On the morning of my last day in Madrid, I packed up my things, had breakfast with my roommates, and checked out. Since my flight wasn’t until later in the day, I put my bag in the storage room and went to Puerta del Sol for some souvenir shopping.
Since I was at Puerta del Sol already, I went to find the statue of El Oso y El Madroño (The Bear and the Strawberry Tree). The statue depicts a scene that is a symbol for Madrid and is featured on the city’s flag and coat of arms. You might say, “But wait! Strawberries don’t grow on trees!” Well, the “strawberry” in “strawberry tree” doesn’t refer to the typical garden strawberries that many of us probably picture. A strawberry tree refers to a type of tree with edible fruits that is native to Western Europe and the Mediterranean. The more you know.
In the background of the picture above, you can also see the neon sign for Tío Pepe, a brand of Sherry wine. The sign was put up in 1936 and has stayed in the same spot for most of its existence, though it was removed for a few years when the building it is on needed to be refurbished. Though other signs on Madrid’s rooftops were taken down, this one in particular was given a pardon and allowed to be kept standing.
Remember how I mentioned that Puerta del Sol is full of costumed characters and other street performers trying to make some euros? Well, I noticed Pocoyo walking around and had a mini-freakout. Why was I excited about seeing a character from a show for little kids? Well, my friend from my last job used to help me with my Spanish and she introduced me to Pocoyo. I was game enough to actually sit down and watch some episodes in Spanish and it was pretty dang enjoyable. I HAD to take a picture with this guy so I offered him a euro and he let me take a couple selfies.
Once I got everything that I needed, I headed to Chocolatería San Ginés nearby. The café has been around since 1894 and is known for its chocolate con churros, so it was necessary to make the trip.
I had another embarrassing language slip-up while placing my order at the counter. I was speaking in Spanish to order a coffee with milk, but I ended up asking for “café au lait” instead of a “café con leche”. I’m always getting French and Spanish jumbled up! I don’t even like coffee, but I wanted to at least try it in Spain. Maybe it would be different! Nope.
After paying at the counter, you have to find a place to sit, either inside or outside. Outside seating is much harder to find. Eventually, a waiter will come by to pick up your receipt and return with your order.
The chocolate con churros was…okay. I wanted to like it more, but I guess not everything can be amazing. I’m sure that this treat is actually perfect for some people since neither the chocolate nor the churros are too sweet, but I guess that was what I was missing. I even added some powdered sugar and that helped a little. I would still try it again in the future though to see if my opinion has changed.
I went back to the hostel to work on my final postcard of the trip and ended up seeing Jeffrey at one of the tables there. He was supposed to be gone already since he told us that he was meeting his friends early in the morning, but his friends ended up going somewhere for the day and he needed to wait for them to get back. I asked him if he saw anyone else from our group and he pointed out that Carmen was on the other side of the room talking to some people.
A little bit later, Romina somehow wound up there too and the four of us thought about how weird it is that we just somehow keep magically finding each other. We thought we would all be gone already and here we were, together again at the hostel. We decided to take a better (sober) picture of our group now that we had the chance.
I finished up my postcard and needed to leave for the airport. We all were heading out of the hostel at the same time, so we said our goodbyes, and I was off.
Time to head back to London.