Madrid, Spain

Vacaciones en Madrid

Voy a escribir en español otra vez pero yo escribir en ingles tambien porque todo mis amigos y familia no pueden leer mi espanol probablemente.  Corey y yo fuimos a Madrid para Feriado Bancario en Augosto y el cumpleanos de Corey tambien.

I’m going to write in Spanish again but I will also write in English because not all of my friends and family can read my Spanish probably. Corey and I went to Madrid for the Bank Holiday in August to celebrate the three day weekend, and also to celebrate Corey’s belated birthday.

Dia Uno: Nosotros llegamos en Madrid en la tarde de noche.  El vuelo fue simpatico y nuestra hotel es a cerca de Parque Del Retiro.  Nosotros caminamos al restaurante La Maquina de Jorge Juan porque una amiga de Corey lo sugirió.  El carne estaba muy bien!  Me sorprendió porque yo no me gusta mas carne normalmente pero en este noche, yo lo quiero.

Day One: We arrived in Madrid late in the evening.  It was an easy trip and our hotel was very close to Retiro Park.  Corey’s colleague suggested many restaurants so we picked one that was within walking distance: La Maquina de Jorge Juan.  The steak was very good. I was surprised because I never order red meat but that night I’m glad I wanted it.

Dia Dos: Este dia, nosotros caminamos todo del dia.  Pense los nubes ayudaron porque el sol no toco mi.  Madrid tiene las calles grandes con arboles y plazas en los barrios.  Cuando yo fui a Madrid con mi familia, mi lugar favorito fue Museo Reina Sofia.  Claro que si, yo quise ir al Museo otra vez para compartir con Corey.  Nosotros caminamos al frente de una iglesia, Los Jeronimos, y Museo Prado, pero no entramos.  Nosotros comimos almuerzo en la restaurante Fabrica, una lugar en el periodico New York Times.  El tomato con jamon y pan fue la comida mejor. Bebimos vino porque fue temprano pero los cocteles tenian nombres de artistas como Ai Wei Wei. 

Day  Two: This day, we basically walked all day!  Madrid has really grand vias with trees and plazas around every corner, in every neighborhood.  When I came to Madrid with my family, my favorite place was the Reina Sofia Museum so I wanted to head back there first thing to bring Corey.  We walked by the Los Jeronimos church and the Prado, but we didn’t go inside.  We stopped in for lunch at Fabrica, a restaurant suggested by the 36 Hours in NYtimes article.  The sundried tomatoes and jamon bite was the best thing we had, and it was served right after you placed your order.  We had wine as we were just starting the day, but the cocktails were named after artists like Ai Wei Wei.

Cuando nosotros caminamos al museo, miramos el Green Wall, a cerca de el Caixa Forum, un otro lugar de artists.  Nosotros reunimos con el Trenton amigo de Corey.  Ellos jugaron balencesto en la escuela. Es verdad!  Justin y Nida, su esposa, viven en Qatar y ellos visitaron Espana tambien!  Es un mundo pequeno, no?

Museo Reina Sofia todovia un museo maravilloso.  La exposition sobre de Picasso: Pity and Terror- Picasso’s Path to Guernica fue en el museo. Mi parte favorita es las pinturas primeros que se ayudaron Picasso con su mural final.  Corey le gusto los cuartos con picturas de surrialistas como Dali.

On our way to the Reina Sofia, we passed the Green Wall, next to the Caixa Forum, another art space.  We also ran into Corey’s friend from Trenton, who used to play basketball with him in middle school!  Justin and his wife, Nida, are living in Qatar, and just happened to be vacationing in Spain at the exact same time!  Such a small world!

The Reina Sofia museum was as wonderful as I remember it.  One of the special exhibitions was actually about Picasso:  Pity and Terror- Picasso’s Path to Guernica.  My favorite part of the museum is seeing the multiple sketches and studies of each section of the great mural.  I loved the variety of mediums and how these were assembled leading up to his final painting.  Corey enjoyed the three to four rooms of the surrealist painters as his beloved Dali was on display.

Afuera de Museo Reina Sofia, fue un cafe que se nombre El Brillante.  Todo la gente tenian calamari frito y pan.  Claro, nosotros comimos un tambien.  Necessitas limon o la comida en el Mercado de San Miguel es mejor.  Nosotros tomimos un autobus a Plaza Mayor.  Yo recorde la plaza cuando mis hermanas y papa visitaron.  Cerca de la plaza es una calle que se llama Calle De Factor.  Es una calle pequena pero hay un calle bonita porque tenemos un bella bonita.

