This post is better if you listen to this:
The sequel to our four day trip in Madrid is here! It may have taken us a little bit of time to get there, but life happens sometimes. Anywayyy, let’s kick things off with the third and most eye-catching day of all!
On the third day, we went soft with our alarm clock and had a late start to our day. Let me remind you our beloved reader, that the previous night we had partied the Spanish way, so we had to take it a bit slow the day after. Not to mention that we also attended the concert of one of our favourite bands -Bastille that is!- at Palacio de los Deportes and we were so heavy with emotion, hoarse voices and weary legs. However, one cannot bitch about such amazing and memorable experiences (it was soooo nice!). Now, back to day three.
Our first destination for the day was El Rastro, an open air flea market that takes place only on Sundays. El Rastro is a great place if you want to have an authentic taste of the people that live in the Spanish capital in their most carefree of moods. That day lots of people, locals and tourists, were enjoying the sunny morning and the finger food that was available in traditional coffee houses or snack bars.
Next, we decided to take a long stroll around the barrio ‘Lavapies’ until we reached the broader ‘La Latina’ neighbourhood, right in the heart of the city. Lavapies is one of the most up-and-coming places in Madrid, mainly due to its diverse and multicultural background. The variety of immigrants that live here have shaped the vibe of this area and it is very vivid even in the neighbourhood’s streets and shops.
Upon reaching La Latina, you realise that you arrive at a more traditional Spanish setting that stands out due to its vivid dining and drinking scene. In any case, we highly recommend visiting both places if you want to have a fuller perspective of the vibrant Spanish capital!
The narrow streets of La Latina, full of restaurants and people, just inspired us to do what we do best: eat. We opted for La Musa around that area and we were more than happy with the choice; an amazing traditional Spanish tortilla, a ‘patata bomba’ and some other tapas eliminated our greed in the most satisfying of ways. See for yourself.
After that feast, in the wonderful lower ground of the restaurant, which resembled a picturesque island setting, it was time to hit the road again for something loftier and more..royal. We visited the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Palacio Real, and the neighbouring Almudena Cathedral both of which boast an amazing architecture and are considered as monuments with great significance for the Spanish state and religion. The weather was still a bit ‘meh’ and especially windy, but that is what you get when you decide to travel in February even in the sunniest of places (take note people!).
However, we were still not discouraged and after a small stop near Teatro Real and the Opera we reached Plaza de San Miguel and the famous Mercado de San Miguel. Now, if we were a sign showcasing how important it is to visit Mercado de San Miguel once you find yourself in Madrid, we would be flashing in the most neon of the neon lights. We’re talking about THE quintessential market. Are you craving seafood? Jamon or meat? Fresh veggies? A sophisticated beer or wine? A wide range of tapas and amazing pickles maybe? Tortillas? Sweets? How does sushi sound? The San Miguel market is the best place if you are hungry, thirsty or simply greedy. Just don’t miss it. (We’ll stop right here because this is turning into a San Miguel market promo ad!).
The final stop before the day was officially over, was Templo de Debod, which is a dismantled Egyptian temple that was reconstructed and rebuilt in Madrid’s Parque del Oeste. Although pictures will speak for themselves very soon, let us make a recommendation: visit this park when the golden hour starts to set in. Madrid is popular for its sunsets, but you will realise the truth of this statement once you see it with your own eyes. Once you feel that the sunset has given all of its colours, that’s when you are wrong. And you might be lucky enough to have a few clouds in the sky, like we did, and get the double effect.
Day four was the final day of the trip and it was also a half one since the return flight was in the afternoon. We wrapped our beautiful trip up with a brunch at Cafe de la Luz in Malasaña and a final visit to the shops of Gran Via. That was the day that Madrid decided to get spring weather and high temperatures. But alas! After so many new and great experiences those four past days, no one should be whining about some extra cold.
To finish things off before the ride to the airport, we went for something undoubtedly Spanish for our lunch. Casa Julio, a renowned tapas bar with legendary croquetas, simply confirmed the reputation that surrounds it. With a variety of cheese, spinach and jamon croquetas, spicy patatas bravas and the local Mahou beer, it was the perfect gastronomical ending to our long-awaited trip!
Anybody who travels knows that most of the times we make plans about doing things or visiting places that just end up being too ambitious. Here is a list of places that were on our list but we actually never made it!
- The Museums El Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía: Do you know that feeling of joy that your inner Scrooge McDuck gets when you find out that the entrance to the museums is free on certain hours?? Do you also know the feeling of frustration and impatience that you get when you get there and the lines end at the street around the corner?? So, if you guys are travelling on a budget, be prepared to WAIT!
- La Caixa Forum: Apart from being a really impressive building (hint: modern interiors and a stunning outer wall covered in plants) it offers great modern art exhibitions all year round.
- Círculo de Bellas Artes: It´s a cultural organisation that apart from covering pretty much everything art-related, from exhibitions to concerts and workshops, it has one of coolest rooftops in Madrid.
- If you´re in a huge rush but still want to get a privileged panoramic view of the Spanish capital, head to the Gourmet section of the Corte Inglés building in Gran Vía. You´ll be positively surprised by the stunning view. You heard it from us and you will thank us later for this tip!
- La Tabacalera: Originally a tobacco company, nowadays it serves as a multi-functional building that houses various cultural events and oozes artistic flair. It has somewhat irregular opening hours, so you have to consult their event schedule or else you have to pretty much count on Lady Luck to catch a glimpse of it! (Btw, on Sundays you stand good chances!)
- El Matadero: Imagine a former slaughterhouse organising übercool events like food festivals, exhibitions, mini concerts, flea markets and theatrical plays. Check out its programme before you visit Madrid.
- A walk through Chueca, Madrid’s gay-friendly district that infects you with a cheerful and open-minded attitude. Let’s start with the fact that the Metro station sports rainbow colours in the platforms.
Thanks for reading and being a part of our little adventure!
PS: All photography credits go to Angie and if you like to reproduce it, please make sure to have Angie’s permission first!
PS2: If you haven’t read the first part of our Spanish expedition then click here!