Saturday, May 9, 2009

Madrid on Holiday

Rachel and I spent three lovely days in Madrid. One quite unintentionally, but it was lovely all the same. We arrived to blissful 70 degree weather. I wore sundresses, short-sleeves and tank tops the entire time. I still needed to carry my jacket in the evening, but I was quite determined to get the most out of the over 65 degree temperatures.

To begin our Madrid trip we had lunch in the essential Plaza Mayor. Luckily we were there on a Wednesday so it wasn't quite as full of tourists as it would be on a weekend. We were able to enjoy our lunch of jamon y queso con cervezas in the not-at-all touristy Museo de Jamon. I'm sure it was quite the slice of an average MadrileƱo's day. We headed for our next adventure where I'd be required to use more of my extremely rusty Spanish than "cerveza, por favor". We went to Casa Hernandez to purchase some traditional espadrilles. It was so much fun. And my Spanish got us two pair of shoes (barely, but we have them). We spent the rest of the day enjoying the sunshine and then decided to take a little siesta before our flamenco show.

I really enjoyed our ore-show dinner and a nice bottle of rioja on the Plaza de Oriente. There was a superb sunset and really great people watching. Rachel had been excited about the flamenco show from the first day of planning our Spanish holiday. The show was at Corral de la Moreria, on the list from "1000 Places to See Before You Die." Check out the video.

Our second day, we hit more of the sites...Museo del Prado, Palacio Real, Las Ventas (Madrid's Plaza de Toros). And we did some shopping as well on Calle de Serrano. Another full and tiring day. For lunch that day we had probably the best food I've had since being in Europe at Biotza, a tapas restaurant near Calle de Serrano. The asparagus was to die for. Food was probably my favorite thing about Spain. That and the price of the drinks. Maybe we've just been in expensive Dublin too long. *Sigh* I miss the food and wine already...

Our third day was a travel day. We intended on meeting Richard in Malaga after spending a day on the beach. When we arrived at the Madrid train station we found that the holiday (Spain's labor day) had caused an incredible run on train tickets. While they had been available the evening before, there were no trains until 4:30pm. I suppose we were lucky to get on any train, but that meant that we had to return to our hotel, check our luggage and grieve for our lost beach day. Instead we spent the day in the sun at El Retiro, Madrid's beautiful city park. We had some ice cream and convinced ourselves it was probably raining at the beach. We got there eventually and hey, who can complain about an extra day in Madrid?

Adios Madrid! Next up, monkeys!

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