ever since and I’m so glad I finally did. This is definitely a space I will come back to whenever I’m in Madrid.
I also got a glimpse of MadridRio – a new park that runs along the river and the southern end of it is just behind Matadero. I didn’t had the time and power to explore the whole park and walk along the river up to the palace and Principe Pio station.
In the evening I sat at Gran Via for a while before going to bed shortly after sunset -it was along day and I had only slept 2 hours on the plane!
The next day after packing and storing my luggage at the hostal I walked along one of Madrid main shopping streets: Calle de Fuencarral. For my late breaksfast I stopped by the very cool market “Mercado de San Ildefonso” which is such a great place: different floors with various (street) food vendors, a bar, balconies and patios.
On my way to Retiro park I wanted to revisit the city hall / Palacio de Cibeles but unfortunately it’s closed for the public on Mondays. So I headed straight to Retiro to have a few more hours lying in the sun (32 degrees celsius!) before heading back home.
I also visited the Palacio de Cristal in the park where Fredericos Guzmáns “Tuiza. The Cultures of the Bedouin Tent” was on view. Afterwards I headed back to center, had a quick late lunch break, walked by the Royal Palace and Plaza de Espana and then picked up my suitcase and headed to the airport to fly back home.