Directly to the right of the Reina Sofia is a cafe called El Brillante.  There were so many people sitting outside with fried calamari baguettes that we had to split one as well before walking to the next landmarks.  Definitely ask for lemon, or it might be a better bet heading for the market place near Plaza Mayor.  We ended up on the bus to Plaza Mayor, and didn’t end up spending much time there.  We had a few tapas that we couldn’t resist at Mercado de San Miguel, but admittedly weren’t too hungry after our stop at El Brillante.  I definitely remember the plaza and market on my trip with my dad and my sisters.  We continued our walk to Palacio Real through we detoured down a small street that took us to a lovely look out over the palace (Calle De Factor).

Caminamos todo del dia, si?!  Antes de Palacio Real fue Jardines de Sabatini.  Es un jardin con mazes y es una lugar por una siesta pequena.  Tambien, estaba fresco con los arboles y fuentes de agua.  El Templo de Debod no estaba interesante para mi pero me gusta El Parque de Oeste porque tenian la gente local.  Hay touristas pero mas joven de Madrid en las ropas punk y goth. 

Yup, we are still walking at this point! Behind Palacio Real is Sabatini Garden, a garden with mazes to explore or a place to rest your feet.  It felt cooler amidst the shrubs and fountains.  If your next goal is to walk to Templo de Debod, as ours was, exit the park and keep on the highroad. Don’t walk down the stairs to the far left as this takes you to the street level (below the overpass).  You’ll walk under the overpass that you need to get up to the park and then you’ll need to walk up way more flights of stairs to get to the temple. I was underwhelmed by the Egyptian temple but Oeste Park was nice since it’s much more local than some of the other plazas.  Yes, there are tourists, but there are also lawns full of families spending an afternoon, as well as Madrid’s teenagers, mainly in punk and goth fashion with alternative hairstyles.

Despues El Parque de Oeste, nosotros caminamos al Gran Via- como Broadway en Nueva York.  En realidad, no pense ellos necesitan viajar en la calle, pero estaba un via a nuestra hotel.  En el barrio Salamanca, hay una restaurante que se llama Ten Con Ten y nosotros comimos al dentro por las cumpleanos de Corey.  Me gusto las cachofas porque no necessite trabajo. Me gusto fuentes de agua en mi video!

After the visit to Oeste park, we walked on the Gran Via, which is basically the main tourist thoroughfare in Madrid.  In reality, I don’t think you need to seek out this street as you’ll probably run into it at some point while making your way around Madrid.  And if you don’t, it’s not a big deal at all. We walked this route because it was on our way back to our hotel.  We had dinner in the Salamanca neighborhood at Ten Con Ten.  It’s an upscale neighborhood with this really cool waterfall (see below how it spells out words!).  I liked the artichokes appetizer because you didn’t have to do any work peeling the leaves from the choke!

Dia Tres:  Nosotros dormimos muchisimo!  Levantamos a las doce!  Es verdad!  Fuimos as Barrio Chueco por desayuno? o por almuerzo?  El barrio tenian calles lindas pero en Domingo, no estan abiertos.   

Day Three: I can’t remember ever sleeping in so late while on vacation. We are usually up and about, ready for an excursion bright and early!  But on this day, we slept in until noon!!!  We walked to the Chueco neighborhood, but most of the galleries and cute stores were closed on Sunday either because it was Sunday or because it was still August and most of Europe is on vacation during this month.  I wish we could have stayed longer to check out the bars with vermouth on tap or the curio shops with great window decorations.  We had a few toasts at San Anton market but I’ll be back Chueco!

Despues nuestra tostadas, caminamos al barrio Lavapies porque nosotros tenimos una reservacion con Justin y Nida en El Sur.  Nosotros comimos por tres horas! Cuando en Espana, no?  Me enamore con salmorejo!!!  Cuando bebimos sangria, nosotoros hablamos sobre de nuestras vidas.

After our tapas snack, we walked to Lavapies neighborhood for our lunch with Justin and Nida at El Sur.  We ate for three hours!! When in Spain, right?  I fell in love with salmorejo that memorable Sunday.  While drinking sangria, we learned about each others’ lives since AAU basketball!

Despues de la reunion, Corey y yo miramos el barrio Lavapies.  Hay mas graffiti pinturas politicas. Me guste el barrio tambien.  Tenemos churros con chocolate en Chocolateria San Gines cerca de Plaza Mayor (si, mas caminando).  La linea es largo pero no estaba mas tiempo.  Un orden fue bastante para nosotros. 

After our reunion, we wanted to see more of the Lavapies neighborhood. There are tons of non/political graffiti art and murals.  We worked up a hunger from walking- not really, but I wanted to have churros con chocolate with Corey.  At Chocolateria San Gines between Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, the line is long but it doesn’t take a lot of time.  One order was enough for us!  It’s a must in Madrid!

