We started our day warm and clean, thanks to the fact that our hot water and heat were repaired this morning. As we stepped out of our apartment, it became apparent that my light jacket wasn’t going to be enough protection against the cool temperatures and wind, so we decided to stop by Zara to purchase a jacket. However, the entrance to the store looked closed, so we walked through another store called “Berschka” instead. This turned out to be a good thing, as I found the perfect light denim jacket for only 29 Euros. Score!
With another layer now to protect me against the temperamental Madrid weather, we walked to the modern art museum – the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. The Reina Sofia houses a great collection of 20th century art in what used to be a public hospital.
Since there were four floors chock full of art, we didn’t get to see everything, but did see some fantastic works by Picasso, Dali’, and a memorable display of some 700+ black and white photos of New York City from the early 1970’s. Then we saw some head scratchers like a dot matrix printer producing endless reams of paper and a sheet of white cloth with a portable fan running under it so it resembled a wave.
Um, okay. Modern Art. 🙂
After an hour and a half or so, we were starting to get hungry, so we headed down the street to a Thai restaurant we had seen earlier. The food was good and a nice change from our diet of jamon y queso, but not as good as Thai we’ve enjoyed in the U.S. Bellies full, we headed off to explore the Royal Palace, which we both wanted to return to after seeing it on the bus tour a couple of days before. The Royal Palace did not disappoint. It’s impossible to describe the scale of it here, except to say that it has more than 2000 rooms and was built as King Philip V’s own version of Versailles. We didn’t go inside, but walked around the grounds, took in the great views, and snapped some photos.
All that walking around had made us hungry again, so we stopped at a “Chocolate and Churros” place that we had been drooling over for a couple of days. We split an order of four “churros” (fried doughnuts) and a cup of thick dark chocolate to dip them into. It was delicious, and I was glad that we had split the order instead of me giving in to my piggish desires to eat an order all by myself.
Afterwards, we walked across the street to visit the Mercado San Miguel once again. It was Happy Hour time, and the place was buzzing. We each ordered a glass of red wine from one of the stalls, and then walked around the market, wine in hand, admiring the stalls chock full of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, meats, ice creams, and all kinds of delectable treats. At one of the stalls, we met a very handsome Italian man named Guiseppe who invited us back later for a drink, but we pressed on despite his charms. It was soon after our encounter with Guiseppe when I was attempting to balance my glass of red wine in one hand while taking a photo of one of the stalls with the other when the unthinkable happened … the wine tipped over and spilled all over my brand new light denim jacket, my white linen jacket underneath that, and my yellow tank top.
We tried to sop up the mess with some woefully inadequate paper napkins, then walked back to the apartment to attack the stains with soda water, salt, liquid detergent, and whatever else we could find. I threw the whole lot into the washing machine with some extra soap, crossed my fingers, and made an offering to the laundry gods.
After a couple of hours, we changed and headed over to the Café de Chinitas for a Flamenco show on a tip from a friend of Mallory’s. The dining room, and the waiters, looked like a throwback to the 1960’s. We ordered a bottle of Cava and a pan of chicken and vegetable paella and hoped for the best. At 10:30pm, the Flamenco troupe took the stage. For an hour and a half we were entertained by a hardworking and extremely talented troupe of dancers, singers, and guitarists.
Even though we didn’t understand a word, we enjoyed it immensely and felt it was the perfect accompaniment to the delicious paella and cava. The show ended around midnight, and we headed off towards the apartment. Along the way we were stopped by two men who seemed friendly enough, one who insisted I take a yellow scarf he had purchased. I told him I didn’t have any money. He insisted it was a ”gift” and I was of course highly skeptical, but I held onto it for awhile as we chatted. At first we thought perhaps he was another friendly Madrileno, but neither he nor his older friend would tell us where they were from, and then he started making references to coming back to his hotel room (um, do you NOT see the wedding ring on my hand???) and so we threw the scarf back at him and hightailed it back to the apartment. After a Facetime session with my mom, brother, and nephew, we collapsed into bed around 2am, sad that we were leaving Madrid the next morning, but looking forward to exploring a new part of Spain.