Iberia to Madrid
Today I return to Madrid for second visit. I rode the bus with the rest of my friends to the airport -- they were now officially off convention duty! I was the last one on the bus, as I was a bit late checking out (caused by getting a surprise billing of 70 euros for laundry -- dios mio!). As we departed, Paul told me that he did not see my bags get loaded. I ran to the front of the bus to check and was told by the driver not to worry -- my "dos malletas" were on board. Needless to say, when we arrived at the airport, my bags were not there. I made a frantic call to the Nazaries Hotel, and found that they were still there -- the bellman had neglected to put them on the bus! They were kind enough though to send them to me gratis via taxi.
The flight to Madrid was uneventful, and I slept most of the way.
It was a little less than an hour's flight, so was a quick nap! We disembarked at the infamous new Terminal, No. 4, but this time our bags all arrived. Rather than spending an arm and leg on a taxi to our hotel in downtown Madrid, we took the bus to the Green Line on the Madrid subway system, and then the subway to L'Opera station, which was just a couple of blocks from our hotel, El Hotel Opera on the Reina Isabel Square. It cost us 2 Euros each, as opposed to a 50 Euro cab ride -- a better economic alternative! The hotel was very nice -- clean, good bathrooms and right across the street from the Palacio Real.
with Don Quijote and Sancho
I was ravenous, so ate at the hotel restaurant with Paul and Scottie. I had the menu del dia which was lentil soup and sole Andalucian. It was delicious! After our lunch, it was out to explore the grounds of the Palacio Real and the Plaza de España.
It was a beautiful afternoon, perfect for walking around and people watching. Evidently this area was a popular place for young lovers to come and make out and roll around on the grounds, as we saw plenty of couples actively engaged in these kinds of activities! Quite a sight!
Reflecting Pond in front of Egyptian Temple, Moon rising in background
The moon made it's appearance shortly before sunset and was very dramatic over some of the buildings in this area. My pictures don't really do it justice.
Later that night, we decided it was time for a Madrid tradition -- a tapas outing. Our first stop was the Taverna al Pernaca. We had tapas with jamon y tomate and a potato tortilla (like an omelette) along with a good Spanish Tempranillo wine. We also tried their sangria, but found it a bit sweet for our liking. Our next stop was an Argentine tapas bar called Caballo. Everything here was Argentinian (naturally) -- the food, the beer (Quimel), the wine and the waiters and bartenders.
They had the most delicious empañadas -- spinach and cheese, jamon y queso, and queso con cebolla (cheese and onion), plus chorizo sandwiches with a wonderful chimichurri sauce. It was so good, we had seconds!
We tried to find another tapas bar in the area, but were unsuccessful. Probably a good thing since it was now 2am!