A Day in Madrid…and Cuenca and Toledo

The Glass Palace
Inside the Glass Palace in Madrid

Classes ended last Friday and exams don’t start for another week, so of course I had to take advantage of my time off to take a quick trip to Madrid. In the span of three days I visited Madrid, Cuenca, and Toledo. My feet hurt from all the walking, but I am so incredibly happy that I was able to cross so many things of my travel bucket list.

I first went to Madrid and visited some of its most well-known sites, including the Parque del Retiro and its Glass Palace, the Palacio Real, and the Museo del Prado. Like with Barcelona and Granada, it was surreal to visit a city that I had heard so much about but never really could imagine myself actually visiting. For that reason, my visit to the Museo del Prado will stay with me for the rest of my life. Since I started learning Spanish, I had studied artists like Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya, and during this trip I actually got to see their works up close and personal. Seeing Las Meninas in person took my breath away, both because the work itself is truly a clever masterpiece but also because it was like coming face-to-face with actual proof that I have successfully realized a years-long dream of living in Spain.

Overlooking Cuenca
Overlooking Cuenca

Cuenca is a gorgeous city famous for its hanging houses, which truly have balconies that are suspended over the mountain. The views of the houses and the old city itself seen from the Bridge of Saint Paul are also incredibly beautiful. One of my OU professors had recommended that I take a day trip to Cuenca if I had the chance, and I am grateful he put it on my radar because it was the perfect day trip. It is definitely one of the prettiest places I have visited in Spain, which is really saying something. None of the pictures I took could do it justice.

Museo del Greco
El Greco Museum

On the last day of my three-day trip, I went to Toledo, primarily to visit the Museum of El Greco, a Renaissance painter born in Crete who lived in Toledo. I am not necessarily a huge fan of his morose religious paintings, but like with the visit to the Museo del Prado, the important thing was actually getting to see his work up close and personal. The museum is also a reconstruction of the painter’s house. Toledo is an incredible Medieval city with a long history, and I really enjoyed walking along its cobblestone streets and appreciating its architecture.

My time in Spain is drawing to a close, and time is passing quicker than I’d like. I am so grateful that I got to take this excursion in between the end of classes and the start of finals because I want to take advantage of what time I have left here. But I know that more adventures yet await.