Sunday, May 8, 2016

Day 3: Madrid

Day 3 (Saturday): Madrid

POTD: Goodbye: Adeus

Weather: Cool and perfect for walking around, then cool and raining and imperfect for walking around, then nice again and more walking around

THB goes to the fitness center, it feels like a sauna. Later, to take a picture, THB realizes that the FC is next to a very steamy lap pool (a very pretty lap pool complete with mood lighting).

Coffee delivered to the room, then breakfast in the conservatory: mostly bread and yogurt for THB, including a shared churros, and scrambled eggs and a bunch of tastes of other stuff for DB.

THB and DB go for a short walk, buy a 15E sim card, and leave the travel phone with the front desk to see if they can get the new card to work with the old phone.

At 10:30, Eloisa, our art tour guide, shows up and we begin our visit to five different galleries within walking distance of the hotel. Several of the galleries are hidden on upper floors or in buildings behind buildings. Eloisa is very knowledgeable about the art and the backgrounds of the artists. THB’s favorite installation piece: a video of a nude female painter doing a large self-portrait that runs for over 15 minutes followed by an image of the piece that inspired the video: Suzanne Valadon, painter and model and contemporary of Renoir and Manet, painted something similar.

Knives with knitted inscriptions

Our tour wraps up with a drink at Celisioso, a newly opened gluten free bakery. 

Around drinks, the five of us discuss art and then current events in Spain. Needless to say, up came the newly inevitable topic: Eloisa asks about The Donald. This is bringing up memories of when we traveled in the aughts and all foreigners wanted to discuss was how much they hated Bush (not well loved by many).  Celisioso is embedded in the other hotel we considered staying at, Only Us. It’s quirky! Urso is lovely, so it was a tough choice.

Eloisa departs and we wander around looking for lunch; the place she recommends is clearly a Madrid landmark. It’s also totally packed, you eat tapas standing up at small tables. Hardly seems an option, so we end up nearby at a spot where most of the patrons are drinking outside in the plaza; we’re inside with the serious eaters. Mixed grill (salty), pulpos (octopus), salads, drinks, 45E for four. THB is figuring something out: price indicates both quantity and quality; the more expensive the dish, the better it is to share!
Eloisa's reco, too crowded for us
Mixed grill and pulpos

Back to the hotel, the front desk has been unsuccessful getting the travel phone to work. After a short rest, the four of us head about 15 minutes away to a Vodafone store. There, we buy another sim card, this one for 5E, and the Vodafone guy gets the travel phone to work.

More wandering around in the upscale shopping district: SA buys a handsome sweatjacket at a very reasonable cost and then almost immediately puts it to a test: it’s drizzling, then raining, then pouring! We take a break from the storm under a closed newsstand awning. A few minutes later, it has cleared up and we’re back to the hotel for a short snooze before heading out to walk dinner, our rezzie is at 8pm.

Now we’re more like true Madrilenos: starting to eat late, dining at Ten Con Ten. This place is jumping! THB says it is like being in a Busby Berkeley movie, the staff is one synchronized serving dance. Huge bar at front of restaurant, outside patio (smoking allowed, we turn down sitting here), huge buzz from the tables in the main room, and then we’re in an oasis of a smaller room towards the side-rear.

Again, price and quality and quantity seem to be in lockstep: THB and DA have gin and tonic cocktails, poured at the table.  THB has to use two hands to lift the giant glass; DB has something strange with cinnamon on the rim of the glass (she thinks they didn’t add much alcohol…THB is too loaded with gin to notice). SA has a mini-coke in the bottle.

Share (PHEW!) burata salads, pre-split. This is a big item here, and most people are getting an unsplit version, which features a softball sized mound off cheese on lettuce, with grapes and strawberries and tomatoes floating around the burata, nicely done.

THB and DB have fish dishes, both huge steaks, and pretty good, DA goes for steak tartare and SA has suckling pig and mashed sweet potato. For dessert, shared bowl of ice cream and rice pudding which is served crème brulee style…good and very sweet with the caramelized sugar on top.

DA picks up the tab so THB does not have exact figures, guessing 110E mas o menos  per couple.

We’re back outside around 11:15 for a nice walk back to hotel, there is a line of people waiting to get into the restaurant!

DA reports that for the day he hit 8.5 miles on his fitbit. Most of the eating/drinking places we pass are jumping with customers, including the burrito spot; it’s Saturday night in the big city.

Some shots from around town:

Fitness center: -1


  1. We love getting your blog and viewing your many photos. You set a good example - we try to keep up. We hope you are occasionally viewing ours ( Enjoy!

  2. Thank you!!! I tried and still couldn't figure out how to follow you...hope your LONG trip is going well, thb