Published: October 20th 2010October 19th 2010
My flight from Santiago to Madrid was delayed by nearly two hours in the end. Why do flights always get delayed when they're already a late flight and you're tired? So instead of flying out at ten, I ended up leaving around twelve. I did get a little bit of a nap in at the airport, I'm a pretty relaxed traveller these days, I seem to be able to sleep anywhere. What I was a little concerned about was that Pete was staying up to wait for me in Madrid.
I arrived at Madrid and got directions to the metro. At the metro ticket booth the guy was really really helpful, he got my ticket for me and marked on a map where I needed to go. And then when I needed to change trains this young guy sitting on the train next to me kindly showed me to the next platform. He was so lovely and so helpful, I still constantly get blown away by the way that there is always someone to help you just when you need it. At the next platform these young Moroccan guys asked me to take their picture. It was no drama, but it was the first time since the camino that I felt I should be a little cautious. It was getting to be around 1.30am and I was alone in a new city. It turned out to be no problem, but it felt ok to be a little guarded in that situation. I was extremely impressed by how well behaved everyone was for so late on a Saturday night. Lots if people out and about and no drunkenness at all!! Even the groups drinking were well behaved. Nice!!
I finally got to my destination station - la latina. I called Pete and he said he'd be there in five. He arrived, and we headed to his place. He didn't seem too phased to have had to stay up so late. He'd had a great night at the football and drinking with mates.
We talked for a couple of hours, which made it around four or five in the morning by the time we went to bed. I had the best sleep ever that night - finally a decent nights sleep! We didn't wake up until 1pm.
Sunday in Madrid:
It was a gorgeous day - clear blue sky and a little crispness in the air. We started out by wandering around the local barrio (neighborhood) - la latina. We went to the rastro, the local Sunday markets, but it was a little hectic to start out with, so we decided to find somewhere for breakfast. We went to a lovely little bar that Pete used to work at. It was really chilled, played good music, and had the best chocolate brownie ever. We hung out there for a while, eating, drinking and chatting. Then we left for some more wandering.
We had a really great day, walking around different neighborhoods and into the city. Pete showed me all the places I should visit the next day. He showed me his favourite neighborhoods, shops and bars all along the way.
At around six clock we started to get hungry. It proved to be a little difficult finding somewhere for dinner as most places start serving dinner around eight. Anyway, after a bit of searching and hitting a couple of spots that were closed we found a very cool Sengelese place! The venue was interesting to say the least, a little kitch I guess but fun! And the food was perfect, tasty and really filling.
After dinner we popped to a few more bars, then home.
One place we visited in the afternoon, that is definitely worth a mention, was a groovy little tea house. It was set up like a tea house and serves alcohol and tea, no not mixed together. Pete picked up a couple of teas there for me. The girl behind the bar, Mimi, was lovely!
We were out the door by 9.30 this morning as builders turned up to rip out the bathroom and they were pretty noisy. We went to the Plaza Major and picked up a map of Madrid. We then hit Puerta Del Sol - the point where everything in Spain is measured from. We found a nice cafe for breakfast, and Pete marked up my map, laying out the places I should visit.
He headed off to work, after a little hiccup of having to bring back my glasses, which he'd picked up from the cafe. And I headed off for a day of sightseeing.
First stop, the rooftop of Circulo De Belles Artes. Only two euro for a fabulous view of the city, not a bad price at all. Then to La Caixa, the free art gallery. An awesome building, made of stone and iron, with a garden growing on one wall. They had great stuff on display, Picasso, Dali and Lorca, a Frederico Fellini exhibition, and some fabulous photography. A lot of wonderful art for free. At that point I wasn't quite ready for more art, so I headed to the Atocha Train Station to see the atrium and turtles. I then had a bite to eat and did some emailing in the square near the Reina Sofia Art Gallery, which was to be my next stop.
The RS Gallery, was great, filled with contemporary art, and easy to navigate. More Picasso, which I love, and Joan Miro, also very good. Of course, my favorite was the Picasso Guernica.
From there, more food, then off to the Botanic Gardens. Nothing special. Then to the Retiro Park, a wonderful, big park in the middle of Madrid. I love it, it had a lovely lake and some gorgeous monuments and statues. I just sat in the sun for a while and soaked up the atmosphere.
Will then sent me a text to say he was free. So we met up and went to Chueca, the gay district, for a drink. It was nice to catch up with a Camino friend again, if only for a little while.
I headed home to meet Pete for dinner. I had no problems in the city and no problems on the metro but do you think I could find Pete's place from La Latina station. No! I got totally lost for about half an hour. I kept asking people the way, and kept getting sent in different directions. However, I knew I was close, and then I saw Pete, phew! He was in quite a state, having girlfriend dramas. I made myself a cup of tea, a masala tea from the tea house we had been to the day before and sat in the lounge until he was sorted. The tea was delicious!!!
Eventually Pete was ready to go and we headed to his local tapas venue for dinner. This was at about ten pm. The venue was lovely and the food great!! After dinner we went back to Teteriu (the tea house) - Calle Espiritu Santo (for future reference). Had an amazing cup of tea and cake! Then home to bed. Unfortunately, I didn't get much sleep that night as they were filming in the street outside and it was noisy most of the night. Apparently a movie with Bruce Willis, but who knows, I didn't see him anywhere around.
Another yummy cup of tea to kick off the day - vanilla this time!!! I don't know where they, the tea shop people, get their teas from but they are great!!
I had a very cruisy day today. Went to the Plaza Major, had breakfast at a small local bar, checked out the Palace, caught the metro into town and visited the Prado Museum. The Prado was filled with amazing classic art, but it wasn't really my scene and a little too much to take in in such a short time frame. After the museum I walked to Puerta Del Sol to the Musee De Jamon to pick up a cheap lunch, a drink, piece of fruit and sandwich for two euro. Then took my lunch to the park to eat. I sat by the lake to do my blog for a bit and then went into town to get free wifi for my emails. Back to the park again, and on the way I picked up an ice cream. It was a beautiful sunny and warm day, perfect for my last day in Madrid.
About five o'clock I headed home to see Pete before heading to the airport. We went for a drink and quick bite to eat at his favourite spot. The place with Emilio, Paco and Paco. Emilio is the only one I really met and he certainly seems very sweet. We then did a quick walk around to find me some flaminco posters. I really can't believe Pete has taken soooo much time to show me around and help me while I've been in Madrid, he's been amazing. Then Pete headed off to work and me to the airport.