May 29, 2019

First full day in Madrid

Tuesday, May 28th, was our first full day here in Madrid.  We love our neighborhood as it is within walking distance from anywhere we would want to visit.  Our Airbnb, complete with photos, can be found here by clicking this link.  The host is very customer orientated.  He is also very high tech with smart key fobs to open the doors.  Should you not be able to open the street door because of a sticky key or such, you only have to hit the buzzer an he will unlock the door for you from his iPhone 😛

View from our balcony. That is Puerta del Sol in the background, we are that close.

Our only gripe is that the major plazas have been taken over with football fever or soccer as we call it.  The 2019 Champions League Final is Saturday, June 1, 2019. The game will take place at Wanda Metropolitano, the home of Atletico Madrid in Madrid, Spain.  Stadium seating being set up in front of huge TV’s in the various squares.  The city is fuller than normal and we can’t see many of the sights we had hoped to as they are behind scaffolding, etc.

Our guide used examples and role played to get us involved in the understanding of the city that he is so passionate about.

We took a three hour free tour this morning to get the lay of the area and to get the historical background of Madrid.  We both learned so much about Spain and Europe and the how’s and why’s of how things are today.  Our guide was excellent at communicating historical facts to us.  One of the tidbits I picked up that is wasn’t until 1981 that married woman were free to work, to travel nor basically do anything unless they had a written permission from their husbands.  1981!!!  They were not even allowed to divorce their husbands.  Apparently there were many divorces when the law changed in 1981.  We were told many facts pertaining to Spains participation in various wars over the years and that things were not as they appeared.  We learned a entire new aspect of understanding this country through its history.  Here are some photos taken during the tour.

Plaza Mayor, the main square in Madrid now under construction for the soccer event.

The oldest restaurant on earth, Sobrino de Botin, opened in 1725.  It even has a plaque in the window from GuinnessWorld Records. Hemmingway mentions this place in his novel ‘The Sun Also Rises’.

The doors to a nunnery next to a church which still exits today.

Going back to they days when the church would give bread to poor after mass. To this very day you can press the buzzer, go in and order sweets made by the nuns.  They are behind a screen and money is placed on a revolving tray and then your order comes to you the same way in a white box.  Apparently their baking is excellent.

One of the official government buildings dating back to the time of the Habsburgs ( 1516-1700 ).

The Royal Palace which is now a museum.

The mountains that the invaders came over time and time again. Also the Royal Palace in the background.

Royal Opera House. So sad that there was nothing playing while we are here.

There are really neat doors every few feet.

Lunch was a traditional calamari sandwich. Lots of deep fried & lightly breaded calamari on a fresh bun but with no sauce of any kind.  A bit dry but tasty for 3 euro.  I just ate the calamari.  The wine at 2 euro per glass was excellent. We were served by a young lady whose grandfather had established this place.

Any restaurant ( and perhaps other establishment ) that is older than 100 years old ( and there are a lot of them ) have a metal plaque either on the door sill or on the stone in front of the door.  This one was established in 1894.

While I did laundry Colin went out looking for more of the same shoes he bought in Rome last year as they are made here in Spain.  There is a sale at the shoe store across the street with a line to simply get into the store.

Illegal immigrants from Africa selling their wares on the street.  The items are on a white cloth with ropes attached.

That way when the police are spotted they can quickly bundle everything up and make a run for it.

We headed out about 10PM to a restaurant literally just around the corner from us. It is very popular as you can see.  Colin is at the end of the line.  We were seated within 25 minutes.  There were several other tapa restaurants down the street and they were empty.  We made an excellent choice as it turns out.

A lovely white Monsalve, Rueda Verdejo, the top line reads ‘M. Jesus de la  Hoz’.   Here is Spain you can buy wine by the glass or by the bottle.  We have yet to run into house wine here in Madrid.  This wine was 3 Euro per glass or 14 Euro for the bottle.  Back in Greece, house wine was sold by the glass or by a 500 ml carafe or 1000 ml carafe. 500 ml usually sold for 5 Euro, so overall much better wine prices.

We had a late large lunch ( all that calamari ) so only started with two large tapas. This is Burrata bloody Rossi, goat cheese with pesto and tomato sauce.  Here the waiter is injecting the cheese with pesto.  Can you see the guy over my shoulder?  He ended up ordering everything that we did.

The other tapa was vegetable lasagna with onto, tapenade and béchamel.

There is an art to serving this particular dish. You cut it into four and spoon pesto in the center of each quarter followed by the tomato sauce. It was very tasty.  More than enough food for us.  The waiter’s parents are from Italy and he learned English in New Jersey.  Our hostess has cousins in Edmonton that she visited once during the winter.  Needless to say her impression of Canada is that it is only ever cold there.

Whatever is retired beef from Argentina?

Can you believe that with all that we have been doing to date, that we only left home two weeks ago?




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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “First full day in Madrid”

  1. What a deal on the calamari and the wine! The tapas look fantastic!

  2. Kelly says:

    Love that we now get to see Madrid.
    I have a pair of shoes made in Spain. El Naturalista Love them.

  3. Jim and Barb says:

    What an interesting culture and learning experience. I like calamari but don’t think I would like it in a dry sandwich!

  4. Maxx Trails says:

    It does seem like you have been gone longer than two weeks! I love the view from your apartment, as well as all the other pictures you shared.

  5. In the grocery store though the wine is still very cheap. Once you get outside Madrid the prices are way better. Glad you like the area you are staying in. We stayed very near the Royal Palace, visited it as well as the cathedral next to it.

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