Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Days 27-31: Madrid: Part 2

I lose track of days quickly when writing posts like this and especially while traveling. It's a good thing I have picture time stamps and notes on my Blackberry to keep me from running all the days into one.

After a full nights sleep on Friday, and I'm talking like 10 + hours type of full, I was well equipped for the day ahead of me. I think I actually stayed in bed til 11, but all was quiet in the house. It was a sleepy morning for R & Gil, who had to deal with both girls not wanting to sleep the night before. I heard none of the nighttime fuss and was able to help, which was a nice change for the parents I think. Gil had a few work things to do and R napped while I helped with Clara, keeping her amused. Sofia amuses herself and everyone else, so she's easy to keep occupied. After R woke up, we all had the typical late lunch and started the process of getting ourselves ready. She made an absolutely delicious veggie & chicken pesto pasta. Not something I'd normally cook for myself, or even choose, but it was so good! Definitely need to try more pesto when I make it to Italy. We finished up around 4 and headed into Madrid city centre to explore. 

I immediately noticed how much I liked the look of Madrid. There's a lot more hills than I had expected there to be, but the city was well organized where we walked. The parking is basically all underground, so it's a very efficient system leaving lots of room for big plazas and lots of space to walk around. We walked through the Plaza Mayor on our way to the shopping areas. It reminded me of St. Mark's Square in Venice, just because of the size and the way it is laid out. R had one store in mind to visit where I found a few Flamenco pieces. The brand is big in Spain, very traditional designs with lots of bright colors. And there was a sale, so obviously that couldn't be passed up! We looked around a few other stores, still looking for that Sfera jacket but no luck. Saw another Spanish department store, El Corte Ingles, similar to a Macy's type place. Continued looking for a winter jacket and something for Sofia, but no luck on either. We continued up the street, a very popular one with lots of stores that I don't remember the name of. Headed for a walk to the palace and saw the beautiful grounds. I didn't realize Spain had a monarchy, but apparently most countries in Europe do. News to me. Got a few pictures around the castle before heading back to the main shopping area.

left: opera house / right: walking down a Madrid street

the palace.

Click through for more!

It was getting chilly being in the wind, less enclosed than the market area. I was getting a bit munchy so we stopped for churros and chocolate, which we had passed on our walk. Oh. My. God. I didn't get a picture of the entrance but if I go back to Madrid (which I hope to) I'm going to go there again. It's actually called hot chocolate con churros, and it's basically a thick liquid chocolate into which you dip these fried sticks of dough called churros. I couldn't remember the name of the place, but it was the first result on Google. Chocolateria San Ginés in the Pasadizo de San Ginés. Go there if you see it. It was crowded and took a while to get the treat and we had to sit outside, but the wait was more than worth it.

nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom
My love of all things Spanish begins with this. NOM! The day ended shortly after, since I couldn't handle not eating all of these, and it was too cold to walk and too crowded to drive around.

Sunday's plans were to go back into the city center and have a traditional Spanish meal, lunch. I didn't really know what I was in for but with all the deliciousness I'd had so far, I figured it was just going to get better. I was right. At the first tapas place, we had some appetizers and I got to try the Spanish meats, ham and several kinds of pepperoni type sausage. It was quite tasty though I don't usually eat it.

 L: the typical wall of pork legs, seen in every restaurant/bar.
R: don't you just want to squat her? I mean, that face!

basically the only picture I have of Sofia, cause she didn't sit still.

so sweet :)
 On to the second tapas restaurant. We had a couple of appetizers with drinks, a Spanish omelette of potato/egg/ham and a tuna mixture on baquette slices. I forgot to get pictures of those, but the omelette was delicious. Here's the photos of lunch, few captions since I don't remember what anything was called!

clockwise from top left: olive oil & tomatoes / fried pork bacon / fish, mostly eaten /
eggs, beans & ham / fried egg & spanish ham on thick potato chips (NOM)

empty plates.
 After lunch, when I felt like I was going to fall asleep from the wine and food, we got a Starbucks fix and R & I went for a drive around the city. Gil took the girls home, and both slept at least for a while haha. No captions cause I don't remember what everything is!
starbucks fix.
stolen jacket keeping me warm, in the parking garage.

Real Madrid stadium.
bull fighting stadium.

My last few pictures before leaving. Maia being lazy, getting Clara dressed while she slept, and my view of the hills as R drove me to the airport.

In all, an awesome trip! I'm planning for when I can go back again, cause I miss the girls and just being in a home. It was so much fun there, and I'm so thankful to have an awesome cousin who agreed to take me in! And now I'm off for something so exciting: homework. Yeah, not so much.

Til next time!

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