Day Trips: Two Easy (but Exceptional) Hour-Away Adventures!

Authored by:
Sarah S.

Sarah S.

Hello, hello! It has been a VERY busy first few weeks here in Madrid. Between signing up for my metro card, touring apartments, and keeping up with my Spanish classes, I have slowly started to get into the rhythm of my life here. That said, the four-week immersion program has given me ample time to check these things and more off of my to-do list. It has also given me the chance to do some traveling! One of my favorite things about being in Madrid is how accessible and affordable the public transportation system is. It's generally very easy to get to neighboring cities, and I would absolutely recommend doing so during your first weekends here. Tandem, the school that runs our Spanish classes, typically offers biweekly activities and excursions. This past weekend, my friends and I signed up for their trip to Segovia. We took a bus, which was very cheap and extremely comfortable! Ours even had individual TVs on the seats, so we spent the hour-long ride watching movies and playing games. In Segovia, we hit three main attractions: the aqueduct, the cathedral, and the castle. The cathedral and the castle both cost a few euros, but they were definitely worth it! Though each attraction was beautiful, I think the cathedral was my favorite. It had huge ceilings, stunning stained glass pieces, and fantastic artwork. After that tour, we headed out for lunch. The city is famous for “Cochinillo de Segovia,” an extremely tender, suckling pig dish. I didn’t try it because I’m a pescatarian, but my friends said it was delicious! We ended our trip with a visit to the palace, where we saw lots of royal antiques, armor and weaponry, and gorgeous landscape views.  

The next day, my roommate and I were off on another adventure! Our host mom took us to Aranjuez, where we explored a Renaissance palace. This train ride was a bit longer than our trek to Segovia, but it was well worth it. On Sunday afternoons, you can roam the castle and gardens for free if you are a Spanish citizen or have a student visa. We started in the king and queen’s quarters and spent hours wandering the luxurious rooms. The craftsmanship was gorgeous, but unfortunately, it is prohibited to take pictures! I would absolutely recommend walking through both gardens and seeing the fountain of Apollo. We picked fresh pomegranates and snacked on them while walking through the royal orchards. The Museo de Falúas Reales is also a can’t-miss opportunity. It is deep within the larger garden, and it holds four fantastic sailing boats that belonged to the royal family. We made it there right before it closed at 6:30 pm, so if you want enough time to fully inspect the intricate designs, I would plan ahead! By the time we were on the train home, we had spent nine hours in Aranjuez! Make sure you pack plenty of snacks and water :) 

All in all, it was a very fulfilling weekend. Taking these short day trips has allowed me to see more of the country on a budget and with a busy schedule. I highly recommend doing so, either with Tandem or on your own!

 

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