After spending 3 marvelous days in Barcelona, and getting my fill of Gaudi in all his splendor (the man was a Genius)…I took a very early Train into Madrid…
Arrived at Atocha train station, and was amazed at how enormous it is!...I was a bit lost…I thought…”OK… now where to I go from here” !... But as always, when in doubt, follow the crowd, right?
That’s what I did and amazingly it turned out ok…I found the Metro station and a few minutes later I got to my Hotel (the Eden Paraiso Neptuno) in Puerta del Sol…(the Center of Madrid).
I have to say, the initial reaction was WoW!...Madrid is beautiful!... Even in Puerta del Sol, where I’d known that it was a very touristy area, and thus thinking, it would be very random, it wasn’t… The buildings were fascinating as the architecture of old style ambiance with the hustle and bustle of thousands of people… I am glad I chose this area to stay… I love being in the Middle of it all!
As it turns out, I was lucky to get upgraded to a room with a balcony overlooking the street and Puerta Del Sol…which I loved! (I had booked a single room) so this upgrade was amazing (for 60 Euros a night, it can’t be beat!) The service of the hotel was very good, as was the cleanliness…all excellent for the price.
So, after my check-in…it was lunch time, and I go hunting for my 1st foodie place on my list: Casa Lucas, in the Cava Baja. I’ve read about this place, so I know it’s going to be good. I walk about 10 minutes or so, and find the place. It was pretty empty, maybe being a Monday and all, but all the better for me, because that means personalized service, right?
I had known for months what I wanted to order: The Creamy Rice with boletus, foie gras and a poached egg. It was sooo tasty, amazing and the foie gras really hit the spot. It cost 20 euros, plus I had a cana (small beer)…Total: 21.50… The owner was very nice, talkative and we had great conversation, recommended some other spots to eat, very nice. He wouldn’t even take my tip… I highly recommend this place.
From here I kinda roam around the city, with my feet in pain, but who cares, I’m in Madrid!!
By this time, late afternoon… I hit some shopping in Puerta del Sol... And slowly make my way to my hotel room, and get ready for the night: Reservations @ Las Tablas Flamenco!
(Bought tickets through atrapalo.com at ½ price… perfect!)
Before leaving, I stop at “Casa Labra”… I’d read they specialize in Bacalao… and buy 3 Croquetas de bacalao (.80 a piece) and a Cana (1.50)… they were very creamy inside, crunchy outside and the Cana in the hot afternoon was perfect… Not much Bacalao in the croquetas, but at the price, very good.
I take the Metro to Plaza Espana, and have no idea which way to go… even with my map!... See, I have this inability to be able to tell which way is North… so, the map is kinda useless!
But I put on a smile, (that always works! ) and ask the 1st person that “looks” like a local… ha ha that means, anyone without a map in their hands
They tell me under the bridge, 1 block more(which ended up being incorrect) and I walked needlessly for ever… eventually, someone told me it was “under the bridge” to the right… up some stairs! When I finally found the place, the server tells me that they have many people getting lost… great, at least I’m not the only one! … I was worried, because there was no one there… and thought how boring would it be if the show is “just for me”… ha ha … eventually, the place fill up and the show started.
Las Tablas was good, not great, (this is just my opinion)…. I had ordered a glass of Sangria for 3 Euros, so the price was right… but the few items on the menu seemed overpriced. Now, the Male Dancer they had that night… was absolutely amazing! Very passionate about what he does… he stole the show, for sure!
After that, went back to Puerta del Sol, and decided to try Chocolateria Gines!! I had the 6 churros with the Hot chocolate (a thick dark chocolate that is so thick, you can eat it with a spoon)… it was amazing, and they guy was nice enough to give me the fresh churros that had just come out of the fryer… perfect end to day 1!
Had bought tickets to Toledo, so got up early, and had café con leche and a pastry at a random bar in Puerta del Sol for about 3 Euros… very delicious café (strong but not burnt or bitter) and the pastry was very good.
