So let me just start by saying, this was THE most AMAZING trip I’ve EVER been on! If you’re following along on my Instagram, (which hopefully you are by now 😜 ), then you’ve probably heard me say that a good … oh… 1,000,000 times! haha! But really though, it’s something I’ll NEVER forget! And I can’t thank American Tourister enough for choosing me to be their one influencer to represent the U.S.!
But let’s get into what we did and why we were there!!
Why Madrid, Spain?
Wellllllll… You know that REALLY famous soccer player, who plays for Real Madrid? Only the BEST soccer player in the entire world..? You know… #7….?
It’s Cristiano Ronaldo of course!!
Well he is the Global Ambassador for American Tourister !
So American Tourister thought what better way to start off the partnership than with a trip to his city, with some of the top influencers around the world!! And the best part? A VIP tour of the stadium he plays at, followed by an intimate meet and greet!
I remember waking up to an email asking if I was available in May, to fly to Madrid, Spain to meet Cristiano Ronaldo! Like WHAT?!! I just about passed out! haha!
But anyway, now that you know the WHY, let’s get into…
What we did:
We had a pretty busy schedule once all of the influencers were set to arrive, so luckily since I was traveling so far (14 hours to be exact 😜), they let me fly in a day early to have a little free time and get adjusted to the time difference (if you’re wondering, it’s 9 hours!).
Normally I don’t get jet lagged, but maaaannnn… I wasn’t able to fall asleep until like 3-4am each night and once I came back to California, I was out by like 7pm haha! Like I literally COULD NOT keep my eyes open!! Has this ever happened to you??! I was only in Spain for 6 days!! I didn’t realize how much it would affect me! lol!
But back to the trip! With the travel time and time difference, I left Cali on Friday night and arrived in Spain on Saturday night. Right when I landed, I was greeted by a driver holding an American Tourister sign (SO cool 😱) haha!
DeAndre has had someone pick him up from the airport, holding a sign with his name on it before and I always thought that was SO COOL! haha!! Don’t ask why (maybe I’m weird?) haha, but that was definitely a small check off my bucket list 😂.
It was another 30 minute drive from the airport to the hotel, so once we got there it was around 9pm and I was so ready to relax!!
We stayed at the Barcélo Torre de Madrid and it was BEAUTIFUL!! It was in a prime location and within walking distance of everything! I mean… five minutes to Gran Vía?! Can’t get much better than that! And if you don’t know what the Gran Vía is, stay tuned, because I have a guide of all the must see places in Madrid as you continue reading!
So fast forward to the next day. I woke up just in time for the tail-end of breakfast (still super sleepy), but 1. I wanted these famous Madrid churros everyone had been talking about. And I heard they were at breakfast! And 2. I knew it was the only real day of free time, before our influencer dinner at 8pm that night.
So I grabbed some breakfast (churros included) and started fueling up for the day! Oh and for those of you thinking churros aren’t “breakfast”…. shame on you!!! jk!.. kinda!! 😝 No but really, churros are a traditional breakfast item in Spain!! That’s my kind of country if you ask me!!! LOL. Please tell me I’m not the only churro addict here?!.. Anyone? .. Don’t be shy!
So after scarfing down 80 churros, some yogurt and some banana juice (sounds weird, but it’s actually LIFE), I grabbed my backpack and headed toward the elevator to start my day!
…Did anyone catch that? That wasn’t an error. haha! 80 churros straight to the face!..
Fine.. maybe like 5, but same difference right?! 😜
So once I finished up with breakfast, the initial plan was to just go down the street to see the Templo De Debod, which was a five-minute walk at most, and then maybe sit outside for a little and then grab some lunch somewhere until I had to get ready for dinner.
I wasn’t planning on exploring much, mainly because I was alone in a foreign country… But I was just so blown away by the temple that I pulled up my maps app and searched for the next thing I wanted to see..
To my surprise it was only a mile away… So I thought why not?!
After witnessing that beautiful place in person I searched the next stop that I had saved from all the Madrid guides!
Only 1.6 miles…? Sure! That’s not that far right…?
Well.. Fast forward 4.5 hours!
I kid you not!!! I’m laughing as I’m writing this, because I can’t believe a five-minute walk turned into 4.5 hours… But I honestly just got lost in the beauty of it all! I ended up going on a 7 mile adventure all by myself, through the city of Madrid!!! 😂
I’m SO SO SO glad I did though! Like I said, we didn’t have much time in between events and lunches/dinners, so had I not gone that day, I wouldn’t have seen any of it!
….Actually that’s a lie! We went on a tour on our last day and we saw two out of the 10+ things I saw on my adventure alone, but on the tour, we were in a bus and just drove past! So my 7 mile walk allowed me to truly enjoy it, not rush and experience it up close and personal!
As mentioned, you’ll get to see all the places I went below, in the sight-seeing portion of this post! But for now I’m going to take you through the rest of our days in Madrid!
So after getting home from the 7 mile walk, I soaked my feet, got in the shower and got ready for the influencer dinner!
