Playing Tourist

After over two weeks of apartment hunting, living out of suitcases, Anne’s busy pre-election work schedule, Kyle’s first round of pre-courses at IE, and dealing with lots of logistics – we decided it was time to ‘play tourist’ and explore our fabulous new city!

Saturday, October 23:

We finally broke out our copy of Fodor’s: Madrid’s 25 Best – What to see, Where to go, What to do and set out on an urban adventure with Abby in tow. We began by taking the metro to a neighborhood (barrio) called La Latina and wandered through the Plaza Mayor in search of the perfect lunch spot. The day was surprisingly warm and sunny so we settled in at a table on Plaza de Santa Cruz and enjoyed a leisurely lunch as street performers rotated through with their various forms of entertainment. Abby soaked up the sun curled up under our table – what a good puppy she is!

Next up was a walking tour from Fodor’s – we managed to get the general gist but took a few of our own detours (on purpose or not, we’ll leave to the imagination). We began in Puerta del Sol – one of the most touristy, crowded shopping and dining centers of Madrid – and weaved our way back to the Plaza Mayor to admire the street artwork for sale and the people enjoying lunch in the numerous café’s surrounding the plaza.

Eventually we made our way through the Plaza de Oriente to the monumental Palace Real (the Royal Palace) surrounded by expansive gardens and walking paths. At this point it became obvious that we were in desperate need of ice cream so we strayed from our guide book and enjoyed every bit of it. Back on track, we continued walking up to the Templo de Debod and enjoyed looking out over the city. We decided that at some point we’ll have to go back and take the ‘teleferico’ or cable car for an even better view.

We ended an already wonderful day by going out with the Dupre’s – a couple from Deleware that we met through Kyle’s program. Andrew is in the IMBA program with Kyle and Erin is his fabulous wife. We started out with wine and tapas at their apartment before venturing out in search of dinner. Andrew and Erin are vegetarians and have done their homework on veg restaurants in Madrid, so we headed toward Vegevara in the neighborhood of Chueca. It was about 10:30pm by the time we arrived and there were plenty of empty tables so we were shocked to find out that they were booked with reservations until 11:30pm. We were already struggling with the adjustment to eating dinner well after our usual U.S. time so we weren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves. Fortunately, we ended up stumbling upon a place we’d been to before – San Which – and took it as a sign that we should sit down and have veggie burgers at this new favorite spot! We finished the night with a stop at the “Museum of Ham” or “Museo de Jamon” which is a chain bar/restaurant known for being covered floor-to-ceiling with cured ham legs and just so happens to serve 1 euro cervezas.

Sunday, October 24:

El Rastro! This Sunday market near Madrid’s Puerta del Sol is one of Karina’s favorite spots to snap photos of graffiti, dread locks and streets swarming with people and lined by tapas bars. She headed out early to capture some prime photos and we joined Cesar to meet her around 11am. The streets were packed with booths overflowing with everything from boxer briefs with the Spanish flag (which Kyle was seriously tempted to buy) to artwork, scarves, and antiques. It’s like the Fremont Sunday Market on steroids and we loved it!

According to Cesar, El Rastro is only fully enjoyed with tapas bar hopping and we now completely agree. We started with cerveza and clara con limon (beer with lemon soda – quite refreshing) and croquetas, moved on to sardines and tasty roasted green peppers, and finished with yummy tortilla (egg and potato) with brava sauce (supposedly spicy, but pretty mild). Full stomachs and a few beers left us all ready for a serious siesta!

As we start to feel more settled in our new home, we’ll continue to ‘play tourist’ and make new friends…we’re planning to take full advantage of our “Ultimate Granderson Getaway!”

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One Response to “Playing Tourist”

  1. Yay! I love hearing about how you guys are going! I’m so glad you are having such a wonderful time!!! Can’t wait for our visit! Love you!!

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