Jessie and I couldn’t stand the darkness and the cold anymore so we were looking for an early vacation somewhere a bit warmer this year. On YouTube, we came across Spain Revealed and watched so many videos of tapas bars that eventually it was clear that we had to go to Madrid.
My goals for the vacation were to eat as much authentic food as I can and to take some pictures.
One of the first things we did was to visit the presidential palace. First, we came in the evening…
…and then again on the next day to watch the changing of the guard ceremony that happens twice a week and includes marching band music and guards showing off their plastic toy guns.
We were very lucky with the weather and therefore, most of our days were spent with long walks and the occasional stops for food.
We got a pretty good view on what life in the city is like and I have to say it’s really nice. There was a great mix of historical and modern areas, alternative neighborhoods, and extensive parks.
One of my highlights was the Rastro flea market which - once a week - transforms the Rastro neighborhood into a large flea market. It was conveniently located right next to our hotel so we just grabbed a coffee in the morning and then went for a stroll there.
Apart from the obvious quest for some good deals, the locals also used the market to meet friends, hang out at a bar, or have some snacks.
I was very excited to find a small store for fresh olives and they also sold finger food variations of which we got a whole box and sat down for a bit to enjoy them. Next to us sat a woman that used the market scenes around to work on her drawing skills.
The Temple of Debod is quite an unusual attraction because it is an ancient Egyptian temple that was relocated to Madrid as a donation.
Somewhere in between all that walking, the big moment finally came and we had a paella at Arrocería El Trato which is a relatively small restaurant that we just happened to walk past at the moment. I saw they had very good reviews and offered Paella, so we went in.
I was really surprised by how good it was. A day or two before, we had already eaten Paella at Socarratt, which is a local chain where they make big batches of Paella ahead of time and then heat up your portion in the microwave for you. Sounds weird but it was already very good. Here, we had to wait a good time for our fresh Paella but the Sangria and some bread and Aioli shortened the wait.
On our last evening, we saw a Flamenco show. I was initially very skeptical if this was going to be for me but in the end, I’m glad that we went. I was impressed by the guitarist’s skills to deliver such complex music from a single instrument. The dancers also put in a lot of effort and keeping this up for the hour that the show was long must’ve been very tiring.