Wednesday we had breakfast at our hostel and then made our way to the Royal Palace to see the changing of the guards.
It only happens on the first Wednesday of every month, so we went on the perfect day! It was cool to watch, but we were watching from the outside of the palace so we missed some of it. They start the whole thing on the outside and work their way to the inside of the palace for a performance...we probably would have watched from inside if we would have known. After the changing of the guards we went inside the Almudena Cathedral right next to the royal palace. We then walked by Plaza de la Villa to get to Plaza Mayor.
It was crazy seeing Plaza Mayor again and remembering my last trip there. (The summer before my senior year of high school I went on a trip with Mrs. Journey and two of the cities we visited were Madrid and Barcelona). I definitely enjoyed my trip in high school, but since I've gotten older I have a greater appreciation for everything! We had lunch in Plaza Mayor. Sangria and sandwiches.
Enjoying lunch in Plaza Mayor
After lunch we strolled the city and worked our way to the Prado that evening. A lot of the museums are free for students after 6pm. A lot of the art in the Prado is different then what I am used to. I think it's much darker and gloomier, but I'm definitely glad we went. We had sangria and paella for dinner in a plaza not far from our hostel.
It was deliciousssss :) We were all SO full after dinner that we went back to the hostel to rest...and we ended up sleeping for a couple hours lol. We had all planned to go out that night, but Anna and Amy weren't up for it after the nap. Katie and Megan wanted to go out and they somehow convinced Henna and I to go too. Bad ideaaaa...the amount of creepers in Madrid is RIDICULOUS! We went to two different clubs (we got in free thank god!) and were constantly being approached by guys. We weren't having that much fun so we decided to head back to the hostel. We were able to walk by the prostitutes once more on our way back...we actually saw them doing their job when we woke up to have breakfast, when we would take a break in the middle of the day, and when we would go out at night...sad, but true.
Thursday we headed to the Parque del Retiro. It was so nice! We each got an ice cream and walked around the park. We walked around the lake and sat on the steps of the Alfonso XII monument for awhile enjoying the amazing weather. Then we decided to take a ride in the paddle boats...it was a lot of fun! :)
After the 45 minute boat ride we walked through the park making our way to the botanical gardens.
Palacio de Cristal All the girls :) We walked through the Botanical Gardens, which was very pretty! We all agreed that park was just as beautiful though..and the park was free! After the botanical gardens we split up for a little while to eat dinner, do some shopping, etc. and then met back up around 8:30pm. On the tourist info map it said that the Templo de Debod was the best place to watch the sunset so we decided to check it. It was BEAUTIFUL! It was the perfect way to spend our last night in Madrid!
View of Madrid as the sun was setting
Templo de Debod