In Toledo, I had some time to shop, but a nice “abanico”… very unique and pretty for 22 euros, of course some “Delicias” (marzipan) from Santo Tome… and a cute little bag, and a few other things.
This was a “take it easy” day, so, I just went to the Cathedral and spend about an hour there. It’s very large and beautiful… they have the cape of Juan Pablo Segundo (I loved him!)… Very nice.
Both of my choices for restaurants (Alfileritos24 and Madre Tierra) were closed. So I had to settle for a random place…
Early afternoon, took the train back to Madrid, when to my hotel, and got ready for the night: I had reservations for the Tapas & Wine tour “Walks of Spain”.
This was money very well spend. Andres was amazing, tried some very very good Iberico de bellota, other yummy things, and an amazing array of Spanish wines… some more than 10 yrs old! Very good for the price 59 Euros… all food and wine included. I highly recommend his tour. Everyone in our tour was very happy with him.
Sadly, today is my last day, as I leave at 22:30 hrs on the Tren hotel to Lisbon.
I get a late start… and im very mad at myself for that, but hey… ive been going at it for 6 days non-stop, so I guess I have to rest sometime!
Finish packing my luggages (which now have by Magic duplicated!)… mayyyybeee it was the shopping!... not sure!
Do the checkout without any problems, and today I try La Marroquineria for Breakfast.
I had the Pan de levadura con marzipan inside (which was incredible and delicious) with a café con leche… again about 3 Euros or so.
1st Museum in Order: Reina Sofia… (As I know I can’t do both Sofia & Prado)… I chose Sofia because, well… I’m in love with Picasso! … I confess!
Of course, there is no way… (really no way) to get a picture of Picasso’s “Guernica”… there is 2 guards standing next to it at all times… In fact there is no pictures or video allowed anywhere in the room 206.
But the nice guard tells me that anywhere else… Pictures without flash are O.K.! Awesome!
I spend a couple of hrs (really deserves more time) admiring the other Picasso’s (those are ok to take pictures) yey! … And Dali! I also liked Miro… which I confess I didn’t know much about…
From here, I go searching for “Juana la Loca” (it’s a restaurant).. ha ha I’m not searching for a crazy person…ha ha! I had a tough time finding it… but I eventually did, and finally had my try at the “runny tortilla”… you all remember that question here on Trip Advisor?... yup.. that was me!
The price was 4 euros a piece, which I thought was too much, but the tortilla was amazing.. I had 2 orders, so I guess I didn’t mind paying the price… which probably means it’s not overpriced, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had 2nd! … Caramelized onions, semi cooked inside… creamy… delicious! …
Revulgo! I have to thank you for this one! … I loved Juana La Loca’s Tortilla!
From here I hit Casa Hernanz (for the famous Espadrillas)… its 4.45 (they open @ 5pm) and there’s already a line? Wow… anyways, amazing prices, super comfy espadrillas… I bought 2 pairs… too bad I barely have room in my luggages (2) otherwise, I’d bought more!
Later I hit Plaza Mayor, sit down outside with my helado… (yes! I finally had one!) lemon flavored, and very refreshing… and realize they have free wifi… so I try to “face-time” (kinda like skype) but for iphones,ipods, etc… my mom!... see answers, and I show to through the camara Plaza Mayor!... isn’t technology amazing! …
Ok, so im exhausted, I go back to Puerta del Sol… and before leaving for the train station… I try to find something quick to buy to take to eat for dinner. (since im afraid I’ll have no time for a real meal)… I go to Museo del Jamon and get one of their 1 euro sandwiches… OMG… my fellow foodies would kill for this!... it was not good!... there was sooo much bread, and like an inch square of ham! Ha ha…
But I think…. There’s much I have to do still in Madrid… So I must come back soon!
I want to thank everyone that was patient enough to answer the millions of questions I had!
OHH, by the way!!: I DID FIND MY PERFUME ANOUK!! thanks everyone for the help with that one!!Edited: 16 September 2011, 22:21