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.
I spent NYE in Madrid with coworkers on a “work” trip. I put quotes around work because I can’t really call it work if I’m in Madrid. I was able to see a few places I haven’t been and visit an old favorite. First I was able to go inside the Royal Palace of Madrid which in my opinion is possibly better than Versailles. Manuel Azana, president of the Second republic, was the last monarch to live in the palace around 1940. It is now used ceremoniously and for tourists to explore.
The nativity scene in the Alabarderos Room.
I also went to the beautiful and charming city of Toledo this trip which I had never been before. Toledo is located about an hour outside of Madrid and is located on the Tagus River. The city is surrounded on all four sides; the river on one side and stone walls on the other. It is known as the “City of Three Cultures” because Christian, Muslims, and Jewish people all lived within the city walls.
And the old favorites I visited of course involved food. We made a stop at Mercado de San Miguel and then had an amazing tapas night at a restaurant close to Puerta del Sol.
On NYE we got our wigs and were ready to party! Everyone should do Madrid for NYE what could be more fun than wigs and grapes (explanation in a second). We started with a Flamenco show which was amazing. The performances were so intense it was hard to look away. We then headed to a restaurant where we enjoyed dinner and the grapes at midnight. Yes you read that correctly grapes. The Spaniards eat 12 grapes at midnight for the 12 strokes of the clock. This is a superstition and is supposed to give you good luck for the next 12 months of the year. I was beyond excited for the grapes. I also didn’t think it would be that hard to eat 12 grapes consecutively to the 12 dongs. Let me tell you I was wrong. I got like three in and then fell behind and started putting two in my mouth at a time. Then I dropped one on the floor and panicked it would be bad luck so I ate it anyways. I’m feeling like I did it pretty well and should be pretty lucky this year. Fingers crossed!