Explore Madrid a little like a local

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March 21st 2019
Published: March 21st 2019
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In Spain, we passed through a very quick and painless Customs process and were cleared to enter Spain! A couple change over on the train later and we were downtown! We made it to the Airbnb address 10 minutes early. Despite our attempt, it appeared we would have to wait for the prescribed 9am check-in time. 9 AM came and went with multiple trips in and out of the building thanks to tenants trying to figure out how to meet up with our host. At 9:30 we hunted down a Starbucks for WiFi, which unfortunately want free so we grabbed a couple of teas to get the password. I wrote a note to the host. Fifteen minutes later we have up and told him we were canceling and going elsewhere. A Google search later we were on our way to a hotel nearby.

Standing in the lobby we booked it online to get the rate we wanted instead of what they quoted us at the desk and finally got into a room. It is a cute hotel with a fun garden wall lobby. A pleasant upgrade. After some time to rest, change clothes, and refresh in response to the events leading up to the room, Alex and I header out to Madrid to explore. Luckily I didn't really have a plan so we just started to wander.

Our first stop was food. We wandered into a large department store that has a restaurant on the top floor. After a meal to give us strength, we snagged some Spanish Pokemon cards walking out of the store and crossed the street to a fun looking bookstore. Even with everything in Spanish it was hard too walk out empty handed. We picked a direction and started walking. That path ended at the Teatro Real and a chocolate shop that I just couldn't leave without a treat to try at home. There next direction took usback through the Puerta del Sol which was much busier than at 8 am and on to a beautiful fountain outside City Hall at Plaza de Cibeles. We walked back toward the hotel along Grand Via pressing into the many shoe stores. Almost the hotel for siesta time, I saw a Zara. Since I still have my white jacket from the Zara in Barcelona 13 years ago, I had to go in for a look. Around 30 minutes later we left bag in hand with a fun pair of pants Alex found. Yes, he had luck and I didn't! This was the perfect time to head to the hotel for a nap. After a quick shower Alex plopped on bed and feel asleep within seconds of his head hitting the pillow.

A few hours later, my tummy was rumbling. To help Alex along with waking up, I cautiously placed my ice cold hands on his arms. That started his waking process, so I followed up with them on his back. Soon he was rolling out of bed and putting his newly purchased Zara capri pants on. He was quite excited about the possibility of keeping cooler as I power walked us around the city. Our first walk took us down to Plaza Mayor then over to Mercado San Miguel for a small plate of empanadas and flavored sangria's. Not quite willing to pay the high tourist prices, we went in search of a more authentic local place. We found a busy local area a church and we think school. Young kids were chasing each other and playing soccer while the adults drank and chatted. The restaurant we chose had a pitcher of much better tasting sangria for the same price as a single one of the drinks at the Mercado. A lovely dinner, drinks, and chatting later, we headed north to the Catedral de la Almundena.

Due to unfortunate timing, as we walked in the church was preparing for mass so we mozied back out fairly quickly. On the other hand, timing was just right to get to the Egyptian gifted Templo de Debod at sunset as many online guides recommended. As we walked Alex remembered that he had access to Pokemon go, which changed our evening focus a little. After sapping picture s at the temple did a few loops to catch Pokemon before heading to an internet cafe to print off our prepaid activities tickets for the weekend. A 'Mr Mime' catch later, I got my tickets printed just before the place closed. Feeling tired from almost 23,000 steps and lack of sleep, we began heading back to the hotel. On the way many bakeries caught our eye. Eventually we picked one and snacked on some fantastic treats (An Apple tart, chocolate croissant, and chocolate second flakey pastry). Wiped we headed to the hotel for a break which quickly turned into the end of the night (or very long day).

I didn't manage to get the churros and hot chocolate today, thus that will be tomorrow's goal prior to transitioning to Barcelona.

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