My 1999 Eurotrip Adventure Madrid!


Purchase this ad from $30 USD / week

Purchase Ads
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Dive into a spontaneous European adventure that begins with an unplanned landing in Madrid. Join me as I navigate through the vibrant streets, discover hidden gems, and embrace the unexpected at every turn. From encountering fellow travelers to stumbling upon a bullfight, each moment is a lesson in the beauty of going with the flow. This journey isn't just about the places; it's about the transformative experiences that redefine one's perspective on travel, budgeting, and the richness of cultural diversity.


Traveling without a plan isn't just about the places you visit; it's a journey of personal growth, unexpected friendships, and learning to embrace life's surprises.


My European Adventure Begins!

Have you ever stepped onto a plane, not just leaving behind your country, but all your meticulously laid plans too? That was me, soaring towards Europe with nothing but an open itinerary and a backpack, ready to embrace the unexpected.

Plane landing

The power outage? Just a hiccup, an unexpected pause that only heightened the anticipation that danced within me, and a foreshadowing of other ‘hiccups’ that would test my spirit during this summer adventure.

As my plane touched down, signaling the start of my unplanned European adventure, I couldn’t help but wonder: What surprises would Madrid hold for a traveler without a map or a plan?

And so, my European journey began, not with a meticulous plan, but with an embrace of the unexpected, a willing surrender to the unknown. I didn’t realize it then, but each step taken as I exited the plane was a step towards an experience that would redefine not just my summer, but the very fabric of my future self.

Craig with backpack ready to start first Eurotrip


Since I hadn’t planned on flying into Madrid, I didn’t have a plan for when I landed. Luckily I met 2 other guys at the airport also staying in Madrid for two days. One was an American named Kevin, who was planning to travel around Europe teaching English. The other was a guy from Brazil, named Dennis who was in Spain for a conference for his job. Together we decided to find a place to stay and split the cost to save money.

We found a place called Hostal Pretoria, a small guesthouse or small 2-star hotel just off the Puerta del Sol. It was $18 US per night each, for a 3-bed private room. I thought this was excellent and assumed all places were going to be this cheap and this wonderful. I would end up being half right.

While Dennis had his conference to immediately attend to, Kevin and I headed out to explore Madrid. We didn’t have a plan, so we just wandered the city streets. Our spontaneous itinerary included:

  • Strolling through the lush greenery of Retiro Park
  • Gazing at the grandeur of the Prado Museum
  • Marveling at the majestic Palacio Real and the Almudena Cathedral
  • Enjoying our first European beers at a cozy local bar"

Cybele Palace, Madrid Spain

Afterwards we popped into a small bar for our first beers in Europe! Then we split up for the rest of the day and I continued to explore the city on my own. I stumbled upon Atletico madrid’s stadium, got lost in a local neighborhood, and made my way, unknowingly, to Las Ventas Bullring.

As I walked up to the front of the bullring, I saw that they were actually admitting fans inside for a bull fight! I was super excited that I had stumbled upon this opportunity and ran to the ticket gate to purchase entry. Sadly, the cost of the ticket was outside my daily budget, and as much as I wanted to see a bullfight, I had to make the hard (and regrettable) decision NOT to buy the ticket.

I knew I’d have to make choices on what to spend money on, but I didn’t think I’d have to make such difficult sacrifices so soon on the trip. To this day, this skipping that bullfight is one of my biggest European travel regrets. It took hindsight to learn a hard lesson: sometimes the cost of an experience is worth it even when you are on a strict budget if that experience is high on your bucket list.

Las Ventas Bullring

The next day we explored the city as a threesome, starting at the Prado Museum. Visiting the Prado Museum in Madrid was an unforgettable experience. I’d never been to an art museum before, let alone one with such old and priceless works. The vast collection of European art, especially masterpieces by Goya, Velázquez, and El Greco, was absolutely breathtaking. I was also amazed by the grandeur of the building itself. The Prado was my first impression of Europe’s museums and art galleries and it was an impressive introduction.

As night rolled around, we ended up in Plaza Mayor, not far from our guesthouse. We were surprised to see a Celtic music festival and a full square of music fans. We made our way through the crowd, found a place to grab a beer, and sat listening to the music late into the night. Kevin and i were off to Barcelona in the morning, while Dennis was headed to Paris. We had a farewell drink and toasted our new friendship and time in Madrid.

New friends having a beer in madrid

After saying goodbye to Dennis and with the fun tunes from the music festival still in my mind, I quickly went back to our Hostal Pretoria. I got my stuff together, making sure I didn't forget any of the cool things I got in Madrid. Before leaving, I picked up some sandwiches and snacks for our train ride to Barcelona. I remembered how important it was to stay on a budget.

I walked fast to the Madrid Atocha train station, trying to avoid any big lines. When I got there, I saw Kevin was already waiting. He looked amused, probably because he got there before me.

While we were waiting, we talked to some Spanish kids. They were heading to France to teach Spanish to French students, which I thought was pretty interesting. When they found out we were from America, they seemed really excited. We laughed a lot and tried to chat even though we didn't know each other's languages super well. Meeting new people like this would turn out to be one of the best parts of this trip.

When it was time to get on our train, we made our way through the busy station and found our seats. We had 2nd class tickets, so there were no beds, just individual seats. We were with other backpackers and budget travelers, focusing on the money we’d save on accommodations as we tried to get comfy for the night. I used my backpack as a pillow and stared out the window. The sound of the train and other travelers’ quiet talks became the background noise as I fell off to sleep, thinking about what unknown experiences awaited me in Barcelona.

As I drifted to sleep on the train, the rhythmic hum of the tracks beneath me, I reflected on the whirlwind of these first two days. Madrid had surprised and delighted me in ways I could never have imagined. But now, as the Spanish countryside whisked by my window, I couldn't help but feel a spark of excitement for what lay ahead. Barcelona, with its mysterious streets and vibrant culture, awaited me. I wondered, what adventures would this next city unveil?


In 1999, I embarked on an unplanned adventure through Europe, starting with an unexpected landing in Madrid. My journey was marked by spontaneous explorations of the city’s vibrant streets, chance encounters with fellow travelers, and embracing serendipitous experiences. From the cultural richness of the Prado Museum to the lively atmosphere of local festivals, each moment taught me the value of flexibility and open-mindedness in travel. Despite budget constraints leading to missed opportunities, like a bullfight, the trip proved invaluable in lessons about life, travel, and the joy of unexpected adventures.

Have any feedback ?
Find any bugs ?

Thanks for using Eurotripr! If you have any feedback or find any bugs it would be awesome to let me know. I'm a solo maker so be nice πŸ˜€ - I am trying my hardest to make this a tool to help you plan your next trip to Europe.

Feedback or Bug?

Include your email so I can get back to you.

Get weekly travel tips, stories, and itineraries in your inbox.

I will not flood your inbox or spam you.