Madrid is Spain's capital and one of its largest cities. It's also one of the cheaper countries in Western Europe. Reasonable prices, beautiful architecture, yummy food, lively nightlife make Madrid a sought after destination for one and all. As soon as you step foot in the city you can see it breathe around you! It is one of the most liveliest cities in the Western Europe. Madrid may lack the romance of Paris, and the history of Rome but it doesn't make it any less exciting. It is a city of passion and life, music and dance, good food and better wines. And it is an artistic city which can confidently claim the title of 'Culinary Capital' of Europe!Cheapest Month To Fly: October 2017 from AhmedabadMust Visit: Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid Royal Palace, Prado Museum and Plaza MayorMust Eat: Tapas, Tortilla Espanola, Gazpacho, Seafood Paella and SangriaMust Do: Dine at Botin, a famous restaurant that has been mentioned in numerous books and movies; Stroll along Grand Avenue, a beautiful stretch with stunning sights all around; Shop at El Rastro Flea Market; Dine at a Tapas Bar; Eat late night churros, available almost at every corner in Madrid.Approximate Cost for a day: Attractions – Rs. 750; Food – Rs. 1800; Inter-city travel via public transport – Rs. 250; Accommodation – Average cost for 1 night – Rs. 3500 on double occupancy.
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Mercado San Miguel
Lunch at Mercado de San Miguel, which was two kinds of paella, four types of tapas and chorizos followed by churros dipped in chocolate sauce – tick, tick, tick and tick.Get lost while looking for the night’s flamenco show venue – tick.Dare to ask suspicious looking man with pony tail and John Lennon-ish sunglasses, smoking in the back of randomly parked car, for directions (my father was convinced this man was a peddler) – tick.
Museo Nacional del Prado
The pockets of your jacket are bulging with tissues – you can no longer make out the difference between what’s used and what’s not. Your watery eyes have passersby wondering if you are being subjected to some form of tourist torture. Or in my case, I probably looked overly moved by the multitude of paintings of Jesus being crucified at the Museo del Prado.But this is just day one, I thought. Tonight, I will take two Panadols and tuck in early. Tomorrow, this flu will belong in a museum of tourists who survived. I am in Madrid and I only have two days to spend here. A silly, runny nose is not going to ruin my "vacay".Did you know optimism is all talk and no walk?By the next morning, tiny people with large drums had decided to take refuge in my head. Today is a good day to learn the drums, they said. And so began my most painful day in the capital city of Spain.
With dining, if you want to try a mix of everything, from tapas to seafood and even something sweeter, pay a visit to The Mercado de San Miguel. Located near Calle Mayor, this older building houses a nice mixture of delicatessens, restaurants and bars. For a few Euros, you can purchase different small plates and appetizers to try. During my visit, I dined on everything from stuffed olives to croquettes to fried calamari and even sampled a few pastries. My entire bill for the evening averaged out at most to 15 Euros.
Restaurante Botín S.L.
Traditionally, the Spanish eat dinner late, so it’s possible you might have to wait until 8 p.m. or so for your restaurant reservation. One place I went to Reservante Botin, a restaurant that has been in existence for almost 300 years (it’s even in the Guinness Book of World Records). Down the street from the Mercado, and in existence since 1725, Botin’s specialty dish is a roast suckling pig that is quite tasty.
ASADOR DE ARANDA
That evening, also my last night in Madrid, we had dinner with friends of my father at Asador de Aranda. Sitting on the same floor as the blazing oven that cooked their signature baby lamb, I could feel my sinuses clearing up. The rain outside was no longer a nuisance but complemented the warmth inside.The wine soothed me; the food simply took over my senses.The jamón, which had become an old friend by then, was welcoming. The black pudding, a first for me, set the pace. And then, the pièce de résistance, the baby lamb cooked in nothing but olive oil, salt and water. After a humane moment of remorse for the kid, we devoured the silken meat and its crisp skin. The only conversation we had during that course was the occasional moan of satisfaction.The puff pastry and dessert wine that followed were Madrid’s hugs and kisses of farewell to me. The cognac simply sealed the deal – waving good riddance and goodbye to the cold.Did I wish to be transported back to my home/hotel and doze off into a magnificent stupor till kingdom come at various points of the day? Of course.But while I could have easily done that, there’s also no denying that I would wake up feeling like I had paid hard-earned money (my father’s) to be sick, all the way in Spain.Like what you read? There's more here.
Casa de Campo
My lunch for the day was at Agra Palace Restaurant, my first Indian Resto in Spain. I talked a bit with Restaurant Manager and asked him about other attractions away from these.. which led me to Casa De Campo the park with lake which was very large in area with huge no. of visitors.Basically I am not a fan of museums, but you can visit many if you are interested. After the evening it was my time to chill somewhere and grab some tapas, so I moved to the city center Gran Via.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
For those who like modern art, the second museum is this “triangle” is also worth a visit. Across from the train station, Estación de Atocha, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is located in a former hospital and holds works by 20th century masters. It’s similar to what you would see at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. One of its most significant pieces is Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica,” which Picasso painted in protest of the Spanish Civil War. Major works by fellow Spanish artists, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí, are also here. The museum is also open late on Friday nights, with free admission.
Museo Thyssen Bornemisza
In addition to these museums, consider checking out the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, once a baron’s private collection, and a great navy museum called Museo Naval, run by the Spanish Navy. (Bring your passport with you for this one, as it’s in a government building. An ID is required for admission).
Plaza del Sol
Plaza del Sol is a well-trafficked pedestrian area, quite lively in both day and particularly at night. Likewise there are shops and restaurants, in this older section of Madrid. On New Year’s Eve, people gather here to conduct the tradition of eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight for good luck for the incoming year.
-Drama to catch the flight back homeAnd guess what! We’re back! ????That’s probably the shortest way to sum this trip up! This trip truly made us live the AWARA life. Nothing could be more defining of how travel changes life. Many of us keep thinking that TRAVEL AS A SOLUTION is nothing but delusion, only because of exorbitant expenses that we associate with travel. Let me tell you, we’re no millionaires to take this exotic trip. We’ve been through our struggles and hardships while making ends meet even on this trip. Each one of us has our own story. Someone saved, someone borrowed, someone sacrificed another item on their wish list and someone just considered this to be a great investment.So here it is, I am back in Mumbai.It’s barely been a day since I am back. And I’ve spent all day aimlessly in bed, binge watching TV shows for distraction, dealing with this as if I am going through a break up.It was time to smell some coffee and find solace in writing. So even if this great trip has just concluded- the madness, the secrets, the pictures and even the details of this will be relived by me through this lovely little space I love- Awara Diaries.Stay hooked, ‘cuz you’re going to love what you’re going to read! ????Love,