I really need to start writing about my trips right after they happen. It was so much easier when I was writing about Cyprus than it is now to remember the details of a trip that happened in March. 🙄 Will I ever learn the lesson? Probably not. Oh well…

Ok, better late than never, I guess. After Stockholm, I went to Norway to spend some time with my family. It was only for two weeks and it was the last two weeks before my sabbatical. I had promised my youngest niece I would be there for her birthday, so I got there two weeks before to help my sister with the party. It was awesome, as usual. I am very happy that both my nieces are properly initiated in the Super Mario world. The next steps are Zelda, Star Wars, and LOTR.

The day of the party there was a MAJOR snowstorm and I was gonna fly to Madrid later that same day. It got to the point the city cancelled all the buses and we thought people would not be able to get to the party and my flight would be cancelled but everything worked out in the end.

Spain is one of my favourite countries. I’ve been there multiple times and I never get tired of it. It’s beautiful, a lot of history and art, the food is amazing and the people are nice. But I had never been to Madrid. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know the answer to that.

I had 3 days there and on one of the days I should have gone to Segovia and Toledo but there was an issue on the subway, I got there 10 min late and the bus had left already so I ended up not going.

I stayed in an Airbnb close to the Lavapies station. The area felt a bit weird during the night, as in it’s a bit commercial, so nice and busy during the day but a bit too quiet during the night. But if you walk a bit you can find nice restaurants. It didn’t feel unsafe, though.

The thing is, other than going to Toledo em Segovia I didn’t have a lot of plans. So visited a few “must-see” places like Plaza de España

Parque de el Retiro where there’s an awesome book street fair and the Crystal Palace.

Parque del Retiro is a charming and expansive park located in the heart of Madrid. Known as the “green lung” of the city, it offers a peaceful escape from the bustling streets. One of the park’s highlights is the iconic Crystal Palace, a magnificent glass structure nestled within the park’s lush surroundings. The Crystal Palace is a true architectural gem, with its intricate ironwork and stunning transparent facade. Inside, the spacious hall hosts various art exhibitions and cultural events, adding an artistic touch to this natural oasis. Surrounded by peaceful gardens and serene ponds, the Parque del Retiro and the Crystal Palace invite visitors to unwind, connect with nature, and appreciate the beauty that Madrid has to offer.

I went to a really great restaurant called Makkila which has several Keto options on its menu including Keto desserts. I had the Keto Lasagna and their chocolate cake for lunch.

Another thing I do for emergencies is I always have individual Whey protein packs so I can mix it with water or plain Greek yogurt and some berries and I’m done. I usually try to find keto options for lunch when I am travelling, but dinner I would have at the hotel/AirBnB and as much as I love cooking this is the last thing I wanna do when I’m travelling and super tired.

Like every other city in Europe, Madrid has lots of charming streets

I walked around the Royal Palace.

Madrid’s Royal Palace, also known as the Palacio Real de Madrid, has a rich and fascinating history. The construction began in the 18th century under the reign of King Philip V and was completed in 1764. It was built to replace the former Alcázar, which was destroyed by fire in 1734. The palace has served as the official residence of the Spanish royal family, although today it is mainly used for ceremonial purposes. With its grand architecture and opulent interiors, the Royal Palace stands as a testament to the power and grandeur of the Spanish monarchy throughout history. Visitors can explore its magnificent rooms and admire the impressive collection of artwork and historical artifacts that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Spain.

I went to the Mercado de San Miguel and the Mercado de la Cebada

Got some nice Spanish guitar strings for myself, my dad and my mom

I also went to the Plaza Maior and just realized I have zero good pics of it 🙁 But I got a nice picture of the Monumento a Cervantes <3 which is on the other side of the Plaza

The Monumento is a beautiful tribute to one of Spain’s greatest literary figures, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Located in the Plaza de España, this statue captures the renowned author seated atop a pedestal (which I cut off in the pic, sorry about that), with his famous characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza by his side. The monument serves as a reminder of Cervantes’ immense contribution to Spanish literature and his enduring legacy.

I went to the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas which is famous for bullfighting. The place is all about passion and tradition, even though some people find it VERY controversial (myself included. I hate the whole bullfighting idea). That said, talking about the building itself, the architecture is stunning, and it’s got so much history. It’s a symbol of Spanish culture, and everyone, both locals and tourists, flock there. Whether you’re into it or not, Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid is a must-see.

And that was about it in Madrid. Like every other place during this trip, I had too little time, and most cities I visited left that “I need to come back” feeling. I think I said that already, but this trip changed my mind about the way I travel. Next trips to new places, I will try to spend more time and visit fewer places to be able to really enjoy.

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