We all met in the lobby around 8pm and before we knew it, we were pulling up to a beautiful restaurant for the welcome dinner. It was great getting to know so many different people from around the world and I made two great friends, that I would later hang out with the entire remainder of the trip! Sendi and Kristian! They were a couple from Sweden and were SO SO sweet! Oh and did I mention how freakin AMAZING Sendi’s IG page is!!? For allll the travel and fashion inspo you could ever need, check out her page here!
The night was filled with laughter, tapas, wine and culture! A great way to start the trip!
The following morning we had an early wake up call for a fun-filled day! So we grabbed breakfast, then headed for the buses!
First stop, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium!!!
We had a VIP tour and it was SO COOL!!!! A private tour guide led us through all the trophy and memorabilia rooms, the locker rooms, the concession stand areas (the food is way different from that of an American football stadium!) etc and even took us out onto the field!
Can we just take a moment to look at these seats!!! 😱 These guys get plush, leather Audi seats!! It’s so crazy how different it is from American Football! In the NFL, there are a few metal benches for the guys and there’s definitely not enough benches for everyone who’s out of the game to sit at once! Real Madrid knows how to treat their guys!!!
But the last room they led us to was the most memorable out of the whole tour!!!
It was another locker room, but when we walked in, we saw the entire room was lined with Real Madrid jerseys on the benches!!….
We didn’t think anything of it!.. Or at least me and my friend didn’t. We just thought it was out for display like everything else…
But we soon realized they were jerseys with OUR names on the back of them!!! Official Real Madrid jersey’s with OUR names on them, given to US, from the REAL MADRID TEAM, at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium!!! It seriously doesn’t get much cooler than that!!!
And after realizing they were ours to keep, we put them on…
And then the REAL FUN BEGAN!
The Real Madrid staff pulled out a white board and said they had a challenge for us! They pointed to three places on the white board, which had a field layout on it and told us we were to kick from one of those three places for a prize!!!!
The below photo shows exactly HOW FAR the shot was!
And you guys… I am NO soccer player!!! 😂 The idea of kicking a goal on a professional soccer field… Better yet, one of the most famous soccer fields in the world, in front of fans, had me so scared!!! haha!!
But I did it!!
My little sister is a DIE HARD Ronaldo fan and when she found out I was going to Madrid to meet him, she was SO excited! She LOVES soccer and plays indoor and outdoor, so I wanted to make her proud!! I also knew I’d earn some ‘cool, big sister’ points if I sent her a pic of me kicking a goal on the Real Madrid field! LOL!
I’m not even kidding you guys, this past Christmas, among other things such as a PS4 and Nike and Adidas clothes, my little sister had “DeAndre’s jersey”, “Cristiano’s jersey” and “Tickets to see a Real Madrid game” on her list!… She dreams big clearly! 😂
So best believe I sent my mom the picture and video of me kicking the goal so my little sister could see! haha! … I definitely earned those cool points!!! 😉
I think the funniest part about kicking the goal was the fact that they announced our names on the microphone as we ran out on the field from the locker room! They wanted us to get a feel like we were real soccer players!!!! 😂
Here I am laughing as I type this again… But it was just so funny! Me and two of the girls were so embarrassed and nervous haha but it was seriously one of the COOLEST experiences of my life!!!!
After everyone kicked their goal, we were then taken to another part of the field for a private cocktail party with tapas. Tapas are life in Spain! They have them EVERYWHERE!
So we spent some time there, just snacking and enjoying each others company.
But an hour later we said our goodbyes, took one last look at the beautiful stadium and made our way back to the bus.
The Big Moment!
Twenty or so minutes later, we arrived at our next stop. The last stop of the day! The event that everyone had been waiting for!
The meet and greet with Cristiano Ronaldo!
We walked into the hotel where the meet and greet would take place and were led into a room filled with more food, drinks, camera crews, balloons and the latest American Tourister Curio’s of course!
We had some time before Ronaldo was ready, so we talked, ate some more and got interviewed one by one about our trip so far!
An hour or so later, we were guided to another room nearby for the actual meet and greet! Before going to Spain we were asked to bring Ronaldo a gift that represented our country and I thought what better gift to represent the U.S., than an American football jersey, with his name and number on it! I had DeAndre and a few of his teammates sign the back and thought it was a fun play on football vs football (because soccer is also called football)!
And there it was, right there smack dab in the middle!! 😃
Each chair had a name card on it and my seat was right there, in the front row to the left! I was a good 3 feet from where Ronaldo would be sitting!!! You can see just how far away he was in a photo below!
Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures when he was in the room, but I got some before he came in and was lucky enough to get a picture after, with him! And I also found two photos from the meet and greet, from American Tourister’s IG account. So hopefully you guys can get an idea of what it was like!
But before he came in, we went around and got to describe our gifts and how they represented our countries!
It was such a surreal moment and he was such a kind guy! American Tourister did a FANTASTIC job picking him as the Global Ambassador!!
