I was not in the best state of mind to wander around Madrid, having arrived at 6am on an overnight bus feeling like I spent my entire night preparing for a Projects Day presentation. Couldn’t sleep much on the bus!
A cup of tea and coffee at the hostel failed to perk me up significantly, but I concede I was pretty excited for about 1hr when I explored Madrid. Left the hostel at almost 11am and made my way to the famous Sunday market via Plaza Mayor. Madrid is really completely different from Barcelona. I never thought they were so different! Madrid’s architecture is terrible compared to Barcelona’s, it seems like a jumble of buildings hastily constructed out of nowhere and without the historic, preserved feel of Barcelona. In fact, Madrid looks more like London than Barcelona in my opinion. Not the most pretty city but certainly a large, heaving metropolis and I haven’t had much time to explore it yet so I won’t pass any further judgement yet. Lots of tourists and locals milling about in the market. The market was huge and filled with cheap clothes, antiques and lots of stuff that you’d only find in the Spanish-speaking world like Latin America-style posters, accessories, etc etc. It was rather interesting but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to browse.
But because it was Sunday, the modern art museum was free-of-charge and I wouldn’t be doing myself justice by retiring to the hostel and taking a long siesta. So I went there. And promptly regretted it, because it was another art museum! Yes, they have works by Picasso, Dali and whoever else famous, but really, I have been completely saturated by art on this trip and I can’t take anymore in. If you’re an art lover, you’ll love Western Europe. Thanks to the great excesses and lavishness of Western civilisation in the past few hundred years, there’s so much art floating about in Europe, in tons of museums, many of which are free (not in Barcelona, but certainly so in Madrid and the UK). I suppose these nations, UK, France, Spain and Italy, must have over 90% of the world’s art or something. The collections are vast and staggering This museum in Madrid was huge and free-of-charge only on Sundays, but I was too tired to care. I walked back to the hostel, past ugly buildings that looked like they were plucked out of Washington D.C and London and placed at random along the streets, and back to the cosy comfort of the hostel, where I cooked myself a nice meal of Chilli Pasta with Spinach and Sausage, then settled down to chillax by surfing the couchsurfing website, reading Bill Bryson, and taking a much-needed evening nap.