Thursday, January 19, 2012

Home from a long weekend in Madrid - more to come

Hola y buenos dias!

I had a whirlwind trip to Madrid, just three nights.  Here are a few photos from the trip.  Just a few.

Plaza de la Villa:

Plaza Mayor:

Looking down San Jeronimo, at the church of the same name:

Mercado San Miguel (two):

From a tapas walking tour with Andres Jarabo.  The cheese is Tresviso-Bejar-Picon and the sherry is Pedro Ximenez-Bodegas Lustao. 

My first ever trip to Spain. Three nights in the capital - I took advantage of the long holiday weekend.

Highlights, with details to follow:

I stayed at the AC Palacio del Retiro. This is a 5 star converted palace (prior owner was the family who owned Spain's high speed rail system)) bang across the street from Parque del Buen Retiro. It well deserves its stars. It isn't huge, I'd say maybe 50, 60 rooms and a cozy reception area (contrast that with the Westin Palace for instance). High high ceilings and lots of wrought iron. The rooms are sleek, modern, and huge.   The people were so nice and helpful and the food/wine was fantastic.

Prado, and especially the Hermitage at the Prado. More on this later. It was so thrilling to me to see treasures from the Hermitage because who knows when I will make it there.

Reina Sofia - Picasso's Guernica.

Thyssen Bornemisza, and, as a special treat, when I set out Saturday the concierge let me know that the Thyssen had a special exhibit at their adjunct museum (which was not far from San Gines) which was just perfect. I am a huge Canaletto fan, and this exhibit was about him and his "rivals". My thoughts are that his rivals were all worthy, but seeing his work next to theirs reminded me of the difference between a regular photograph and then one taken with a polarizer. There is extra "pop" evident in his paintings that isn't quite there in the others.

Mercado San Miguel! LOVED IT. I wandered through all of it early, but as I had just eaten a late breakfast I didn't tarry. I went back around 4 PM and it was so crowded I couldn't find a place to even prop myself up. So many people enjoying the beautiful day and having food and drinks with their friends. Just lovely. So much fun. I'd love to go back with friends. Madrid (and I bet all of Spain?) seems like their people really enjoy the social life.

San Gines chocolateria. Of course. Gotta have churros and chocolate!

Palacio Real.

The wandering. I didn't wander as much as I would have liked, even though I did a LOT of walking. Wandering is aimless, my walking had aims for the most part (though some of it didn't). The perils of going for such a short trip.

The vino!

The sherry!

The queso!

The jamon! All of it!

The tapas! I wish I were there again. Somehow seems more fun when you combine "bar hopping" with some food too. More relaxed, less of a meat market feeling.

The Westin Palace. After the Thyssen (which was after the Reina Sofia) I decided just to plop. And plop I did, under the dome. A glass of vino tinto and a small meal.

Buen Retiro Park and the feral kitties I saw playing around the massive Monument to Alfonso XII. Also the police on horseback.

I had utterly no idea that they drank vermouth on tap.


MyriamC said...

"Bar hopping" in combination with some food is the way to go in the País Vasco (Basque Country). It's a pub cawl with actual food involved, called "txikiteo". You go from one pub to the next and eat pinxtos and drink txakolí (which is a sparkling dry white wine). Donostia (aka San Sebastián) is known for its great pinxtos bars. You should go there one day!

Hase said...

Great blog! I went to Barcelona (as seen on my blog) last year, and everybody told me to - if I had never been to Spain before - travel to Barcelona instead of going to Madrid. Your blog shows that Madrid also very much is worth a journey, thank you so much!

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