Boy oh boy I am busy… Well, admittedly last weekend was spent only watching movies and preparing cupcakes, but still. We are now close enough to the wedding that I have a proper to-do list for it (involving baked goods, the dress and such are taken care of!). This Thursday the baking course is over ( written and practical tests) and after that I am a free woman :). Come to me nail varnish! But let’s now go back to Madrid, ever so briefly!
I left you after our lovely dinner at Mad Café. We definitely needed energy for the following day…
Our third full day in the capital was spent walking a LOT. We woke up and had a lovely breakfast at Cookies and Dreams. Yes, this is Alma’s cupcakes shop! Alma! My mentor and Yoda, Alma! Hi Alma, I am here, waving at you from the Internet!!!! One day I will meet her 🙂 (she smiled, crazily). We had a lovely brownie and cheesecake and a couple of cupcakes, a coffee, and off we went.
It was Saint Jordi, or World Book Day. In Catalunya, it’s a tradition to buy a book and a rose for your loved ones and to honour it, we bought books and roses for ourselves. Here a snapshot of the outcome of this expedition:
(for whatever reason, in the hostel room the light was very heavenly)
After that, we started our descent to Madrid Río. This park was built on top of one of the busiest ring roads in Madrid. The ring road now lies underneath the massive green area that was built on the banks of the Manzanares, Madrid’s river. On one end of it, we have Príncipe Pío, a train station / shopping centre. At the other end, we have Legazpi and the Matadero (an abattoir made exposition centre / hipster central). In the middle some kilometres of green spaces, “the beach” (fountains open only during summer where the poor madrileños go to fight the heat off), terraced bars and playgrounds. Madrid Río is neighbours another huge park, Casa de Campo. Casa de Campo is so big that it contains a zoo and an amusement park and it used to be THE place to find prostitutes in Madrid (apart from Calle Montera, straight in the city centre, of course). Now it’s closed to traffic and you can only enter on foot or on your bike. You have little hills, and mountain bike routes, and in the middle of it, you can forget that you are in Madrid. There is also a lake, which is currently being cleaned, close to Madrid Río’s entrance. You can easily hike there and have a beer at a table overlooking the water.
We walked all the way to Matadero, stopping every now and then for refreshments (read: beer), taking a picture with the good old Calderón (if you are a football fan, it’s Atlético de Madrid’s former stadium) and enjoying the sunshine. By then we were very tired. We still managed to walk all the way up (again! Madrid is not a plain city, in any sense) to Huertas, where we found a bar and had some huevos rotos before collapsing on our bed.
Big day the one after that! Not from a touristic point of view, though. We started off with some lovely tostas con tomate (you may call them bruschettas for breakfast, but I like them better, since the tomato is not diced but grated and you assemble them yourself) and we went for a quick walk in the Retiro.
Fun fact: in the Retiro you will find one of the few statues of the devil as the fallen angel Lucifer (wings and all). On we went and had a walk (not too much of a walk, though, since the day before we had been already good enough) around the Salamanca neighbourhood, home of the posh and the expensive. It’s very easy to get around, since the layout of the area is grid-like (thank you, Marquis of Salamanca). We were not there to admire the posh and the expensive, though, we were there for a concert! Arcade Fire were playing in the WiZink arena (Real Madrid’s basketball arena) that evening, so very soon we were sitting down in the nice square in front of the building, listening in surreal conversations happening all around us. The concert was amazing, thank you for asking. We had also had plenty of refreshments, which added to the excitement.
There is no need to look at our sad selves on the morning after, leaving Madrid, hungover, having a burger at 8 in the morning at the airport. There is really no need for that.
Just go to Madrid and experience first-hand their welcoming attitude, the food, the bars, the strolls. You will love it 🙂