Trippin – Eating around Madrid

Our hotel rate didn’t come with breakfast, so we usually grabbed something while walking around.  Usually it consisted of us grabbing coffee somewhere, like Starbucks (yeah I know, way to be American), along with some sort of pastry as we walked to our destination.  One day we had churros with chocolate for breakfast.  I know you’re saying “you had dessert from breakfast?”  Yes, we did.  It is a breakfast item in spain.  Churros in Spain are NOT the cinnamon sugar delight you eat at the fair or amusement park.  In Spain, churros are breakfast items and if there is sugar on it, it is powdered sugar and only a touch of it.  They are eaten with hot thick chocolate (which you dunk the churros into) that is semi sweet, that you could drink, but I didn’t.  This is how I was introduced to churros when I was younger.  These my friends are the REAL DEAL.  Churros the purists way if you may.

YUMMMY!

And we went to THE churros place in Madrid, Chocolateria San Gines.  If you make it to Madrid, I definitely recommend you go here.  The only thing they serve here is churros.  They’ve been in business for years, meaning they know what they’re doing.

Lunch was a grab and go thing as well, so we usually ate sandwiches.  All the jamon serrano con queso or chorizo con queso sandwiches we could get.  Plus it was the cheaper option.  So good!

Our dinners in Madrid were typically tapas.  We know there was more to the Spanish cuisine than tapas but with tapas you get SO many different dishes at a cheaper price.  My favorite?  Patatas Bravas, but give me potato anything and I’ll eat it.  Especially if it’s deep fried.  😛

Our first meal.  12 small tapas complete with sangria for 23 euros.  It’s dfeinitely an afforadble meal.  This meal came with cod (which is that mushy stuff on the left), machego cheese, calamari, croquettes, shrimp, patatas bravas, sausages, and pequillo peppers (yummy! new favorite after this trip).  

Garlic, beans, ham, and scrambled egg.  Don’t knock til you try it.  It was DEELISH!

Another type of meal that is popular in Spain, alongside tapas, is pinchos.  They’re even smaller bites than tapas.  Usually this is a small sandwich or something on top of a baguette (kind of like bruschetta but varies between meatless or meat toppings).  One night we tried bacalao (cod) pinchos at San Miguel market.

I was so fascinated by bacalao because I watched No Reservations and Bizarre Food episodes of Spain before we left and both hosts talked about bacalao.  Sounds so cool.  BA-CA-LAO.  😛

Top to bottom:  Octopus, Bacalao Ajaorriero, Bacalao Marinado (classic)
The Marinated cod was buttery and had a clean taste with the dill but I was definitely feeling the Ajoarriero marinade.  Not sure what spices are but it was GOOD!
 

Most of the dishes we had were really delicious.  But wait, you’re asking you were in Spain, why didn’t you have paella right?  The hubs had it while we were in Madrid but I did not.  The restaurants we stopped by were selling it for some outrageous price, about 40 euros for a plate to share.  Wasn’t trying to spend all that.  But I definitely got my fix in Barcelona at a classic restaurant.
All this food talk is getting me hungry, until next time hasta luego.

Trippin – Madrid

First stop on our trip.  We should’ve done better research in terms of selecting which dates to go to Madrid.  We didn’t know until a couples day before we left that the World Youth Day Festival was going on while we were going to be there.  Due to WYD, the Pope was schedule to celebrate mass in Madrid and arrived the day before we arrived.  We arrived on a Saturday and the majority of the WYD attendants were headed to the Papal site (to camp out for mass the next day) via metro.  Here’s the kicker it was the SAME line that we needed to take from the airport to our hotel.  😦 It was miserable.  However with everyone out at the Papal site on Saturday and Sunday, it left the city open for our tourist adventures without ridiculous crowds everywhere.  Can’t say the same about Monday though.

Madrid is definitely a historical city.  If you’re a history buff, it’s definitely the place to go.  Also if you’re into architecture, but I’d say that about most European cities.  I think buildings in most European cities are beautiful.  They range from historical to modern.  It definitely gives the city character.

In love with the buildings

Gran Via

Madrid has a special place in my heart.  When I was younger, I used to come to Spain almost every Spring Break for 3 years when we lived in Naples.  My Godfather lived in Seville, so we would visit him.  We went to Madrid on one of those trips.  When we came here, my dad told me we were great great great descendants of King Felipe.  Being the gullible child that I am, I thought Felipe was his last name and we were actually related.  😛  But it gave me joy to be in front of the Palacio Real again after 20 years.  This time with my husband.  While it’s nice going to places together that neither of us have been to before, it’s also nice sharing a city with the other.  It’s a different experience and appreciation.

Palacio Real

My favorite thing in Madrid?  Going to a bullfight.  While I LOVED the history and the buildings, it was exciting to do something different other than sightsee.  It is a gruesome sport and I did have to turn my head away.  Poor bulls, but it was fun.  If you watch the Madrid video, the hubs does explain bullfights are a Sunday spectacle in Spain, especially from May to October.

 Outside the bullfighting arena.

Another favorite?  Trying to have Spanish contests with the husband.  Whenever we had to ask a question or order something, we’d take turns and grade each other.  He won most of the time.  He got bonus points for speaking complete Spanish (even through it was broken) to an employee at a mobile provider store asking for data only on our unlocked phone.  I observed as this conversation was going on.  It well but it was definitely an interesting 5 minutes.

Least favorite thing?  Dealing with the crowds and loud teenagers.  I tried to tell myself, I was one at one point but that thought process was not working.  😛  Madrid would have still been touristy if WYD was not going on but I’d like to think not as chaotic at some points.  Perhaps I’m just getting older. 😦

Lets take a trip via pictures shall we?

Puerto Del Sol

Plaza del Sol y Sol Metro.  See the crowds and the flags?  WYD kids.

Plaza Mayor.  You may remember this if you’ve watched Vantage Point.

Interesting deco on the buildings at Plaza Mayor

Parque Del Retiro

Sideview of San Francisco Cathedral

The front of the Cathedral.  See more WYD kids in the background?

Inside the church

Beautiful

Santiago Bernabeau Stadium – Home of Real Madrid

There are more photos of the various sites we visited in Madrid, but I wanted to share my favorite pictures that I took of the city.  Up next is our food adventure in Madrid.  It’s a goodie!  Stay tuned!

take a trip with me

I’m finally up and about (kinda).  Last week was rough.  The day after we got back from VA, I started catching a cold.  Then it just progressed after that.  Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headaches, etc.  It was miserable.  Plus add to the fact that our vacation was REALLY over, so I had a bit of the vacation blues.  Vacation had been over for a week since I was back to work at our headquarters (which is in VA), but it still felt like we were on vacation since I was hanging out with my adorable nieces & fabulous family in VA.  Anyhow, I’ve somewhat recovered from my sickness although the symptoms of my cold are slowly fading.

I promised I’d share my vacation with you.  For now, I’m sharing a video (errr videos since the hubs had to break it into two parts) that the hubs (who is oh so creative) created of our trip.  He took all our videos (we’re talking hours of video) and condensed it to 20 minutes.   He did this a couple years ago when we went to London and Paris.

I’ll still post about the individual cities along with photos throughout the next week or two.  But for now, go ahead and pop some popcorn and take a trip with me to Southwestern Europe.  Enjoy!

Madrid & Marrakech

Barcelona & Lisbon