I don’t think I’ve ever have done so little research before visiting a city as I’ve done on my trip to Madrid. It is actually no research at all. I’ve only booked the hostel that’s it.
Also I don’t know of any major sights that I have to visit. What is the Eiffel Tower of Madrid?
My goal in Madrid is to get a few days of relaxing and slow down the pace before heading to Oviedo and walk the Camino. I will still be on my working email etc. just in case and then hopefully walk around Madrid and visit a lot of cafés, get some tapas and enjoy life. Sounds good right 😀
Just after landing I of course went directly to my hostel, Room007 Ventura. I’m traveling only with hand luggage so I was fast out of the airport. When about to buy a metro ticket two girls came up to me an offered me their travel card with five trips for free. Great start.
The metro went smoothly and I arrived at the hostel only an hour after landing in the airport. Very nice start.
I went for some tapas at a recommendation from a friend which turned out to be close to my hostel. Los Gatos was the name. A small but we’ll decorated establishment. I got two kinds of tapas and two beers. With 40 degrees Celsius outside it was needed.
I walked through the streets back to my hostel for a nap. My Mexican room mate came back at the same time and we had a bit of talk. She speaks a little English and I really feel the regrets that I don’t master any of the Spanish language. I will probably regret that a lot on this trip. I need to learn that. I just have to.
After the nap it was time for paella and sangria. I’m not a big fan of either of them but just felt like being Spanish 😀
The night beer was picked up at the pub La Fontana de Oro (recommendable) before I turned in early. First hot day in Madrid was over and I wanted to be ready for day two.
So with no preparation at all I thought that a good way to start my Madrid sightseeing was to do a Free Walking tour.
Let’s face it – it was very historical. The guide was good. He was enthusiastic and full of energy and answered most questions. I don’t know – guess I just thought it got too historic and too many kings to remember. I’m not sure I would recommend it. Three hours in 40 degrees didn’t make it better. I’ve seen many of the major sights now and I guess that was all worth the 10 € I felt the trip was worth paying for. Of those 2€ goes to the company behind whether I tip the guide or not so totally free it ain’t…
After a cup of coffee – in the hot weather, I know seems stupid – I did the Prado Museum. I thought it wasn’t something for me as 14th-18th centuries paintings ain’t my thing but as all top ten lists of “what to do in Madrid” including the once claiming to be cool put Prado on the list I thought I should give it a go.
Three hours later I was out in freedom again. Sorry – but that is not for me. Well hey – now I’ve seen it and ALL of its masterpieces. After all it is not every day you see a Rembrandt 😉
The evening walk went through top ten list attraction Gran Via – shopping street – and towards the Malasaña area and Plaza del Dos de Mayo due to a blog recommendation from Timeout.com.
Near by I found Lamucca & Company a beer bar and restaurant with great pizza. I’m in Spain – I know – but it was really good so no regrets. Actually a big recommendation to this hip place.
Look for my Toledo post 😀
The evening dinner was spent in the gay neighborhood of Chueca. From a Danish friend who used to live in Madrid I got the recommendation to go to Ribeira do Miño. Despite being inland away from the sea I went for the seafood.
I don’t think you got a much more authentic restaurant in all of Madrid. The atmosphere is in top. Full with Spanish people eating seafood. Only a few tourists have found there way. The waiters look like they hate there job which obviously is part of the charm while they carry in one big plate after the other full of fresh and delicious seafood.
If you go out two or more people and want some seafood this is the place. Order a cool seafood plate to share and a Queimada gallega for “dessert” and you are all good 😉
My birthday. I wanted to chill and be able to pick up the phone anytime when family and friends called. Also nowadays it is a full-time job to answer greetings on the social media so it was nice just to relax and have time.
I started in the wonderful park of El Retiro together with a croissant and a Starbucks coffee because at Starbucks you know the quality is as you know it – no surprises it is after all my birthday 😃 First call was from my mom and the next four hours I sat down or wandered around the park. Perfect.
After a nap I went to the La Latina area for the first time. I went to eat my birthday dinner at Juana la Loca – a very nice restaurant with a little bit of a posh image. Suited me well at a birthday. I went for a evening walk to Plaza Mayor just to see it in the evening – it was also a stop on the walking tour. Still don’t get me excited.
Back to the hostel for a beer and the last answers to the birthday wishes and into bed at one o’clock. After all I’m out and towards Oviedo in the morning.
Madrid and the next visit
So Madrid turned out to be okay. To me nothing more. I’m not “Budapest in love”. I would definitely come back next time with the sole purpose of getting some great food and dining out. I think that especially the La Latina area could be a good place to stay and to go out in the evenings. The street Calle de la Cava Baja looks good and you could probably spend several days eating great food and relax. I’m up for that next time 😉