Super late post. Two weeks to be exact. I’m not too happy about this but I did have my break away from Pamplona only to get back with yes you guess it: more accounting. 😥
So that break I had was the long weekend of All Saint’s Day: Thursday – Sunday. This is what the Spanish would call puente festivo – a holiday that falls on a Tuesday or Thursday is stringed together with the weekend. This is the exactly my kind of weekend. I have long ago learned how to maximize its benefits. 😉
I left Pamplona at 7am of November 1st and arrived in Madrid by 12:30. I haven’t slept a wink on the bus and was with only 2 hours of sleep cos I partied til 3:30am (it’s Halloween!). I was to see Phyllis again, my very good friend I met in the Brandtology Sg office. She was travelling together with Cassandra, a colleague of ours who I will be meeting in person for the first time. Madrid was the last leg of their Spain tour. They have already passed by Barcelona (where they watched a Barca football match), Zaragoza and Valencia.
Arriving at Hostel Santillan (highly recommended by the way) I stepped into this old style elevator.
It reminded me of this scene from a French movie I really liked.
First order of the day after exchanging a few (or more) stories by the hostel was to grab lunch. We decided to drop by the Tourism Office to have an idea where to eat. We got us a booklet of restaurants and we decided to eat by Plaza Mayor.
A few minutes walk from Plaza Mayor is the famed Puerta del Sol. It was really crowded owing to the fact that it was a holiday. Mascots and street artists were everywhere.
The second photo above with the alien-looking monster, well I took the photo just to capture the cute guy with the shades looking at it. 😛 When I told ze girls about this Cassandra was all for asking the guy if we could take a photo with him which I totally think isn’t a good idea. I would totally go :oops:. I’m happy just to admire from afar haha. This is the moment where we officially started playing “spot the hot guy.”
Passing by an über delectable pastry shop we took some photos. Hueso de santo (translates as saint’s bone) which is this type of pastry they sell during this exact time of the year when they are needed were on display.
Late afternoon we decided to check out the stores dotting Gran Vía. Our hostel is situated in this shopping district so we hit the shops, went back to the hostel and went to Chueca, the gay neighborhood, for dinner.
We walked from the hostel to Chueca which is roughly 10 mins away. With our walk we continued to play “spot the hot guy” and boy there were many. And lots of gay too which we have deduced were all heading to Chueca. It was the first time I’ve seen gay people holding hands in public.
In Chueca there are a lot of barkers or PR persons who entice people to eat at their restaurants or go to their clubs. One came near us and was inviting us to their restaurant for a caña (a glass of beer). I decided (cos the girls seems to be indifferent) that we go take a look at their prices and leave immediately if we find it expensive. Soon we were seated down at this cozy and nicely decorated restaurant. And the price was really, as in, really reasonable.
Check out the generous serving of costilla de ternera I ordered.
And this is just 9€! The wine was by invitation so that was all I paid. I think this is the first time in my life that I was really impressed with a restaurant. Instead of a bread basket they make use of a paper bag which they reuse. Totally digging it!
Great food, impeccable service, nice ambiance and a reasonable price – all CHECK!
Juan & Juan in Chueca, Madrid = AWESOME.
The following day in search of breakfast we stumbled by the Calle San Ginés. Upon seeing it I quickly blabbed to the girls that there’s this famous Chocolatería San Ginés we should try. For a churros lover like me I have longed to visit this churros factory (figurative sense) and I almost forgot it! Call it destiny; it was still my kismet to pass by the street and be welcomed into churros heaven’s door.
It was decided then and there to have churros for breakfast.
3.80€ for six pieces is truly a lot for one sitting and we ordered three of this. I almost didn’t finish mine. We got greedy but we learned a lesson here: it’s always better to share food. Both easy on the stomach and the wallet.
We were having quite a spell of rain showers in all of Spain lately so when we learned from the previous night that Friday will be without rain, we opted to stay in Madrid and postponed our trip to neighboring Toledo for Saturday.
We took advantage of the sunny weather to cover touristic spots in Madrid. 🙂
I find the Plaza de España in Sevilla much more impressive than Madrid’s.
Two museums I would love to explore on another time: Museo del Prado and Reina Sofia
To see some paintings of this Spanish master painter.
The Central Park of Madrid: Retiro Park
Passing by Puerta de Alcalá again at night.
And to cap of the day we did more shopping at Gran Vía. I swear I need to stay off that area when I do live in Madrid or else I’ll suffer the same predicament as the Spanish banks haha.