Madrid, Spain - September 2017
Our Airbnb is just across the river from Barrio La Latina, lots of bus stops and a metro stop, Puerto del Àngel, right close by.
First night out we had our first “disagreement “, I’ve been studying Spanish but am quite shy to talk and I have not had much practice so when I did not know all the words on the menu Chris was disappointed! Google translate helps a little, we quickly learned that the Madrileños eat differently. Food is really about sharing so either you eat tapas or you share larger portions,”raciones”.
We ordered Pimientos Padrón, a big plate of blistered green peppers, a HUGE plate of Gambas ( baby prawns lightly floured and fried), as well as a large plate of potato croquettes none of which we could finish.A little annoying but never mind we have learnt something new and won’t make that mistake again.
We take a walk around the area, loving the fact that at 11 in the evening there is so much activity all around. We peer through the window of a bakery where the old man is making his dough for the morning bread; promising to come back and try some.
Friday morning and a new guilty pleasure. At the end of our street is a Churrería? Yes! A place devoted to churro,we planned to have coffee, ( a cafe con leche and a cortado) but then everyone was having churro with their coffee, so when in Spain do as the ….so we had to order 5 churro . . . and of course the hot chocolate to dip your churro into as you can’t have it dry! It’s was magnificent.
Our plan is to take the ‘Hop on,Hop off’ bus as the best way to do an initial exploration. The cost is €21 each, including map and headsets for commentary ( cheaper to buy on the internet by the way) and you can do both the Historical Route and the Modern Route. We enjoyed but were both disappointed by the lousy commentary; we felt it could be more interesting and we did not come away with any feeling of the city and of it’s Barrios ( neighbourhoods) that Madrid is famous for. We did see the palaces and gardens and some important buildings. ( so important I cannot remember the names)
We got off at the main shopping street, Gran Via and took a stroll down to the Centro, stopping at a million shoe shops( I’m obsessed with buying new sneakers)
Chris: She’s right on both counts.
and just marveling at the sheer number of people out and about. When it was time for a drink it was of course, Parsleys Pursuit of the perfect drinking spot, this usually results in us sitting down at at least one place and then getting up and moving on. I had the biggest Sangria and Chris a cerveza (beer) and, brilliantly, all drinks come with a snack. From crisps or olives to tortillas and empanadas,you get something.
Another thing we discovered is that often one gets charged according to where you sit; so at the bar standing up is cheapest , inside seated more expensive and then outside on the terrace ( let’s be honest, the pavement) the most expensive.
Up for a bit of culture the next stop was the Reina Sofia museum, where the famous Guernica by Picasso is housed. Now I believe it’s a lovely museum , but I was tired and it’s only free after 7pm and we really just couldn’t manage, click the link to see more about it.
Aaaah! Siesta time.
That evening we hit the La Latina barrio for dinner. Our best about Spain is the eating dinner at 9pm onwards.Seriously, you can actually eat all day with many people sitting at 5/6pm for drinks and snacks only to have dinner after 9!
La Latina is traditional Madrid with winding streets and tapas bars one after another.
Chris had to stop and gaze into every tapas bar in the street before we could start .( A little like looking at sneakers 😉)
Our first stop was a place called La Concha where we saw people drinking something dark from martini glasses. Home made Vermut. Delicious, and a house speciality. This arrives with a tasty little prawn skewer, we also order 2 tapas; smoked sardines and smoked duck breast with orange segments. Tasty? You bet!!
As we paid the bill we got a complimentary tapas dessert, strawberry with fresh cream. Heaven is a place called Madrid.
‘Tapear’ means going from one Tapas Bar to the next, ordering a couple of tapas with a drink, and then just relax, enjoy and people watch,after you have eaten, you just keep on chatting, this would be known in South Africa as ” kuiering”, in Madrid it is called “Sobremesa”.
Not sure what time we got home but believe me people were still arriving to eat and it was busy.
We did have an ice cream (helado) but it was not that good and funnily enough the ice creams are quite expensive. Already I can sense no ice creams allowed on the Boodget…..speaking of the Boodget, it has not been mentioned once this weekend as I think the prices in Spain are really good. Not cheap, cheap as it’s a big city, but certainly worlds away from Austria.