36 Hours, 36 Miles, 36… Tapas?

 

afterlightTapas. I could add some photos and leave my weekend summary here feeling I’ve aptly summed up the last weekend’s activities, but alas. Madrid was too amazing to be summed up in a single word, and yet the few hundred words to follow won’t come close to describing the lively city, or my weekend there.

Warning: I went with friend and fellow foodie Bea, which added up to a few things: a mutual willingness to walk to the ends of the earth (or Madrid, at least) for some perfect tapas and delicious sangria coffee– and lots of pictures of that food.

We arrived Thursday night, and had a return flight to London mid-morning on Sunday. During our 36 hours there, we walked a total of over 36 miles, wanting to see, do, and eat all Madrid had to offer. We started early, going straight from the airport– luggage and all– to Gran Via for tapas round one (pictured above). The night was so nice that we were able to eat outside, already a nice change of scenery from our beloved (albeit dreary) London.

IMG_0879Friday, we got an early start with breakfast at a Chocolatería, but decided to save churros con chocolate for later, opting instead for toast with chocolate,almonds and olive  oil (the toast wasn’t fried, so it was healthy… right?).

Heading over to Gran Via,IMG_2033 we took in the morning sun (and our food babies) before walking around Plaza del Sol and finding Cervecería Almanca, one of the many places in Madrid Hemingway (my favorite author) frequented.

At lunch, we walked around the market, finally settling on a mozzarella + jamón olive skewer and black squid ink paella. IMG_3031We visited the Temple of Debod which overlooks the cityscape at sunset and ended our very long day with tapas round two.

After a quick run Saturday morning, we headed off to visit a couple museums.We first visited the Reina Sofia, where we effectively had our minds blown by Dalí. On the way to the Prado, we stopped by the Vertical Garden. This fantastic garden is easily overlooked– literally growing on one wall of a building (a bank, I think), but is a must-see, and conveniently near the Prado Museum.IMG_9481

And although Reina Sofia and the Prado were both incredible museums, our inside scoop/personal tour via Bea’s sister Julia (who works at the Prado) made our experience at the Prado all the more better. She showed us to the most important pieces in the museum (along with some of her favorites) and told us the history and stories behind the paintings–Thanks Julia!!

IMG_1446

After devouring churros con chocolate for lunch (can I make that I regular lunch staple ??!), we did some more exploring around Plaza del Sol and Plaza Mayor before making our way over to the Crystal Palace at sunset. Although we just missed being able to go inside the palace, the view was absolutely incredible.

For our final dinner, we had very specific tapas in mind, and we were not going to give up until we found them. After walking 90 minutes and reading so many menus we lost count, we both found that we could no long read the menus (either from hunger or having read too many menus, or both) and settled in at a place. We were so hungry we forgot to have a photoshoot snap a quick picture of our food– a true testament to just how hungry (exhausted, and happy) we both were at the end of the day.

All in all: 36 hours, 36 miles, and who knows how many tapas later, instead of checking off my “to see” list, I think I just moved Madrid to my “must re-visit” list.

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