Hi guys! I have been dying to share a recap of my recent trip to Spain and Israel with you all and I am finally sitting down to do just that! Life has been extremely busy since I got back last month so I apologize for the delay in sharing this recap with you! If you are new to my blog and have no idea what I’m talking about, you may want to skim through some of my Instagram photos from last month or take a peek at my Summer Uniform in Spain post and this Off the Shoulder Dress I wore out in Barcelona for a little peek at my trip!
Over the next month I will be sharing multiple travel diaries with you and today I am starting with Madrid…
Madrid was the first stop of the adventure my husband and I were on and we completely fell in love with this historical and architecturally stunning capital! There was something so special about the air there that I can’t describe. For such a busy city there was something that seemed so calm and peaceful about it. Perhaps it was part jetlag and excited to be in vacation mode on my part, but it really felt special to me. Every building has such unique and intricate details and almost always included some sort of wrought iron detail that just screamed Spain for me.
When we landed in Madrid, we had no hotel booked or arrangements for a place to stay. I’m sure for some of you this sounds ridiculous or a little risky, but for my husband and I this is pretty normal. Unless we’re booking an all-inclusive trip somewhere like Mexico, we’re not booking our hotel ahead of time. For this short stay in Madrid we used the Hotel Tonight App to find a place right next to Puerta Del Sol (walking distance to many tourist areas). If you remember the last time I told you about Hotel Tonight when I booked my trip to Chicago, you’ll remember they have a geo-tag feature that drops the price when it notices your location is either in a highly populated area of hotels or in an airport. We ended up staying in the coolest boutique hotel in Gran Via called H10 Villa de la Reina that was walking distance to almost everywhere for a really great price. Added bonus was being greeted by a man in a tuxedo handing me a glass of Cava when we checked in. YES.
Since I barely slept at all on the flight (how does that happen when it’s a 9+ hours flight?!), we crashed in our room for a few hours before we headed out to do some sight-seeing. After a quick nap we headed to Puerta Del Sol and the Royal Palace…
once we reached the Royal Palace we continued walking to the Sabatini Gardens…
After all of the walking we were dying of thirst. Naturally we grabbed glasses of sangria (don’t worry we got some water too) at an outdoor market near the center of Madrid. I LOVE these types of markets where you can walk around, drink in hand, sampling fresh food and checking out different vendors (stay tuned for when I cover Barcelona’s incredible market, La Boqueria). I think this stop in the market was meant to be because we came across a woman selling tickets to a Flamenco show. Seeing Flamenco in Madrid was an absolute must for me so it was nice to learn a little more about this particular club and show before we bought tickets. After we bought tickets and finished our sangria (which was only 3 euro! SO cheap!), we headed back to our hotel to shower and change for the rest of the night.
As we made our way to the show by foot, we realized we were beginning to walk in some pretty sketchy areas. Luckily we found the club before wandering too far off the beaten path. Our tickets included a pitcher (yes, pitcher) of Sangria along with a couple of appetizers. I loved how intimate the club was making the Flamenco experience that much more special. The dancers were unbelievably talented to the point where their feet were moving so fast it actually was blurry (I promise the blurriness was not from the sangria…)!
After the show we headed back towards our hotel which was conveniently located next door to a casino. It was almost midnight which meant it was almost my birthday! It also meant I had only slept about 5 hours in the last 48 hours, but who’s really counting when you’re on vacation? To kickoff my birthday festivities we headed into the casino for a little blackjack and two of the biggest gin and tonics I’ve ever seen! I could not believe there was an entire menu dedicated to different types of gin and tonics (which were all the size of my head), so if you make it to Spain, Gin and Tonics are a must!
Outfit Details Crop Top: Urban Outfitters $9.99 // Skirt: Nordstrom Rack (designer find purchased on clearance!) // Heels: DSW (old) // Purse: c/o Sears
Travel Tip: either change your money ahead of time or change it at the airport. DO NOT change it in a touristy area “Change” place. They will completely rip you off. We had already changed money in the airport but decided to change a little more while walking around Puerta del Sol. The employee helping us told us the rate which was pretty good so we went ahead and changed $100. Big, amateur mistake. Based on the rate we should have gotten around 87 euro. What did we get? 57 EURO. I about had a heart attack. She explained that there is a 10 euro fee no matter how much you change along with a 20% or so fee. Ridiculous, right? Needless to say my husband and I were not very happy.
Another Travel Tip: if you plan on visiting a Casino while overseas, change your money there. They don’t take commission and give you a great rate!
**GUESS WHAT? I am such a fan of Hotel Tonight that I have teamed up with them to offer you a discount code for $25 OFF your stay! You can use this wherever and whenever you want! Just simply add the code “FASHIONHOUR” and you’ll get $25 off!**
Stay tuned for my next Travel Diary where I recap my birthday in Spain! Thank you for reading!!