Madrid, Spain : September 2017
Another day, another Barrio; Saturday, and this time Centro and the Mercado de San Miguel. I have no real words to describe the food on offer at this market, (Think Neighbourgoods Market, multiply by a gazillion and add a few more zeros) needless to say we were like kids in a candy store, walking around the entire market before choosing our lunch. The atmosphere is electric, it’s busy and noisy and yet you never feel ‘get me out of here!’ Madrileños can talk, and loudly, but it’s lovely and Mediterranean.
Priorities right, we first found Vermut Rioja ( made from red rioja ) and a lovely sweet sidre (cider) for Chris, comes with delicious olives of course. Our plan had been to have coffee first but pah!nobody drinks coffee after 10am, it straight onto sidre, sangria, cava, cerveza or Vermut! I like this place.
We then gently elbowed our way into the queue for seafood tapas especially bacalao (dried salted cod, which is reconstituted and used in a myriad of ways; a Spanish & Portuguese favorite). Six different tapa from here and a few more at the Mozzarella bar, all things burratta and fresh mozzarella mmmm. A little Cava to help that down.
Pics below of the food we ate, we wish we had space for more.
Now for some culture; we had seen an M C Escher exhibition being advertised , and as both of us are fascinated and love his work we decided to visit the exhibition which is housed in a lovely old mansion. Most recently has done duty as a night club. Very art decor and beautiful, although a little tired at the edges. The exhibit was well done and really informative and interactive. We took some pics to remind those of you who don’t know who Escher is!
A little retail therapy ( just looking for now), the crowds of people on the streets and in the stores is breathtaking. The holding company of Zara, Bershka etc (Inditex) have recently started a new cheaper chain called Lefties, so of courseI had to indulge myself and drag Chris around for a good look. (As long as there are a lot of good looking Spanish girls shopping and serving Chris seems to be quite happy), next door we found a FIVE story Primark, had to take a peek in there as well. Back to the apartment for a siesta. Don’t you love this life? # secondlife.
Saturday evening and we are off to another barrio; Malasaña . It’s a very hipster neighborhood, lots of on trend boutiques and uber trendy clubs. We start the evening in the…….Mercado de San Ildefonso, very hip (Chris probably the only one without a full beard) very trendy space with beautiful terraces to enjoy the food and drinks acquired from one of the many food stalls. ( Food from all over the world, whereas the other markets tended to concentrate on Spanish style food. We had a cerveza and a Vermut of course. We weren’t very hungry having pigged out at lunch ( oh and I forgot to mention the fresh baguette with brie, jamon and pate snack we made for ourselves just before siesta) ok so we weren’t that hungry, but we felt that another snack would be in order just in case we got hungry before bedtime.
This area is very vibey and we walked around people watching and exploring the different bars. We made our way into Chueca, the gay friendly charming barrio and eventually settled on a place to eat a snack.
By the time we were coming home the clubs were just opening the doors, but we felt a little old to even attempt them. I loved the names of some of the cool clubs, the unlikely sounding ‘Tupperware’! being my favorite.
Back home, exhausted, for a good sleep.
Sunday morning was not an early one, but we messed around for a bit and eventually got moving. [‘Messed around a bit’ = catching up with FB, Twitter, e-mails etc ;-( ]
We could not stop for coffee as we might have to eat churros, so straight to Lavapies, (yet another barrio, Chris thinks I’m barrio obsessed) This is a very diverse area with people from all over Spain as well as from around the world. with. Of course first stop the Mercado San Fernando, but better known as Mercado Lavapies. It’s the most ‘authentic’ market of the 3 we have visited and it has none of those trendy hipster kind of food stalls. This is genuine Spanish cooking. The noise level is wild, and it’s full of families with kids( no screaming) and couple and groups of friends out for a Sunday social get together. Again we take ages to choose the right stall and when we do we almost regret it as it’s takes asking someone 3 x before we get our drinks. The food we ordered is not like food I know Chris would normally order but for me it was like going back to my grandfathers kitchen. Roast potatoes cut and seasoned with herbs, olive oil and vinegar and sliced of roast pork with mustard and olive oil dressing. The pics below cannot do justice to the taste and we are the entire plate and licked the juices. Probably so far our best meal! Price wise it was €31 so not the cheapest meal but if you see the portion size then you will see we are just gluttons. This market is a must see with old traditional Spanish stalls that look like they have been serving food for decades and just a lovely atmosphere.
You mistake this blog for a food blog, but no we did move onto some culture. We decided to walk to the Museo del Prada. This is probably the most visited tourist spot in Madrid and even Spain. A fairly long walk let me tell you and mostly uphill( did you know Madrid had so many hills?) but we needed to walk off that food as punishment for eating too much.
Adding to our walk was the fact that Sunday 10th September was also final day of the cycle race La Vuelta. The final big cycle tour of the European circuit. This meant we had to walk the long way around to the art gallery.
Museo del Prado was definitely worth the visit. We saw Raphael, Bosch, Tintoretto, Rubens, Goya, Caravaggio and many more. This was barely scratching the surface, if one can handle it you could easily spend two full days in the various areas.They have an audio guide for just €12 and it’s good. We spent a couple of hours admiring and learning but a museum like this needs more time. We were happy, full and very very tired. Time for a drink, but first the long walk up to the centro and after a quick drink the metro home. The metro and transport system is absolutely seamless in Madrid. We bought a 5 day ticket for around €25 and it’s been a bargain.
Monday we leave for Logrono, the capital of the famous Spanish wine area,Rioja. We decided to stay in and do some admin, but not before the churrería caught us on the way home. What’s for dinner churros and chocolate, I know; gluttons !
If you haven’t read Madrid part 1, click here