Escape to Madrid
This time last week I was sipping vermouth in a marketplace in Madrid.
After a busy start to the year and a family-filled Easter weekend, S and I decided to get away for a quiet few days. We picked Madrid for a few days escape, wandering around a new city.
Madrid does not have the glamour or reputation of Barcelona, and is not as on-trend as Seville is this year, but it was a perfect short break.
We picked up an AirBnB right next to Plaza Mayor in the middle of the city. If you are going I would heartily recommend getting yourself centrally located. The Madrid Metro is a great way of getting around and it is easy to use, but there is nothing like the fun of wandering around a new city and being centrally located is vital there.
Plaza Mayor is the meeting point for people young and old across Madrid and the streets around it have a buzz of activity all through the night. The frescoes on the buildings around the plaza are pretty impressive too.
We were told that the main thing to do in Madrid is to make sure you see all the galleries. Take it from me, that is a lot of galleries. The Museo del Prado is the pick of the bunch and it is free from 6-8pm.
Unfortunately, everyone else in the world knows that too. When you arrive there at 5.55pm, the queue already stretches round the gardens and will take more than half an hour to clear.
We did our share of art homework though. This was the pick of the bunch.
Spain retains a certain pomp and ceremony which many countries have done away with. We scored the full value of staying in the middle of town on our third morning when there was a full procession of mounted soliders and carriages which arrived to collect people from the ministry building across the road.
The trumpets woke us up but it was an impressive start to the morning.
If you are planning a visit, I recommend the Temple of Debod. Sat atop a hill at the west side of the city, it is something completely unique in Madrid. It is an Egyptian temple which was transported across and now sits in the middle of a lake just a short walk from the Cervantes Monument.
We also went exploring round Salamanca, which is the posh area of town. Therein we found Madrid's Instagram hotspot. This little garden courtyard is populated by bright young things who come to post on the garden furniture in search of ther perfect picture for their Instagram account. I tried to take part too.
We also discovered an amazing little road of vintage shops, the perfect brunch spot and the delights of vermouth hour, but those are all stories for another time.