It wasn’t planned, but we ended up in Madrid during Semana Santa. That explained why it was near impossible to secure any accommodation. I ended up speaking broken Spanish (or whatever that was left in my head after 5 years) to 2 policemen in order to find a hostel that still had rooms for us, but not before walking up and down a hilly road twice. I have never seen that many people on the streets. Believers and non-believers of the faith were all walking towards Plaza Mayor for the procession. We were early so we crossed over to Puerta del Sol for a bit and that was where some TV crew caught us for an interview.
We walked back to Plaza Mayor where a large banner was hanging from the windows. The residents were complaining about the music. As night fell and the procession started, everyone fell silent and watched as men with chains on their feet led the way. Handsome men and women followed behind, some in robes with their heads covered and the women all dressed in black, donning beautiful mantillas. We stayed and watched for a few more minutes before walking off to get some food.
Our meal times were all messed up in Spain. We were always hungry at the wrong time, and trying to get food while they’re having their siesta was challenging. We spent many afternoons in bars, staring at their amazing food but not being able to order anything because according to them, it wasn’t time to eat. The good thing about being a tourist/traveller is that they’ll always make exceptions for you. Plenty of tapas to go around!
We also rented bicycles in Madrid, but don’t do it if you’re afraid of cycling next to cars. Some of the roads can be very wide and cycling to Parque del Buen Retiro wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be. We made it somehow and it was well worth the traffic nightmare. Madrid was beautiful and cycling beats walking, but it was on to Salamanca next.