Sunday, June 12, 2011


I didn't think I could top the hotel where we stayed in Valencia but our hotel in Madrid was fabulous. The only thing missing was the bidet! Everything else was in plentiful supply even down to spare travel toothbrushes and razors each morning. Breakfast was included in the cost and it was amazing. It turns out that a handbag is a useful commodity to take to breakfast for collecting a few pastries, fruit and snacks for later in the day.

I did omit to mention earlier that our hotel in Valencia cost us the equivalent of Aust $75 a night, amazingly cheap. However, when we enquired what it would cost on the nights of the Spanish Grand Prix in late June we were quoted the equivalent of $750 a night - we may give that a miss!!

Wednesday 8 June
This morning we went for a short 5km run before brekkie. It was a question of weaving through traffic, demonstrations regarding unemployment and crowds of people, dogs and cyclists before finding the lovely gardens of the Parque del Retiro where running was pleasant, pretty and fun. After brekkie we walked and walked taking in all the sights, markets, churches, fabulous buildings and shops. We also included a visit to the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. This is housed in what used to be the general hospital and diplays 20th century art including a lot of Picasso's very modern cubism etc - interesting, strange, not really my style, but well worth a visit.

Later we walked through an enormous food market where we sampled tapas at 1 euro each and enjoyed many interesting tastes. The food markets in Madrid feature more cooked foods and tapas than in Valencia although fresh fruit, veges, nuts, cheeses, meats and fish are still in plentiful supply. In the evening we enjoyed paella and sangria and soaked up the sights and sounds of the city.

Thursday 9 June
On Thursday morning we had an early start as we planned to fit in lots. After brekkie we caught the underground train to the Principe Pio which is a huge shopping complex. We only saw a fraction of the amazing shops before heading to the oldest restaurant in the world where we had booked for lunch. This is the Botin and is featured in the Guiness Book of Records. It was built in 1752 and still uses the original wood-burning oven to cook the specialities of roast suckling pig and roast lamb, the latter which I chose and it was just like a lamb shank and absoutely delicious.

For starters we had white asparagus with cheesy mayonnaise and giant mushrooms - absolutely divine. The asparagus looks like large white sausages and melts in the mouth. In fact it was all delicious and lived up to its reputation.

Later, after walking off our lunch (and visiting the occasional shop - tee hee), we lined up for the Prado Museum which has free entry after 6pm. There was only 2 hours til closing time and we only managed to cram in one floor of magnificent paintings. Now this is what I call art. The Prado houses the world's greatest collection of Spanish paintings from the 12th to 19th century and also has Dutch, German, Italian and French artwork. The light in some of the paintings was stunning. It's all truly fabulous but we definitely needed to allow more time to do it justice. With all the amazing food we are sampling I am definitely becoming Rubenesque!!

Friday 10 June
This morning we ran another short run on the other side of the park. Both runs start uphill and this time we ended up by a lake at the top of the park - a strange place to have a lake. It was pretty and we managed to run on a gravelly surface which felt good underfoot. Running back to the hotel was good as it was mainly downhill.
Total distance: 7km
After enjoying another lovely brekkie and ensuring we had enough for our long train journey ahead we checked out of the hotel and walked to the station to catch the fast train to Seville. The train was delayed 30mins and the journey took 3 hours but the time went quickly. There was a movie on the telly in English with Spanish subtitles (that was surprising) and the countryside was really quite pretty and green as we whizzed past heading for Seville.

1 comment:

  1. I love Spain. I visited both Madrid (where I will be back soon for work) and Valencia. I am trying to convince my wife to go to Sevilla and's hard because she is scared of flying.
    Glad you succeed in running.