After 2 nights camping in Andorra, our next goal was to reach Porto, Portugal. Why? Well, did we mentioned already that we will cross the Atlantic ocean with a sailboat? And Porto is the place where we will board. The amazing thing about this story is that another guy from Estonia is sailing around the world with his yacht and was looking for some crew to help him out in different phases of his trip. We luckily and basically accidentally managed to find out this and contacted him and here we go 😊 but we will reveal more details about this story in a due course.
The way to Porto is long so we decided we will spend 2 nights in Madrid and explore the city. Madrid is the capital of Spain and somehow the vibe is very different from Barcelona. We noticed immediately that it’s not so crowded and people are much calmer. The city is not so nervous. It was relaxing to walk around the center of Madrid and visit the sights.
We booked an Airbnb place and the host was just super helpful. He gave us the city map and spotted out all the places worth to visit – thereby we did not have to do any planning ourselves this time. You can see what we experienced from the pictures below. Apart from beautiful architecture and churches we also noticed that Madrid is the city of fountains. There was just so many of them.
We also visited Mercado de San Miguel which is basically a marketplace but also a food street where you could buy tapas. Tapas is a Spanish word for snacks or appetizers that are usually served together with a drink. There were all sorts of them, but we tried a few.
Our host explained that back in the 17 century or something, the Spanish people were drinking a lot but since they were poor they only bought beer or wine but no food/snacks. This resulted in arguments and fights because people were getting really drunk. So they started serving free food with the beer and wine. However since hygienic conditions were not great at that time, the free plate of food was served on top of the beer glass. The Spanish word tapas which today means appetizer or snack originates from that time and literally meaning „to cover“.
To have a great tapas experience, the host recommended visiting a bar called El Tigre Sidra Bar. We like to visit the places where locals go and this was exactly one of those places. It was said to be the best bar in the town serving biggest free tapas with the beer. You can only pay in cash so if you go be prepared. We went there and instantly ordered 2 beers – it costs 5 euros each – but we also got 3 plates of a different kind of tapas. The amount of food was enough to serve the purpose of proper lunch. There was a pile of paella, a pile of fried potatoes with a traditional Spanish sauce and 8 small sandwiches with different types of ham and cheese.
Later on, we walked around in El Retiro park before we went back to our home in Madrid. We spent about 3-4 hours walking around Madrid touristic area, but we did not visit any museums or went inside the king’s palace – so there is definitely something to explore the next time we happen to visit Madrid.
It was a nice subsidy for hiking and camping. Initially, we expected the capital city to be very crowded and touristy but we experienced the opposite. Maybe our host just pointed out the right places to visit. The journey from Andorra to Madrid was quite boring, there was only a rocky desert with some abandoned gas stations and buildings. But Madrid was certainly worth driving to. I would recommend however to visit Madrid by flying in and move around with the metro because metro prices are very affordable. One day tourist card is about 9 euros and it includes the plastic metro card which otherwise is 2.5 euros. If you know that you are only taking one or two rides with the metro then singe ride ticket could be more reasonable because it’s 1.5 -2 euros depending which route and stops you take. The ticket machines are also in English and simple to use. Kaija also was convinced that the metro was much nicer than in Paris or London.