And immediately following the meet and greet, there was a reception with foods from all over the world, desserts and drinks!
After such an eventful day, we got home from the reception around 11pm and I went straight to bed (after facetiming D of course), to get ready for the next days activities!
Per usual, we grabbed breakfast and then met down in the lobby for a VIP tour of the city on our last full day in Madrid! First stop… The museum! We weren’t allowed to take pictures there either, but I highly recommend going!
After the museum, we walked through the city and Plaza Mayor, where we eventually stopped for some meat, cheese and bread at a local shop! It was SO delicious!! It tasted so fresh and I made sure to bring back some for DeAndre to try!
(The oldest door in the world)
Before we knew it, the tour was over and we were back at the hotel! Many people had flights back home that night, but mine wasn’t until the following morning!
So naturally, I went shopping!!
Me and two of my new friends from Indonesia made our way to Gran Vía and picked up some last-minute gifts for friends and family and I also grabbed a few keepsakes for myself too! I knew I was going to bring back more, but I had no idea it would be THAT much!! haha!
It was the best way to end the trip!
I got back to the hotel later around 8pm, packed up my yellow Curio’s and watched some tv before turning in early for my 9am flight the following day!
It was a trip to remember and if you’re planning a trip to Madrid, Spain, I’ve got you covered with all the spots to visit!
So let’s get into the sight-seeing portion of this post!
Parque del Retiro
This has to be one of my favorite places in Madrid! I kid you not you guys, while there is truly beauty on every corner in Madrid, I was especially blown away while walking through this MASSIVE park! There is so much to see, including lakes, architecture, nature etc and tons of secret places to grab a bite or better yet an ice cream cone during the warm summer days!
Palacio de Cristal
This is actually in Parque del Retiro, but the park is SO big that you very well could miss it! And you DEFINITELY don’t want to miss seeing this beautiful palace! It’s made of all crystal and is truly, truly a vision!!!
Plaza Mayor is a central plaza in Madrid with tons of history and we happened to go during San Isidro so there were TONS of people eating, dancing, singing and celebrating! It was a wonderful sight to see!!
Boy oh boy! If you know me, you know I LOVEEEEE to shop! And you also know I have to shop on every trip I go on! I meannnn… Every city, state and country has something different to offer right? 😉 So if you’re like me and like to shop, then you’ll DEFINITELY want to take a stroll along the Gran Vía! But you can also find restaurants, gelato cafe’s, broadway musicals and more too! So either way, you HAVE to stop by Gran Vía!
Palacio de Cibeles
I think I was MOST excited to see this because I saw pictures all over the internet and it looked absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! But unfortunately when I got there, they were renovating it 🙁 So they had this tarp with a photo of it draped over it, that way you can get an idea of what it looks like. You guys have no idea how devastated I was! haha!! Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make a trip back to Madrid 😉
Templo de Debod
This was actually my first stop on my adventure and it did NOT disappoint! The Templo de Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid, Spain. I don’t know about you guys, but Egypt has always been on my bucket list so seeing this was extra special!
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Real Madrid is the BEST of the BEST and such a huge piece of Madrid, so a stop by the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is necessary! You can take a tour of the entire stadium, like we did. Or even catch a game! Either way, it makes for an exciting day!
Palacio Real de Madrid
Okay sooooo… I may have shed a tear or two when I saw this royal palace! It’s so magical and I walked up as a guy was playing a harp right outside the palace doors. It was just such a moment! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the man was playing a harp, kids were dancing and laughing, and there was this beautiful palace in the background. You can see from the photos below that I was clearly living my best life 😉
Museo Nacional Del Prado
Unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures in the museum, but if you’re in Madrid, you HAVE to go here! I’m not a huge museum goer, rather, I’ve probably only been to like 4-5 in my lifetime, but I could have stayed in this museum FOREVER!! They have some of the world’s most famous paintings and it’s definitely worth your time to stop by!
There’s truly beauty on every corner though, so if you can, I recommend just getting out there and exploring! Have a starting plan with certain places you might want to see, but venture off! Take that random street that leads to an unknown, beautiful building! Go into that crowded, colorful cafe! Try the delicious, mouth-watering pastries! Walk a mile or two, or seven!! You never know when you might just run into a parade! 😉
After all… You’ll only regret the things you didn’t try!
So there you have it!! My full recap on my trip to Madrid, Spain with American Tourister!! I will cherish these memories forever, and thanks to my cute, yellow, American Tourister Curio’s, I was able to bring back more!!
And feel free to ask away if you’re planning a trip to Madrid!!! I’d love to help make your experience as special and memorable as mine!!
Also, stay tuned for the remaining adventures I had last month! I’ll be posting my trips to LA soon and if you haven’t already, check out our trip to Orlando, Florida here!
Oh! Oh! And if you have any recs for Scottsdale, AZ, I’d LOVE to hear them!!! I’m heading there on Sunday and it’s my first time!! 😱
As always, thanks for reading!!! And cheers to an AMAZING trip!