May 11, 2014


Madrid at Twilight

Several months after returning home I am finally sharing some highlights of our trip to Spain! In Madrid we tapa-ed our way through most meals, dipped greasy churros into thick chocolate at San Gines, and ate an unreasonable amount of jamon iberico.

La Casa del Abuelo
La Casa del Abuelo is a casual little restaurant just a few short blocks from the Plaza Mayor and Plaza del Sol serving hearty tapas and good beer and sangria. For us, it was the highlight of Madrid Food Tours's Ultimate Spanish Cuisine tour! Although both busy with locals and on the tourist-track, our group of eight arrived early and got a table. We had so much great bar food, including fried squid, blood sausage, patatas bravas, mussels, and grilled peppers.

Fabrica Maravillas
This tiny little bar and craft beer brewery is about the closest thing to 'hipster' that we found in Madrid. It's located in what seems to be an emerging neighborhood north of the Plaza de Sol: Fabrica Maravillas ("Manufactures Wonders" - love it!). The beers were solid, especially the saison and stout.


The Prado and Reina Sofia Museums
European city museums are just astounding. In Madrid, within blocks of one another, the Prado and Reina Sofia museums have collections that span centuries and include many of the most compelling and important works of art in history.

At the Prado, I especially enjoyed seeing in person Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights, Fra Angelico's Annunciation, and the gallery of Goya's "Black Paintings". At the Reina Sofia, Picasso's Guernica was surprisingly moving given that it is so well-known through images.

Reina Sofia museum 
Guernica as it appeared in San Francisco in 1939 @SFMOMA

Mercado de San Miguel
Just a few minutes away from our rented apartment, the Mercado de San Miguel is a restored beaux-arts upscale food market that is popular with tourists. The Mercado is an ideal spot for a snack, grazing meal, or drink. We stopped in every day to sample the foods and drink offered. Our favorite were the vermouth (vermut) stall featuring locally-made, strongly herbal varieties, and angules. "Gules" are tiny eels marinated in garlic which are seasonal and considered a delicacy.

Mercado de San Miguel

Local Vermut

Anytime we stay somewhere three nights or more we try to rent an apartment instead of stay at a hotel. With apartments we fell like we have a more authentic experience, usually meet our neighbors, and it's just more comfortable and cost efficient. We like to make our own coffee and have lazy mornings- it is vacation after all!

I exhaustively research places to stay. In Madrid we chose a small loft apartment managed by Spain Select. I also really like this one.

Following Madrid we went to Sevilla before coming back for one more night. We chose to stay at Hotel One Shot 23, a fantastic modern and well-priced hotel in a great location.

We look forward to visiting more of Spain!

Jamon vending machine in the train station.

1 comment:

  1. Hi cute lady- your links to the apartments you likes are dead. I want to see! :)
    Also, this looks like a cozy trip!