Happy New Year! I’m back and I’m not going to pretend like I never left. Taking this hiatus was three things: difficult, necessary and absolutely unplanned. I hope that your holidays were peaceful, and that the rest of your year is even more so.
On my way back to the United States from Nigeria, I had the option to route my Qatar ticket through Madrid or Paris. Since the layover in Paris was a lot shorter, I opted for Madrid where I would have 5 hrs between connections.
So my trip looked like this. Lagos→Doha →Madrid→Miami.
Honestly, 2 layovers (Doha and Madrid) is not ideal; But I’ve learned to see the beauty in them. These days, I simply plan my time in the country properly so that I can make the most of it.
I only had a few hours in Madrid, but the excitement I felt as the plane touched down around 7am, was almost palpable. It was still dark when we landed, but the sun started to peek through the clouds at about 8:30am.
5 hours may seem like quite a bit of time, but I had to allow for time at security, transportation to and from the airport and immigration.
Luckily, and much to my surprise, I was out of immigration in under 5 minutes.
I withdrew Euros, figured out how to take the train and started my journey to Atocha Station. I chose to visit Buen Retiro Park because my cousin had shown me some photos from when she went, and it seemed like the perfect place to relax and take in part of the city.
Think Central Park in New York, but nicer + less people (at least at the time I went).
Because it was so early, the park was almost empty; it was amazing.
I barely had to speak Spanish, though I did anyway just to practice. I had a funny conversation with a shop-owner about American politics. Let’s just say neither of us is impressed with the current state of things.
The lovely people who helped me at the airport were bilingual, and the signs were helpful the rest of the way. Also, if you mention “Buen Retiro”, someone will know where it is. It’s approximately 5 minutes from Atocha station on foot.
I walked around the park and the city for about 45 minutes, grabbed a bite to eat at a small cafe, and then hopped on a train back to the airport.
Yes the park was beautiful, but flying out of Madrid was the highlight of my trip. I got a first hand view of the stunning mountain range that stretches for miles. For once I chose a window seat on the right side of the plane. Haha!
I cannot wait to revisit Madrid. Next time, I’ll either extend my layover or plan a full-on trip. Have any of you been to Madrid? What did you get up to? Also, comment below to let me know how you deal with layovers.
As always, thank you for reading!
All photos shot and edited on Iphone 6S+
same footprints, different sands