Es tiempo para futbol!  Mi regalo a Corey por su cumpleanos fue un viaje a Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.  Nosotros montamos en el autobus como la gente de Madrid.  Antes del juego, Bernabeu estaba ‘humming’.  La gente espero por el Real Madrid autobus.  Ninos estaban en los hombros de sus dadas y mamas porque los miraron. Cuando el autobus llegaron, ellos gritaron pero el equipo Real Madrid no bajo el autobus.  Estaba bien.  Compramos palomitas como Daisuke y miramos el juego!

I can’t translate this entire section (mainly the parts about describing the futbol game so I’ll have to add more in the English section for this bit).  It’s time for futbol! Corey’s birthday gift were the tickets to a Real Madrid game at the famous Santiago Bernabeu stadium.  We rode the bus with the Madrid fans an over an hour before game time. Around the stadium, it was humming with hawkers and fans.  We started to walk the circumference of the stadium and on one end, there was a crowd of people waiting. We noted it was near the car park and guessed correctly that the team bus would be coming around shortly.  The crowd moved forward in a wave, kids were hoisted onto their parents’ shoulders, and phones shot up into the air  as the bus rounded the corner and drove slowly down the hill towards the fans.  A cheer erupted when the bus was in sight, but it was anti-climatic as the bus doesn’t even drive through the crowd to the car park. It turns right before the stadium and must go through some secret entrance?!

Either way, we took a slightly longer walk away from the stadium to see the neighborhood and the apartment buildings and the small restaurants just begging for me to come in.  But it was near game time, so we trekked back, picked up some palomitas just like Daisuke likes to eat during games and climbed to the top of the stadium for our nosebleed seats (!).  Being 25 minutes early, the stadium didn’t seem like it could fill up for a Sunday night game at 10:15pm.  Boy, was I wrong.  Basically at 5 minutes to the match, the seats were full and the energy was already starting to build.  Real Madrid was taking on Valencia- a seemingly easy win.  But it ended up being one of those matches where the dominant team spends all the time taking shots on goal, but with a couple random break-aways, the scrappier team scored first.  The match ended in a tie and we walked all the way home after the match (7000 steps after midnight)!

Dia Cuatro: El fin dia, corri en El Retiro.  Hay una lugar con vistas bellas!  Despues, llenamos nuesta equipaje y comimos pan con tomate (mi favorita!).  Pero, cuando comimos, comenzo a echar lluvia y graniza! ( didn’t know how to say hail at all).  Necessitamos esperar en la restaurante por trenta minutos mas!  No caminamos en la lluvia sin paraguas.  Nuestra hotel nos ayudo!  Despues, caminamos a El Retiro y queremos tapas.  Arzabal es mejor, la gente!!!

The last day, I took a jog in El Retiro park.  It’s got some gorgeous tree-lined lanes and there were lots of runners up early.  After my run, we packed our bags and went in search of pan con tomate, my favorite breakfast from the last time I was in Madrid.  I’m not sure it’s an actual breakfast, but we found it at a local cafe.  While we were eating, it started pouring and hailing! We were stuck in the restaurant for an extra half hour!  We couldn’t walk around without going back to the hotel for umbrellas.   Luckily, they helped us out, and then we strolled El Retiro park, not wanting to go far from the hotel in case it started pouring again.

Then we did something pretty hilarious. We made the decision that we needed to eat at one last delicious place for lunch.  Arzabal was the best, people! Order the bread and butter to start. You will be amazed at what comes to your table! The house wine is called ‘Terrible’ but it’s yummy.  I had to have my second bowl of salmorejo and more jamon. Corey opted for chicken wings for our final meal before heading to the airport!

Quick Hits aka My Favorites:

  • Visit the Reina Sofia museum: Both the Reina Sofia and the Prado have times during the week where there is free entry. Check the days of the week, and the timings are usually in the evening
  • Have churros y chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines between Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol
  • Stroll through Retiro Park, or Oeste Park or any park for that matter- bonus if you pack a lunch or do your daily jog there!
  • Eat at Mercado de San Miguel but note it’s usually crowded with tourists.
  • Eat at Arzabal seen here. Order bread and butter, and the salmorejo.  Anything else you take on is probably also delicious, too!  The ‘Terrible’ house wine is yummy.
  • Tour the numerous neighborhoods in Madrid: I’d go back to Chueca, and Lavapies.  I also wanted to check out La Latina on Sunday but we woke up too late! Apparently, there is a great market and people are out all day having food and drinks.
  • See a futbol game if you can. Even if you’re in the nosebleeds, it’s really a good time.

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