Days in Madrid – The Palacio Real de Madrid, Plaza Mayor & San Miguel Market

Madrid was the final destination city in my trip to Spain, and although it didn’t compare to Seville, Granada, Valencia, or Barcelona that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of a visit.  It does have fantastic day trips like Toledo & Segovia but if you have a sunny day or two, I definitely recommend walking around the capital city of Spain.

If it’s a beautiful day take a walk or a jog in Retiro Park, a beautiful large city park that has a little peace and quiet for everyone.  There’s also plenty of museums to visit but I warn you that the lines will be long.  We skipped most museums due to long waits, the cost, and the fact that I was sick.

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Madrid, unlike Barcelona and any of the other large Spanish cities I visited is a concrete jungle.  The roads are boulevards and are easy to walk around and navigate.  Pick any main street off the park and I’m sure you’ll find something picture worthy.  After all, Madrid was built at a time when the Spanish Empire was at its glory.

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Another unique thing that I noticed in Madrid were these vertical gardens.  Pretty neat way to find some gardening space.

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One of the biggest tourist stops in Madrid is Plaza Mayor.  The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events: markets, bullfights, soccer games, public executions, and, during the Spanish Inquisition, “autos de fe” against supposed heretics and the executions of those condemned to death.

Madrid 105Now it’s just mostly municipal buildings with heavily armed security guards and overpriced cafes similar to NYC.  However, since coffee is only a few Euros, I recommend sitting with a cup and people watching.  You’ll see pretty much anything walk by in just half an hour.
Madrid 108 Right next to Plaza Mayor is the famous  Mercado de San Miguel, an indoor market of many eateries.  To hold me over for dinner I had a few bites with different seasoned fishes.  They were good but didn’t compare to the freshness and flavor of Barcelona’s Mercat de Mercats.  Plus on a late Saturday afternoon the market was so packed that trying to see your options or placing an order was a struggle.

Madrid 107On our last full day in Madrid, which also happened to be my sickest and rainest day, we went to check out the Palacio Real de Madrid, Madrid Royal Palace.  It was only about a 30 minute walk but with the rain we decided to take a ride on the metro instead.  As you can see, not even my own mother wanted to sit next to me.

We had this idea that because it’s rainy, no one else would wait in a line to go to the palace in the rain.  We were wrong.  We waited two hours in the rain to get inside because I was I was under the mentality of how much longer could the wait be.  Luckily Tony brought me coffee while I stood under my umbrella sneezing everywhere.  I was damn sexy.

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Due to the “delicate nature” of the royal estate apartments, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside.  I think it’s mostly due to a conspiracy to make you buy their books.  Just picture lots of old tapestry and gold, lots and lots of gold in giant ornate ceilings.

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Instead we had to take our photo shoot outside.  This is in front of the royal Cathedral.

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Yup by the end of the trip my mom and Tony have been best buds.

If I had to pick my favorite park of Madrid, it would be a bakery, a crazy busy bakery.

Madrid 111 La Mallorquina, in the Sol area of Madrid was my mecca!  This pastelería has been a local and tourist favorite since 1894. Its name derives from the original Mallorcan owner.
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I can vouch from the 5, 10, 20 things I may have tasted that everything was delicious

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Madrid – Adventures in Pubs and Bites

Within a few hours of the rail, we went from Granada to Madrid.  Compared to southern Spain, honestly it felt like misery.  It was cold 40s-50s with pouring rain.  In fact it literally rained all day the first day we were there.  Luckily we found a small burger joint called Neilla’s near us.  It was crowded, but it was cheap and it wasn’t McDonald’s.

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Tony was so hungry he got himself a deluxe burger and a chicken sandwich.

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I got a smoked salmon salad but I haven’t figured out how to say dressing on the side in Spanish yet =(

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The apartment we were renting was near Retiro Park. I had dreams of running before it decided to infinitely rain and I got sick.  Anyways one of the perks of renting an apartment is that we got to save some $$$ by making our own meals.  Sadly the clementines didn’t compare to the freshness of Barcelona and Valencia, however, the freshly baked bread was delicious. It’s a shame there’s no good baguette places in Boston!

Madrid at night

Anyways, around rush hour, Madrid Puerta Del Sol area gets packed with commuters, tourists, and performers.

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One evening in search of some fried bites we checked out Malaspina, sorta steam punk looking bar with a touch of modern Spain.

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Upon ordering we were greeted with this cheesy ham bites.  This sampler wasn’t enough so we ordered a few more.

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We also got these tomato toasts that were kinda nasty IMO, but this potato tart that came with it was tasty.

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The final disappointment of the night was calamari.  It was fresh but the batter could have used some more flavor.  Our stomachs felt very disappointed by the bites, which was a shame since the place had 4 stars on TripAdvisor.

Luckily, you can’t disappoint with wine.  The wine is always good!

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On another night we checked out Fatigas del Querer, another pub in the Sol area of Madrid.  I normally despise staying in city centers but my mom didn’t want to travel out into a more neighborhood hang out, so there we were.  Around 10pm there was about a 45 minute wait.  We hung out by the bar, drank some yummy sangria.  The food here was slightly better.  Tony ordered a fake paella,  and I got a hefty piece of steak.

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As for my mother?  She stayed on the liquid diet 😉