Saturday, March 5, 2011

Madrid: Pics and Commentary

Let me start off by saying that Madrid was Sean and I's favorite city that we stopped at. In fact, Spain in general was just awesome. The food was amazing, it was probably the cheapest western European country we've visited and we had pleasant weather while we were there. Our flight from Amsterdam was delayed a few hours, but we still made it in plenty of time to enjoy a good 1.5 days there.

One of the first things we did after checking into our hostel, was to get some lunch. I had a calamari sandwich and Sean had a tortilla espanola sandwich. Both sandwiches were delish, but Sean's was my favorite.

I really don't have much to say about where we stayed. It was a hostel (Las Musas Residence) but it wasn't anything special. The location of it was nice, but I found the beds incredibly hard and noisy (we had bunkbeds). The breakfast was also less than stellar. I don't think if I'm ever in Madrid that I'd stay here again.

This is standing in Puerta del Sol looking at the Tio Pepe billboard (the only billboard that is allowed in the square)

After we walked around Puerta del Sol and the surrounding area, we decided to try our hand at tapas. Boy am I glad we did! I could probably live off tapas because there are so many choices and they are simply cooked and delicious! The above picture is pigs' ears with some spices and oils. I think they're fried, but don't quote me on that. I found them to be pretty tasty, similiar to bacon, but with some cartilage.

These are Pimentos de padron. Grilled jalapenos with salt, spices and oil. They were very, very tasty!

These covers have the official seal of Madrid on them: a bear with a Juniper tree.

An early morning, more expansive view of Puerta del Sol.

I loved these street signs with pictures on them. From what I understand, the pictures come from when back in the day when many people were illiterate and couldn't read the names, so they put pictures on the signs to help them.

This is Casa de Correos in Puerta del Sol. It is now a post office, but I believe when Franco was in power, his political prisoners were kept there.

There is a convent here where nuns make cookies/other sweets and sell them throughout the week. We came by on a Sunday when they are obviously closed (as the sign says) and we meant to come back the next day to get some, but forgot. I was so disappointed!

This is supposedly the oldest door in Madrid. How they know this, I have no idea, but it does indeed look quite ancient!

This is the Royal Palace of Madrid. You can go in and tour it, but we chose not to. For one, it was a bit pricier than we wanted to spend. Also, I've been in one palace and I got bored just looking at room after room after awhile. Besides Versailles, I'm not sure I'm really that interested in seeing another palace.

I liked this sign, just because it was eye-catching and it also has the last name of one of my friends on it.

We had a simple, but delish meal in the Museo del Jamon (Museum of Ham) There are several of these in Madrid and we wanted to try it out. We got two sandwiches, a plate of cheese and water for about 6 Euro. The ham in Spain is amazing, I think I almost like it better than prosciutto.

Blue roses at this huge antique market near our hostel. Seriously, it was massive. It had a huge number of stalls and a large crowd of people. I wanted to buy some old bullfighting posters, but space in the suitcase.

This camera was at the antique market. I'm not sure I've ever seen one of these for sale. Would have been awesome for my collection!

The street performers in Spain were by far the best I've ever seen. I still have no idea how this guy was hanging out like this.

While we were in Madrid, we checked out the Prado Museum which was on my "must-see" list. I was not disappointed. We happened to catch it when it was free, but of course the trade-off was that it was very crowded. I still was able to see some great works of art and really enjoyed the collection they had there. If you go to Madrid and you love art, I really recommend you checking it out.

If you ever go to Spain, get the churros and hot chocolate. You will NOT regret it!


Shoshanah said...

I would never thinking of making a calamari sandwich. But I do love calamari so I would be easily willing to try it.

And that last picture isn't how I picture a churro, but can only imagine it tastes better than the type I'm picturing!

Nicole said...

Beautiful pictures as always and I love reading about your travels!

Mowenackie said...

Very nice! Spain is on our list. Thanks for the preview!

This American Wife said...

Great pictures! Reminds me of the trip I took to Spain in high school. Madrid was my favorite city out of all the places we visited.

ines said...

great post! btw, you have officially made me
Glad you enjoyed "my" city :)

Uncork and Unwined said...

That food looks delicious! We are talking about going to Spain for our anniversary in May!

kd said...

So glad you had fun! I wish I could have recommended the hostel we stayed at! And El Mercado de San Miguel.

Spain is definitely our favorite country, too. The people are the best!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think I remember Rick Steves or Samantha Brown getting sweets from the nuns at that window! We never expected to fall in love with Spain like we did, but after visiting Barcelona, I definitely want to go back and visit other parts of the country. It really is an incredible place!

Ailinh Harris said...

What amazing photos! I hope someday we can get to go to Spain and try out the things that you guys have tried out. Looks so fun!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

The photos look amazing!!! It looks like you had a wonderful time!!