Saturday morning rolled around, and it was time to say goodbye to our lovely resort at the Playa Andaluza. :(
We ate breakfast and set off on the beautiful road trip to Madrid, about five hours north. Again, the entire drive was filled with amazing views and mountain after mountain covered by olive groves. Absolutely amazing. Several hours later, we found ourselves approaching the city of Madrid, which is a massive city. The population is over 3 million (a little less than Los Angeles), but it has the feel of New York City. Well–except for all the amazing baroque buildings like THIS.
And that was just on our drive to our hotel. Speaking of which, our hotel was right in the heart of the city, and honestly, it was the nicest hotel we have ever stayed in and probably will ever stay in again (thanks, Dad!). It was the Hotel Santo Mauro, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection–once the palace of a duke. (Dad clearly has the right connections.) Anyway, on to the pictures of our lovely suite. First, here’s the entrance to the hotel.
Yes, we were dressed up. Good thing, too, because the bellhop was in a tuxedo. With tails. After checking us in, he brought us up a fabulous winding staircase and down a series of long corridors to our room.
First, the sitting room…
And our bedroom… (Erick has awesome videos of this whole thing; my photos don’t even capture the scale of how huge this place was).
Then, we went kind of… downstairs… to our bathroom. It was pretty awesome that the suite was two levels! I’d never seen anything like that before. We were pretty much in love with the bathroom. Lol.
We spent some time exploring the balcony, too. Basically because it had this awesome doorway.
And this amazing view…
We chilled for a bit, trying to decide where we wanted to go in the city.
Incidentally, Erick had found a parking spot right in front of the hotel (see picture of the gate above–that’s from our car!) and parking happened to be free….. and we weren’t sure if we were going to find that anywhere else in the city. So we decided to go someplace that we could walk to–the royal palace! Okay, it wasn’t really walking distance per se, but we were going to keep that parking spot no matter what!
Oh, and check out our key. Erick loved this key. Lol.
On our way out, we explored the rest of the hotel a little bit.
And then we took our walking tour of the city. :)
Fountains everywhere, again!
Entering the gardens on the outskirts of the palace…
Super cute old couple playing and singing near the palace!
It was a very windy day, especially around the palace!
In front of the main entrance of the palace! Click the wide photos for panorama shots by Erick!
We also visited the church right next to the palace and listened to part of a Spanish mass, which was pretty cool.
The sermon ironically (or not so ironically) was about Peter, who happened to be outside.
After leaving the cathedral, we walked down much busier streets than the ones we had come on. We walked by lots of bakeries and pastries shops. So many delicious looking things!
Erick snapped this shot right before he got told by the shopkeeper that no photos were allowed.
He asked permission for just one more when he saw this! Different that Filipino ensaymada, but pretty close!
We ended up in a giant plaza–and I mean, giant! We found out later that this was the Puerta Del Sol, one of the busiest places in Madrid.
I was shocked to suddenly see how full the streets were extending out from all sides of the plaza… people were so crowded there barely seemed room to walk. Apparently this is the center of the radial network of roads that go throughout the city. Just look at a couple of these streets that pinwheeled off the plaza. They were ALL this chock full of people.
The city hall clock tower.
There wasn’t much else we could do except look around there since it was still Sabbath, so we took the long walk back to our hotel, relaxed for a bit, ate dinner in our room and closed Sabbath. We actually returned to the Puerta Del Sol after sundown, and wow… nightlife in Madrid is crazy! The streets were just as full as they were during the day and there were still cool street artists around the plaza that we stopped and watched.
All the shops were open even late at night (like I said, New York style!) and we bought pastries from a bakery probably close to midnight. We spent the rest of the evening shopping for gifts to bring back to our families, and packing up for the trip back to the U.S. the next day.
We wished we could have spent even more time in Madrid. We happened upon some pretty cool places just by wandering around the streets, haha… but I know there are so many other things we could see and do in the city. Maybe one day we’ll be back!
Just one more short post to come as we wrap up our honeymoon–our crazy travel day back through Portugal (including a pit stop on a tiny island)!