Posted on September 15th, 2016
Arriving in Spain’s busy capital, Madrid was undoubtably a shock to the system after quiet and small Valencia. Ever since we arrived in Spain, Jodi has been on a mission to find the delicious churros that she had as a little girl when she was with her family. So the excitement was uncontainable when we arrived in Madrid, aka the land of churros and could have the opportunity to enjoy these deep-fried treats from the oldest and most famous chocolaterie: San Ginés. We arrived at this institution of a place and ordered our hot chocolates and churros, watching the line of mugs being filled by liquid chocolate. We sat down and were soon brought mugs of steaming chocolate and a plate piled high with churros. It was delicious!
We had a little walk around Madrid catching the autumn leaves burning with orange fire as the sun set. On our way back to our hostel, Room 007, we got some bocadillos calamares (basically a roll with calamari- a madrid tradition).
The next day we went to a gluten-free bakery called, Celicioso. It was beautifully decorated and served the most delectable guilt-free treats. We had a combo of orange bread, banana bread and vegan chocolate raspberry cake. DIVINE! We rushed back to our hostel in time to join the free walking tour which took us around the sites of Puerto de Sol, the bear and strawberry tree statue, the palace Real, the cathedral Plaça Villa and Plaça Mayor. Our guide was super knowledgeable and I left feeling enriched in Spanish history and Madrilenian culture. It ended with a free drink of sangria and then Jodi and I had some churro bites covered in Nutella and then had a tapa each at a tapas bar.
That evening we went to watch the sunset at the Temple de Debod. It was absolutely breathtaking with the ancient temple lit up and set against the pink sky.
That night we kept up with Spanish custom and joined our hostel’s organised fiesta to a bunch of bars and a club, meeting lots of really lovely Australian people. Fiesta, forever!
The following day was a Sunday, meaning that a huge block of Madrid’s streets turned into an amazing flea market selling all sorts of clothes, leather products, jewellery, old books and bags. We made many purchases and tried to not think too hard about how we were going to deal with baggage weight limits. Lunch was at the gourmet tapas market of San Miguel which was beyond delicious. We went to El Madroño which is a restaurant selling a berry liquor in an edible shot glass, the symbol of Madrid is a bear eating the fruit of a strawberry tree. The story goes that the bears ate the fermented fruit, got drunk, fell asleep, woke up and were thirsty so ate the fruit again, repeating the cycle. Madrilenian keep up the tradition today with the fiesta, siesta culture.
That afternoon we spent a few hours in the El Retiro park filled with trees losing leaves of orange, red, yellow and light green. Autumn here is just gorgeous.
Our time in Madrid was really wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere here! I can’t believe we only have two nights in Spain then off to Portugal. Next stop: SEVILLA.