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Monthly Archives: March 2013
My friend Allie and I sat down close to the end of our time in Madrid and realized we had planned everything up until spring break, but not one second afterwards. We came up with a few possibilities of what to do after break. Our first choice was to see a Manchester United game on […]
It took us at least half an hour to find our way out of the Vatican Museums but somehow we managed to make it out and we went to the Metro station to take the subway to the Colosseum. I’m a big fan of the public transportation systems in Europe, but Rome’s was reminiscent of the MBTA in Boston. You had to fight your way into a train car and pray that you weren’t pushed back out by someone trying to get off at the next stop. We watched a man get stuck halfway between the doors and someone had to pry the doors open in order to get the rest of his body in the train as it was already beginning to leave the station. So we fought our way on and emerged fifteen minutes later with the Colosseum towering before us.
After all of our troubles getting to and from the airport in Barcelona, getting to Rome seemed like a piece of cake even though it was a first-come, first-serve situation with the shuttle bus to the city center. Flying around Europe can be very cheap as there are several low-cost airlines that provide incredibly cheap fares but they often fly about an hour or so outside of the city. We fought our way onto the bus and were dropped off at Rome’s Termini main station. Our hostel was right across the street from the main station, so it didn’t take us long to get in and drop our bags off before we began our Italian adventure. We had a very early flight from Barcelona but by the time we actually made it to the city center it was nearly noon and we set out for lunch.
Landing in Barcelona was easy. Getting to our hostel from the airport was another story. Our plane was one of the last to land for the night and we touched down about 22:30. We knew there were 2 terminals at the airport and had directions to the city center from one of them. The slight issue being that we had no clue what terminal we were actually at. We finally found out we were at the wrong one and hopped on an airport shuttle bus that seemed to take us by the airport, past the airport, around the airport, and around the airport again before it finally dropped us off at the other terminal. I was using the very complicated system of following the “pictures of trains” in order to figure out where we needed to go.
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Our third day in Madrid actually had us leaving Madrid to spend the day in Toledo, which used to be the capital of Spain up until the mid-16th century. Before our buses pulled into the city center, we stopped at an outlook that gave us a view of the city of Toledo. Toledo was built upon a hill and the river flows around the base of the hill. In addition to being absolutely beautiful, this also provided a strategic defensive advantage to the city that was critical to the city’s importance and survival in medieval times.