WELCOME TO MADRID, SPAIN!
We decided to take a long weekend and travel to Madrid, Spain. My cousin Libby and her husband live there so we thought it would be nice to visit family and also explore a new city. In brief, I will say that Madrid is much more commercialized / Americanized than Milan. For example, when we got off the plane there was a SUBWAY in the airport (I was pretty excited about that). Also, there was a plethora of Mc Donald’s, Burger Kings and KFC’s all over the city. The city itself is very beautiful, clean and the architecture is amazing! People seem to drive a little better and stay within their lanes, so that was a nice change from Italy. The metro system is huge and goes several miles under the city (or at least it seemed that way taking endless escalators down into the core of the earth).
We chose to stay at the Silken Puerta America Hotel which is about a $25-$30 cab ride from the airport and a bit less to get into the center of the city. Hotel Website Link
The Silken is a 5 star hotel that is very unique! It was made/developed by 19 different architects from 13 different countries. Each floor was designed completely different from the next, along with the rooms and all decor. I stopped on each floor with the exception of the 10th (you must have a special key to enter there) and took pictures to show how each floor out of the elevators looked:
Our floor was the black and white floor, meaning that which every room was either entirely all black or all white right down to the carpet, walls bathroom fixtures etc.. – here are some pictures of our room, we really enjoyed it and would recommend it to future visitors of Madrid!
The other really unique feature about this place was the way the room numbers are displayed – they are simply illuminated through your door along with any special requests you might have such as “do not disturb” and “breakfast please” we had fun playing with these!
Food Tour of Madrid
That evening we took a food/drink tour of the city with “Madrid Food Tour” Our tour guide James, is origionally from New Zealand but now resides in Madrid and is extremely knowledgable of the city, its history and places to eat where you can enjoy authentic Spanish style food. The tour consists of taking you to 4 separate bars to try the signature drink and the local tapas. Meet James with us crazy kids!
The first place they take you is called Taberna Real. Here you get to drink a form Vermouth that they mix with other things and enjoy some really great olives. Not only do they have pits, but you also simply throw them on the floor as a tradition.
The second location we went to was closed, so onward to the third spot La Venencia. This place was super old and had a ton of history. Here they brew their own Sherry (both white and dark) and it was quite a kick to it, so plan accordingly. Also, you are not allowed to take any photographs in this establishment, something to do with the fact that it was a political hang out a few hundred years ago. At this spot we also had some cured beef with crackers which is very good but rich. Pauly ventured to have some “tuna jerky” but didn’t eat more than a bite since everything seafood in Europe is “fishy”. The tour guide even got him to try some anchovies that were marinated in garlic……(i love these pics!)
Our last stop on the tour was El Lacon. This was the best place in my opinion because they had a pork dish served with french fries and it was all covered in what I can compare to a maple syrup. Plus we had some marinated mushrooms that were pretty tasty.
Along with the bars and restaurants you get to visit, you also walk around most of the downtown area of Madrid and get to see the Palace and many other landmarks that all have a historic story behind them. All and all the tour was a great experience and we would recommend it to people who wish to eat and drink around Madrid.
The image of Paul and I are above was taken at whats called the Origen de Las Carreteras Radiales. It is the Outside the former post office building is a stone slab, and is in the shape of a semi circular. It shows a map of Spain under a compass needle and bears the legend “Origen de las Carreteras radiales”, and the symbol “0km”. This is the point from where all distances are measured. All roads lead out from here.
Be on the look out for Madrid Getaway part 2 where we visit the Zoo/Aquarium and have some really delicious treats – should be up within the next few days!