Out Of Office: Madrid in October

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This past week I was in Madrid with my lovely staff member’s pictured above, leading these teachers shown below. We were graced with beautiful 80 degree weather daily as we explored the ins and outs of Madrid and Toledo.

I spent an additional day on my own so I could relax a littler after the group tour. This day was spent eating, drinking, and reading. Yep, this out of office experience was great!

On my food tour day I went to Plaza Mayor for cafe con leche and toast with tomato pulp and jamon, Mercado San Miguel for cava, Plaza de Santa Ana for Rioja, and La Ideal for a traditional-can’t-get-in-my-mouth-soon-enough calamari sandwich, and of course Museo de Jamon— I can’t not go to the ham museum when visiting Madrid.

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Free in Madrid!

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Spain! I had my freedom in Spain! My freedom to do what I wanted, better yet, EAT what I wanted. What do I have to say about Madrid? I was in love. The food, the architecture, the people, the food. We rented an apartment for five of us (Yellow building below) in a great location and for three nights it was $125 per person and the place was a palace. High ceilings with exposed wood beams—it was incredible. Also on a side note after writing this post I now know why I gained 10 pounds in three weeks…

Day 1: The first day was all about the tapas. I was with my two friends who had either lived in Madrid or visited so we were all about hitting their old stomping grounds. We first went to the Mercado San Miguel. Which as I told my friends and family is literally my heaven. To simply describe it, it is a fancy market. You can stop at each stand and get a tapa for 1-3 euros and then grab a glass of wine and walk around. I had oysters, salmon, cheese, cod, and meats. This became a daily stop for us. When my friends were finally able to drag me, out because I was promised we would return, we made our way to Museo del Jamon for beer. Which literally translates to ham museum. Interesting little spot. Next stop was El Tigre for, yes, more tapas. This place is like a divey place but a must for tourist. They say the way you can tell it is a good place by the amount of garbage on the floor. This place gets an A+.We had sandwiches and paella. Once we realized we were full and our two other friends were arriving shortly and had to let them into the apartment we decided  we should go home and have more tapas and more wine. I told you the first day was about the tapas. We ended our night at a bar called Taberna Lamiak. If you visit Madrid you should check it out—chill place.

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Day 2: Allison and I got up and let the others sleep. We went and saw the the Royal Palace of Madrid and walked around that area. We stopped for breakfast and had café con leche and toast with eggs. We then quickly stopped buy the store to pick up some necessities for our visit to the park. We spent a few hours on a blanket in Parque del Retiro sipping on champagne, eating jamon, and cheese. It was a perfect July 4th in Madrid. Phil and I decided it also was a must to have a hot dog since it was the 4th and we are American. We then took a boat ride on the lake, Estanque del Retiro. I would totally suggest it. Not too expensive only about 8 euros and super fun. We made our way back home and of course stopped at Mercado San Miguel on the way and Chocolateria San Gines for some classic churros. The chocolate was rich not too sweet chocolate and the churros was buttery and warm. They paired perfectly and I really liked it because I’m not much of a sweet person so hit the spot. We showered quickly then headed back out to a bar to watch the France versus Germany soccer match. We then ate at 100 Montaditos and went back home to to get ready for our evening out. Phil, who had been dressed in obnoxious American get up all day, continued his theme of “American pride style” so Allison and I followed suite and put on bandannas. We then went out in Sol. We met some English friends, because of course we ended up at a Irish bar. Phil ended up making a trade for American sunglasses for his bandanna, his tie which was really what was wanted, was not an option. The next morning he still thought it was a good trade, which means it really must have been a good trade.

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Day 3: Once again Allison and I were the only ones who could rally and got up early for breakfast. We got calamari sandwiches, which are known for the Madrid area, cafe con leche, and a beer. Clearly the struggle was real. I swear though that calamari sandwich was to die for, ciabatta bread, mayonnaise, thick calamari rings and lemon, put it all together and you get the best calamari sandwich ever. No it was not just because I was feeling the night from before…I swear. Saturday was the big Pride parade so that was pretty much the plan for the day. After breakfast we once again stopped at the store for the necessities aka beer. We got home and ralliedthe troops. Phil took a ridiculously amount of time to get out of bed-Phil needs to work on this before our next trip. Once everyone was dressed in their pride attire we headed out. First stop? McDonald’s for a beer. Yes McDonald’s has euro beers in Madrid. Very cultural. My friend Kevin and I stopped in at the Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia on the way to the parade to see the infamous Guernica painting. It was incredible. Their was so much going on in the photo and had such an incredible story. Then we found a spot where Gran Via meets Paseo del Prado and watched the parade. We stayed for a bit then decided to head back home so we once again stopped at Mercado San Miguel. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said we went everyday. We ended up staying in, enjoying the apartment, and finishing the bottles of wine we still had. Allison’s flight was at 6 am and Phil and mine was at 10 am. Lets just say getting up and saying goodbye was hard.

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Day 4: Barcelona!

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