What we did in Madrid

What we did in Madrid

Now, I don’t need to recap on some of the things we did in Madrid.

You already know that we ran the RnR Madrid Half Marathon: I’ll be posting my race review over the weekend 🙂

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And I posted earlier this week about our main activities: eating and drinking 😉

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But we did see some other sights too.

First, we spent a lot of time walking around the city, admiring the wide range of architecture. It is a really beautiful city. My favourite building was the Metropolis:

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Top of  @TheWelshWookie’s to-do list was a visit to Bernbau Stadium, the home of Real Madrid football team, the team that was crowned Team of the 20th Century. The trophy rooms were stunning: I’ve never seen so many trophies in one place before!

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The stadium tour was great: we were able to visit various areas of the stadium, including seeing the pitch from various vantage points, sitting in the dugout, visiting the home & away changing rooms, the press room and of course, the trophy rooms. It was great!

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No one can visit the city of Madrid without spending time inside some of the fabulous churches. We visited the Catedral de la Almudena, which was stunning. I’ve visited many, many cathedrals, but this was huge, and beautiful.

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We also visited the Basilica de San Miguel, which we accidentally stumbled across:

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No trip to Madrid would be complete without a visit to Palace Real Madrid. It too was beautiful, with fantastic views across Campo del Moro. Of course, we weren’t permitted to take any photos inside the palace, but I loved the throne room, the chapel and Stradivarius room, which housed a viola, two violins and two cellos. Wow.

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The city is also home to many museums and galleries. We visited Museo del Prado, which houses works by Goya, Botticelli, Raphael, Rubens, and many others. There was an exhibition of paintings of ‘The Furies’ from Titian, Ribera and others, which I really loved.

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One thing we didn’t know was that Friday, 2nd May is an important holiday in Madrid, where the city celebrates their uprising against Napoleon. We watched a military parade in Puerto del Sol, which was really interesting.

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And the city celebrates with various cultural and sporting events, including one that they consider as both: bullfighting. Now, we did go to see this, and it was something I had never experienced before. I know that not everyone will support or appreciate that, so I’ll only post a couple of pics which I hope doesn’t offend anyone too much:

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Finally, we also spent time doing MY favourite  (aside from eating and running): shopping! Madrid is home of the original El Corte Ingles department store, and it was awesome! It was also very, very close to our hotel 😉

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I think we managed to squeeze in quite a lot!

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The Delectable Delights of Downtown Madrid

The Delectable Delights of Downtown Madrid

You all know how much I LOVE my food. Well, Madrid far surpassed my foodie expectations!

They definitely have a sweet tooth; even savoury dishes are often sweet, especially sides like coleslaw.

Here are some of the highlights. I apologise now for the quality of the pics: it may or may not be related to the amount of alcohol consumed 😉

We did the RnR half on the Sunday morning. And, in keeping with previous RnRs, we refuelled at Hard Rock Cafe. We tested out a few of the cocktails, and I carb loaded on the brisket with fries. Yum!

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On Monday, we spent lots of time in various tapas bars. As I’m sure you know, if you order a drink, you’re given a lovely, tasty snack.

We tried out Alhambra, and were treated to chicken wings. We supplemented these with a meat platter, pork loin with peppers and goats cheese in a blueberry sauce. Yum!

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Stuffed to the gills, we headed onto La Torre del Oro on Plaza Mayor, where we had beetroot and onion, and a potato salad. We also had olives but by that point I could not fit in any more food! This bar is a favourite with celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, and it has been visited by President Carter and several Kennedys.

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Tuesday, I had a proper Iberican jamon pizza. Yummy!

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And on Wednesday, we were back to tapas during the day, including these dainty smoked salmon, cream cheese & dill sandwiches, and cheeses in Cafe del Oriente. Yes, as you can tell, we had some vino to go with it…..

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In the evening, we visited Botin, which is the oldest restaurant in the world. Goya, Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene and Frederick Forsyth were all frequent visitors. It was amazing: we had the suckling pig, as recommended and mentioned by Hemingway in his novel ‘The Sun Also Rises’. I then had Bartolillos de Madrid, which are little pastry parcels filled with a lovely, sweet custardy cream. Oh, my!

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Thursday saw us visit Mercado de San Miguel. It was so busy, with locals and tourists feasting on all kinds of delights.

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There was lovely seafood and savoury snacks:

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These are not cakes – they’re buffalo mozzarella:

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And, of course, sweet treats:

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For lunch, we tried another local speciality: bocadillo con calamares. Amazing!

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And, of course, we had yet more tapas….. these are little breads topped with cheese and a spicy sausage, and of course, patatas bravas:

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Here’s one of the final dishes I had on Friday: it was fried sardines with padrons de pimentos. It tasted amazing!

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We also had churros, frozen yoghurt and lots of beer and wine 😉

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If I’m not at least 15 pounds heaver, I’ll be very surprised!