#Madrellenos… This is the how the people of Madrid refer to themselves. Madrid is a landlocked city in the middle of Spain. It is made up of many Barrios , each with their own offerings of culture, food & entertainment.
We arrived at our beautiful apartment at 26 Calle Atocha to drop off our bags after a long night of travel across the Atlantic. An apartment is a great idea for a large group of guests traveling together and can be found by a number of sites. We used www.Homeaway.com to rent this apartment. It was a large 4 bedroom 3 1/2 baths in a great location near Plaza Santa Ana and the Puerto del Sol in the downtown area.
Maps are very helpful.. Also helpful is a person who can successfully read a map! We were starving after the long flight and started out wandering towards the Puerto del Sol looking for our first of many delicious Spanish meals. We wandered way out of the main plazas and you found our first authentic Spanish meal. There is Jamon (Spanish ham and chorizo) on every menu as well as omeletes which are very satisfying after our long night.
Wander EVERYWHERE! There is so much to see and do in a vibrant city such as Madrid as well as plenty of shopping. Zappatos and Bolsas (shoes and bags) are in abundance in Madrid and with the Euro being weak it was a good time for a great deal.
Le fork www.thefork.com is the Open Table for Europe. You can establish a free account and book your reservations ahead of time as tables fill up all over Madrid. Be prepared to eat between 9pm and midnight on any given night as the sun does not set until 9pm.
Make sure you visit Retiro Park on a pleasant day. Wander into the center of the park and you will find the large lake to rent boats. I highly recommend doing this as it is a fun way to work off the Sangria and chorizo you will consume while visiting Madrid. You buy tickets at the boathouse and since your ticket is the paper receipt hold on to it to give to the people on the dock.
We took a beautiful walk to the famous Prado Museum www.museodelprado.es/en and is next to the gardines de jardin. Get there early to buy tickets as the line forms exactly at 10am when they open. If you plan on visiting the Reina Sophia Museum as well you can purchase a ticket for both at either museum so that you don’t have to wait on line twice. We were given great advice to hire a private tour guide to experience the best exhibits. It was a fabulous idea and very inexpensive , about 60 Euro for 1 hour. We ended up with 1 1/2 hours wit the guide and it made the museum experience very enjoyable and informative. You can find the guides right in the main entrance after you get your tickets.
A selection from the 300 works by Pablo Picasso as well as Van Gogh housed at the Kunstmuseum Basel is on view at the Reina Sophia museum in Madrid, from 18 March to 13 September, 2015. It is a spectacular exhibit on loan from Basel Switzerland and should not be missed.
Right before you get to the Reina Sophia (52 Calle Santa Isabel 28012, Madrid) don’t miss the amazing hand painted, one of a kind, scarf and tie shop on Calle Santa Isabel called Dimo pintura en seda Calle Santa Isabel 50 28012 Madrid
Where to eat in Madrid?? There are many choices for amazing cuisine in Madrid. Tapas is the best way to experience Spanish food and they have perfected the “Art of Sharing”.
With the Sunset at 9pm you will be eating much later than you do at home. Reservations don’t start until 9pm Madrellenos eat a mid morning breakfast, a more substantial lunch and a lighter dinner. More of the Breakfast for dinner theory! They are known for their delicious perfectly cooked egg omletes at 10:30 at night.
Visit Platea for a yummy lunch. The beautiful gourmet market on the Calle Goya in Salamanca has delicious fruits , vegetables and meats and breads to create your own lunch or you could choose any of the restaurants on the Calle Goya right outside Platea.
If you are up for delicious sweets make sure to stop in at Mama Framboise just outside Platea on Calle Goya www.mamaframboise.com . We were asking for directions and a lovely woman directed us this way and said it was a must! So off we went and had a delicious l tapas lunch outside on the sidewalk outside of Plateau.
Nothing says Madrid like sunset cocktails and tapas on a Rooftop. So look up while you are walking down the streets for interesting places to stop and take in the fantastic city views. We stopped at Cortez Ingles and hopped in the stunning glass elevator straight to the top, found a table and saw a magnificent sunset!
http://www.masqmenos.com/es/espana at the Corte de Ingles Principesa.
Make sure to have a drink on the rooftop at the ME Hotel in Plaza Santa Ana. It will be all lit up in Purple at night. They will charge you a $15 Euro fee if you are not a hotel guest. You can also sit in the plaza at one of the many cafe’s and enjoy a glass of vino after a long day of sightseeing.
For dinner we had a delicious meal in Santa Ana at Vina P. Traditional tapas plate with a great host and fun waiters. Santa Ana is a beautiful square that is filled with people enjoying wine and tapas before their late night dinner.
On what we thought was going to be our “last supper” (before they cancelled our flight) we went to the beautiful and delicious Ten Con Ten Restaurant http://restaurantetenconten.com/ we had an amazing tapas type meal in a beautiful setting in the Barrio of Salamanca. “Todo en la vida es un Ten con Ten”.
Do not miss the Mercado San Miguel. where you can enjoy a beautiful glass of wine while strolling around and taking in all the delicious food. http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/en/
Everyone told us that we must find the “Bear” in the Puerto del Sol. For some reason this we could not locate this very distinctive icon of Madrid for some hours. After “Big Benning” in the plaza which seemed liked an eternity we finally stumbled upon the Bear. We are always up for a photo op so here it is.
I try really hard never to retrace my steps by following the same streets to and from an area. By taking new streets and alleys you really get the flavor of the area you are traveling in and see so much more than just the main streets, shops, restaurants ect. After a brief siesta to rest our weary feet we got ready and headed out to La Latina for our Tapas Crawl. Cava Baja is a beautiful street in La Latina with amazing wine bars and delicious restaurants. First stop Taberna Cempranillo , Taberna de Vinos where we had amazing tapas, wines, cheeses, fruits. Tapas is an art in Spain and is served quite liberally meaning the more wine you order the more tapas plates are given to you on the bar. After many glasses and plates we decided it was time to head out to the next
taberna tempranillo cava baja 38taberna tempranillo cava baja 38
Coming soon.. The Palacio Royale, a visit to the Gran Via, the Temple of Denbod and more