In April, I spent a week in Spain. Here’s an account of my travels.
We landed in Ibiza early on a Friday morning. Our British Airways flight from London City Airport was somewhat relaxing. Having finished classes less than 12 hours before heading to the airport, we were all exhausted, each of us getting around 3-4 hours of sleep the night before. Regardless, we dropped off our bags at our beautiful Airbnb, just seconds away from the beach, and explored the island. Walking around aimlessly for about 20 minutes, I saw some of the most aesthetically pleasing architecture. geometric shapes, and bright colors against the bright blue sky made the lack of sleep bearable.
We headed to the beach for a quick bite and to feel the sun on our skin. I had mussels, which were fresh and cooked to perfection. That was the beginning of a week filled with fresh seafood and sunny adventures.
We spent the rest of the weekend exploring different areas of the island, my favorite being Old Town Ibiza, a lively area with great shopping and even better food. We ended our Ibiza excursion with a late night walk on the beach and a fretful search for a taxi the next morning. Our next stop was Madrid.
After a quick Ryanair flight from Ibiza, we landed in Madrid around 10am. Seeing as we could not check in to our Airbnb until early afternoon, we dropped off our suitcases at a luggage holding facility in the center of the city. Right next door was a gastro market where we tried loads of different foods. There was a counter for everything you could imagine, from fresh mozzarella to ice cream sandwiches. After our quick snack, we headed to the Airbnb, a fifth floor walkup in a central location, and freshened up before heading out. With only two days in Madrid and a long list of places we wanted to experience, we knew we wouldn’t be able to see everything Madrid had to offer. Our first stop, was the Palacio Real de Madrid. Luckily for us, entry was discounted for students and we were able to experience the beauty of the palace’s architecture, art, and history.
The next day, we left early to try and see the big tourist sites. We walked to El Parque del Buen Retiro, an incredibly large park in central Madrid with a plethora of sights and activities. First we visited El Palacio Cristal, a beautiful architectural gem made entirely of glass and set in an iron framework. Luckily for us, it was a sunny day and the view was truly beautiful. We continued our stroll through the park, watching peacocks in the Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez, and relaxing near the lake. Next, we headed to the Prado Museum, one of the highlights of my trip. As a proud art history student, I was finally able to marvel in the beauty of Francisco Goya’s works. Unfortunately, photography isn’t allowed within the museum.
The next stop on our trip was Barcelona, a city I have always dreamed of visiting. We landed in the city late Wednesday night, heading straight to our Airbnb to get some sleep. The following day, we took it upon ourselves to get travel passes for the train, as our Airbnb was slightly outside the city. The passes only cost 10 euros for 10 trips, and considering we would only be in the city for a short time, it sounded like a good deal. We got our tickets and began exploring. Our first full day in Barcelona was filled with sightseeing. Our first order of business was the Joan Miró Foundation, a curated museum of the works of one of my favorite surrealists. After that, we took the train to see La Sagrada Familía. Tickets were sold out all week, so we didn’t get a chance to go inside, but the cathedral was just as awe inspiring from the outside. After a large dinner, we visited the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc to see the colorful lights of the large fountain change color against the dark backdrop of the night.
On our second and last day, we kept our schedule simple. We trekked around Parc Güell, a very long but fulfilling walk, before heading to the Gothic Quarter and La Barceloneta. The weather was not as forgiving as Madrid, and the wind on the beach proved the walk difficult. However, we found a great churro and gelato spot nearby and relaxed while indulging in sweets before going home.
On April 20, we flew back to London, taking the Gatwick express to King’s Cross Station and lugging our suitcases through the busy streets of central London for the ten or so minute walk back home, still muttering “gracias” under our breaths.