FOOD !, Spain, Uncategorized

Madrid Mini-break of Indulgences

With only three days in Spain, Madrid won two of them and most was spent indulging as a foodie should.

Madrid is no doubt a bustling, modern day city filled with beauty, traditions and cultural experiences but it is also an ancient capital that has seen many changes.

A city whose last two centuries have left an ever fashionable mark. A city who’s way of exsistance was do to the necessary to survive and that is still evident in their daily ways.

Where morning streets fill early with locals chatting on thresholds and visitors snapping selfies in plazas. By lunch, sidewalks fill with light bites and wanders in the park such as Parque de El Retiro, find citizens on lake side siestas.

Madrid’s history is deeper than what the eyes see. There is not much ancient or medieval architecture to be found except in the old town streets of Almendra Central. Madrids status as a true capital city came into its own in the 16th century bringing design features found in Plaza Mayor. The Bourbon Era brought austatious design such as the Royal Palace, Church of Santa Barbara & St. Michael’s Basillica.

The Royal Palace & Basillica sit on the site of the original walled city and muslim fortress, Alcazar, that exsisted and was greatly enlarged and extended over the centuries from 850(ish) to 1754 , when it burned to the ground on Christmas Eve.

Most prevalent is the 19th century growth into ‘moderization’ bringing the elaborate and proud facades.

Madrid is a city whose wealth has provided for some astounding art collections to be found in the Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemizsa & Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, not to mention countless other museums both state and private owned.

But for me, the true Madrid- the one not to be missed is el paseo.

That point in the evening when the streets such as Calle Cuchilleros, begin to fill with leisure strollers. Sidewalk cafes along neighborhoods like Cava Baja, fill with friends sipping tinto (red wine, mostly Rioja) and nibbling tapas (small plates of snacks) that are complimentary when you orders drink. Tip: Enjoy whatever is given and trust in the usual custom that you will be treated to a different nibble with each round.

2 Spanish Vermouth ‘s and these tapas only cost us 5€ !!

And no trip to Madrid will be complete without a visit to Mercado de San Miguel.

A beautiful free standing glass and steel frame arcade market brimming with stall after stall of Spain’s finest foods and libations.

Where you wander from each vendor buying deliciousness by the piece at amazingly affordable prices for artisan delicacies; from jamón, olives, fresh seafood, pastries, sherry, wine & vermouth on tap ( the latter my absolute new favorite libation!!)

The Mercado starts really hopping around 10pm, tourists and locals shoulder to shoulder, where you’re sure to meet new friends while standing at tall tables nibbling and sipping. Remember the Spanish work hard and play harder so plan on catching a wee afternoon nap if you want to fully enjoy the late nights.

From my very short stay I have come away with these facts: Madrid is a place to soak up culture, wandering with no agenda, and enjoyed with a friend!

(Mucho gracias to dear friend #LordRutherford for sharing laughs, tapas and a few pics.)

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