A Week Enjoying the Excitement of Madrid
We spent a fantastic week in Madrid, just wandering around and getting a feel for the pulse of Spain's capital city. During the week we sampled multiple neighborhoods to get a feel for all the different sides to the city. Sometimes to cover more ground and save our aching feet we would walk one way and jump on the metro to return. We walked our little toes off during the week.
Our AirBnB was out in the super-swanky Salamanca district, which reminded us of New York's Upper east side, but with less scaffolding. It turned out to be a great location, just as we like it, away from the tourist center of the city, but close enough to be able to walk to wherever we wanted to explore. And explore we did!
Salamanca is swish and fancy filled with designers stores and trendy restaurants and bars that beautiful people (and occasionally us) frequented. Our favorite experience was visiting Platea - a former cinema that has been converted into a grown-up gastronomy lovers playground. There is a Michelin Star restaurant, a cocktail bar, a sushi restaurant and a stage that hosts internally known DJs. But we just explored the tapas floor which offered a broad selection of all kinds of amazing gourmet delights. We tried a little bit of everything that was on offer. Food heaven!
Chueca and Malasaña were probably our favorite neighborhoods. With craft beer bars like Irreale and the food stands of Mercado de San Ildefonso suiting our more casual style. We also like the more bohemian feeling La Latina neighborhood and the culturally diverse neighborhood of Lavapiés. We even had an Indian curry there which wasn't up to British standards but was still pretty good.
The center of Madrid around Gran Via and Plaza Mayor was a little too touristy for us, heaving with tour groups and vendors selling the usual Made-in-China fare, so we took a quick walk through there and moved on. A popular sunset spot is the Egyptian Temple of Debod. You may wonder why there is an Egytpian temple in the middle of a Spanish city. It was gifted to Spain, after its future was threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. In it's new home it provides a beautiful spot to gaze over the city at the end of daylight.
A fantastic respite from the city was the beautiful Retiro park. I read that they call this park the lungs of Madrid and I can see why. It is expansive and lively and provides a refreshing alternative to the vibrancy of the city streets. The park was near to our AirBnB so we took every opportunity to stroll through on our way to and from home.
We loved Madrid. It's busy, the architecture was imposing and grand, the atmosphere was vibrant and modern. It is everything a modern capital city should be. Our next post has more photos of this amazing city. A week there was great and I have no doubt that we will be back to sample more of what it has to offer soon. We'll return to Spain in a little over a month, so we're not saying not adiós but ¡hasta luego!