10 Days. 5 continents. Day 7

Join my camera and I as we explore what the greatest degree on Earth might look like. I’m meeting brilliant minds, going behind-the-scenes at some of the world’s coolest brands and discovering some amazing places to study. Day 7 was in Madrid, Spain.

Nuno came to meet us at our hotel at 9am and we made our way to the bigger EU campus. Nuno is the Business Development Director for the Escuela Universitaria Real Madrid (or as we know it, Real Madrid Graduate School) at Universidad Europea.

Nuno explained that the university had two campuses: the one we were seeing today was called Villaviciosa Campus and it is the larger and older campus with many courses offered including physical sciences, physiotherapy, football management and business. It features the gymnasium, football fields, basketball fields and tennis courts.

The campus which we will visit tomorrow is called Alcobendas Campus and it includes the Real Madrid Graduate School HQ and social sciences. It is more focused on academic courses including sports management, marketing, sports law and communications.

We wandered around the enormous campus and enjoyed the stunning gardens, lake and fish pond on site. The gardens were very well maintained, and some of the plants had a QR code attached so you could learn more about the plants around campus.

There is a really lovely outdoor hall of fame featuring those celebrities and national leaders who have visited the campus, supported campus initiatives or received honorary doctorates from EU for their contribution to the industry and to the country.

Those with an honorary doctorate include: Rafael Nadal, The King of Spain, Placido Domingo, Nelson Mandela, Enrique Iglesias. In fact, according to Nuno, Placido Domingo’s grandson currently studies sports management.

We wandered past the tennis courts and saw some people playing a sport called Paddle. Paddle is very popular in Spain and has become even more popular than tennis. Nuno explained that it an easier version of tennis and squash combined. The user has a large paddle (kind of like a short stumpy tennis racquet but it’s solid and has holes in it). The players hit the ball over the net similar to tennis, but they can also use the walls to bounce the ball back to their opponent, like squash. Spain’s president is a big fan and made it famous when he was photographed playing it a few years ago.

The campus has many great facilities including a bank, travel agency, and a shop called FNAC where students can buy music, stationery, concert tickets and games. I was really excited to see they had some great recycling facilities on campus, including a drop-off point for batteries, CDs, mobile phones and printer cartridges. It’s a shame we saw the campus while it was empty, but being a Sunday this was our only chance to check it out. Tomorrow we will see the other campus in action.

After our campus tour, Nuno dropped us off in the city and we started our tour of the city. Starting at the Plaza de Cibeles a beautiful old white palace in the middle of Madrid which is now their town hall and host to many concerts and exhibitions. Out the front is a fountain where all the flags were at half mast.

We wandered down the street to the Prado Museum, which hosts the largest collection of European art in the whole world.

A friend had recommended that we try to have lunch at the oldest restaurant in the world. We were in luck! They had a reservation available for us at 1pm. So we made our way there on foot (cabs take longer than feet in this city!). We had worked up an appetite and decided we should try the restaurant’s famous suckling pig. Restaurante Botin was built in 1725 and has been awarded the “earliest restaurant in the world” by the Guinness Book of Records. I was then taken upstairs where we enjoyed the surroundings of old tiles, antique furniture and old artworks. It was fascinating to see such an old structure be so sturdy and so practical to today’s bustling restaurant. We had a laugh at the menu where every dish in the vegetable section came with ham. Clearly pork products are their niche (I don’t recommend any vegans make it to this location!). To make our stay a truly local experience we also ordered a pitcher of sangria. The waiter would come to a spot near our table and serve the suckling pig from the middle of the restaurant. Both the meal and the sangria were delicious!

We made our way to El Rastro, a bustling flea market where buskers played funky beats and colourful market stalls were making a small fortune. We wished we had more time to explore and spend a few Euros, but we had a sunset to catch so we kept moving.

We researched a couple of rooftop bars and found one that was not too busy and had great views of the city. The Tartan Roof is located above a theatre called Azotea Del Circulo. The view spans the entire city and I was able to set up the camera on time lapse to get some footage of the city skyline changing over time.

Our first day in Madrid was awesome. I love this city. We saw some great things and had a really valuable morning with Nuno. We are really excited to spend tomorrow at the stadium and the other EU campus. For more pics of my search for the greatest degree on earth, follow me on Facebook and Instagram.