Canvas-Worthy Europe, 2014 edition

Last Wednesday I shared my round-up of my favorite photos taken in Paris in 2014. Now it’s time to see the year in review through a collection of my canvas-worthy contenders from our European travels outside of Paris. Here’s where I traveled to during the year!

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Madrid on a Budget

Or how I saved € 50  in a day for two adults.

Traveling can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to save money with a little planning. My recent trip to Madrid spanned five days but due to New Year's many sights had abbreviated hours or were closed for the holiday. Shortened hours were not going to stop me from seeing the sights though. I enacted a carefully concocted plan of whirlwind sightseeing on a Sunday to maximize what I could see free of charge.

This itinerary is for a Sunday in Madrid, but I've included tips on how to avoid entry fees for sights on other days as well. Michael and I enjoy walking everywhere so the only costs on this day were for food. Factor in a subway ride or two if you don't like walking as much as we do.

The Plan:

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Simply Sara Eats: In Madrid

In the "Simply Sara Eats " series, I recount the my favorite food and drink discoveries .

I spent the last few nights of 2013 in Madrid, Spain. Here are my favorite places to go for a bite or drink in Spain's capital. 

1. Mercado de San Miguel

Our first destination once arriving in Madrid was to the Mercado de San Miguel. We were tired after waking up at 4am to catch our flight, and hungry. This market promised lots of food options. I know now that on a Saturday afternoon, it also promised huge crowds.

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New Year's Flamenco Show in Madrid

Hands clapping, feet stomping, castanets chattering. Add a song that erupts straight from the gut. Those sounds are what I will forever associate with Madrid, flamenco, and my last night of 2013. 

I found myself in Madrid at the close of the year. I've historically had pretty low-key New Year's plans and don't like the pressure of having to find mandatory, expensive fun on the last year of the night. So although I didn't feel the need the go all out, I did want to celebrate in a way unique to Spain.

Option one was to gather in Madrid's plaza Puerta del Sol with many others to participate in the New Year's countdown. But not wanting to deal with the crowds (and besides, it wasn't as warm as you might think in Spain), I ruled that out quickly.

As you already guessed, I went with option two: attending a flamenco show.

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The Magic of Madrid

 Bon lundi!

I mentioned in my year-in-review post that I initially had no real desire to go to Spain. Nothing personal - it just didn't appeal to me like other destinations did. But there are some times in life when you need to humbly utter the words, "You were right." I had to on such occasion last year, on my first trip to Spain, after spending maybe half an hour in Barcelona.  Maybe fifteen minutes after dropping the bags at the hotel in Barcelona, I declared that I could see myself living there. And then I turned to my smiling husband and admitted, "You were right."

When Michael suggested a trip to Madrid to ring in 2014, I had no complaints. Madrid offered lots of sightseeing to do by day, and tapas and flamenco to entertain us by night. 

This picture was taken outside of the Royal Palace of Madrid. Do you want some more proof that I was wrong about Spain? The Royal Palace managed to wow me, which has become increasing difficult when comparing all palaces to Château de Versailles. I'll continue to eat my humble pie for now...

Join me this week as I share how I closed out the year in wonderful Madrid!