Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Los Imprescindibles

Coming to a Madrid? My must-see list (los imprescindibles), according to sense, is:


The Mercado de San Miguel - it's a feast for the eyes even if you don't eat anything, and the restoration job is amazing!

The Royal Palace. The gardens, the armouries, the palace rooms, the cathedral next door - this complex is really worth a walk-through. I especially love the crazy rococo rooms and the garden between the palace and the opera house.

The Templo de Debod in Parque del Oueste. This is a real Egyptian temple, gifted to Spain after some engineers helped construct a dam to prevent flooding. It's stunning.

Churros and chocolate at the Chocolateria de San Gines, between the plazas Sol and Mayor.

Pinchos, baguette rounds with toppings, at Sagartetxe.
Tapas at any bar you come to.
Get your nose into a really fresh white wine, or an old, smoky red, summer and fall in a glass. Breath in hay and sunshine from a plate of goat's cheese, or citrus from a plate of marinated olives.


Guitar or maybe drums in the Retiro Park. Get far enough in and you won't hear any traffic. The same goes for the Parque del Oueste.
The commentary on the tourist bus - it's good and you'll cover lot of ground in a short time. The "modern" route will take you slightly off the beaten track into the financial district, where a stop at the gigantium El Corte Ingles department store is always a good idea.


The raw emotion of flamenco. Find a bar with a tablao around the Plaza Mayor or book a show at Casa Patas. If the passion doesn't move you, you must be a robot. I cry. I grip my seat. I lean forward. I am left breathless. It's stunning.

The buzz around Plaza de Espana and Gran Via, a major hub of the city. The lights! The shops! The theatres! The traffic! The crowds! It's electric.
Tempted to spend every last euro along Calle Fuencarral, my favourite shopping area, recently pedestrianized. Pick up a scarf or a bag or a shirt, always brightly coloured.

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