Qype: Brighton Pier in Brighton

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I haven’t reviewed Brighton Pier yet? Right, this needs to be rectified. When I was a kid and we used to come to Brighton on day trips to the seaside, the Palace Pier WAS Brighton to me.

I used to love going to the arcades, getting my little purse containing £2 changed up into 100 two penny pieces, slotting them into those machines where the big metal thing slides back and forth and waiting for the ever-increasing stack of coins to topple in my favour. I seem to remember being fairly good at those. The ghost train was great too, if absolutely terrifying to a seven-year-old.

Then, when I got older, my daredevil friends would go on those horrendous rides that spin you round and dip you over the edge of the pier as I watched on in horror and ate my ice cream along with all the other cowards.

Then, as I got even OLDER, the bars on the pier were a fantastic place to go for a drink before browsing the insanely tacky souvenir shops, making a fool of yourself on the bucking bronco and giving in to the fabulous smell of fish and chips.

Piers are a landmark of every seaside town and Brighton’s is definitely one of the best. Even though I’ve lived here for five years now, it just never gets old.

Check out my review of Brighton Pier – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype


Qype: Museo del Prado in Madrid

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The main entrance of the Museo del Prado

The Museo del Prado is Madrid’s most famous museum, situated along the grand Paseo del Prado. I was incredibly excited about coming here, mainly because I’m a total ex-art student geek and LOVE museums and art galleries. I love the quietness, the silent respect and the feeling of being surrounded by beautiful things that seem impossibly old.

This is far more of an art gallery than a museum though, with sculptures and paintings from all over Europe ranging from a couple of hundred years BC all the way to the 19th century. There’s a statue of Goya outside the museum and a huge collection of his paintings inside which are just phenomenal.

If, however, you aren’t as enthusiastic about soaking up hours on end of culture, the restaurant in here offers excellent value for money. For €15, you can get a perfectly nice three course meal and a bottle of drink. And if you are like me, unshakeably determined to see every single thing contained within the building, then you’ll need a decent lunch break and a strong coffee in the middle of it all.

Check out my review of Museo del Prado – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Jardines de Sabatini in Madrid

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The Jardines de Sabatini

These immaculately kept gardens are set just below the North Facade of the Palacio Real, which meant we wandered through them into Old Madrid on every day of our holiday.

The sweeping pathways, delicate fountains, rows of statues and impeccably maintained hedges make this public garden a beautiful space either to sit down in with something to read, or to wander through hand in hand while you gaze up at the majesty of the Palace.

The feel of Royal Madrid just resonates through this place – oh, and it’s a great place for a photo opportunity.

Don't you just love how neat the hedges are?

Check out my review of Jardines de Sabatini – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Museo Palacio Real de Madrid in Madrid

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Palacio Real de Madrid from the Jardines de Sabatini

Seeing as we had a view of the Palacio Real from our hotel room down the road on the Paseo del Florida, it was one of the first places we headed to when we landed in Madrid. This stunning palace, built during the mid-1700s, is the official residence of the King of Spain and is the place where all the official ceremonies and engagements take place. The neo-classical-style architecture, all huge columns and grand gates, is absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately, due mainly to bad timing on our part, we weren’t able to actually get inside because of either ceremonial national events or because the queue was so damn long we’d have wasted half the day standing in it. On a four-day city break, that just wasn’t something we were prepared to do.

Still, standing on the Plaza de Oriente, we got to witness the commemoration of the execution of the defenders of Madrid in 1808 (where every type of Spanish guard, police officer and soldier paraded in full costume) and a ceremonial changing of the guards. It was all the royal pomp and ceremony we could have wished for.

Unfortunately, due to our non-existent grasp of Spanish we hadn’t the slightest idea what was going on at the time, but it was impressive nonetheless!

Check out my review of Museo Palacio Real de Madrid – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Plaza Mayor in Madrid

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Plaza Mayor

The Plaza Mayor is a famous tourist hotspot in central Madrid, a beautiful city square lined with tiny little tourist shops and tapas bars.

A picturesque spot with a Convent Garden-type feel, this is the best place in Old Madrid to kick back with a glass of wine in the sunshine and listen to the buskers, watch the mime artists and laugh at people pretending to be statues or weird goat-men dressed as pom-poms… maybe that last one was just us.

Even if it’s a grotty day and there’s nothing so exciting happening, it’s worth wandering around here just to appreciate the incredible architecture of Juan Gómez de Mora, dating back to 1790.

Oh, and apparently (according to Wikipedia): “If you look around today you can still see the blood on the walls from some of the bull fights held in earlier years.” Lovely.

Check out my review of Plaza Mayor – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Plaza Mayor