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Published: July 29th 2017
Up until 11am
our day started pretty much the same as yesterday, wake up thinking it's still the middle of the night, quietly sneak around the room getting showered and dressed, head down to our €3 breakfast (no pancake for me today as some moron burnt the shit out of the machine), pack up a bag for the day and head out. However, rather than repeat the walking tour, this morning we went straight over to Retiro
to guide ourselves around the park.
Parque de el Retiro is a very large park on the east side of the city, referred to as 'The Lungs of Madrid'. There is plenty to see in he park and we made our way around 8 different statues, monuments or buildings. The most notable of which were:
- Monument Alfonso XII, a large pillar with a status on top overlooking a little man made lake and surrounded by some roman looking corridors, a little like those around the sides of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
- The Palacio de Cristal, a huge greenhouse-like structure in front of a lake filled with ducks and turtles.
On the way out of the park we found
a little outdoor, bodyweight gym, made up of various different bar based stations. I did a few dips, pull ups and swung on the monkey bars and watched a few guys doing banded muscle up progressions and core work then we headed down to Atocha to jump on the metro.
We headed back towards the centre and made our way to Rosi la Loca, the restaurant that our tour guide Viviena had recommended the day before, explaining that it offered a well priced day menu. As it happened, Viviena had just finished today's tour when we arrived and was there showing today's group the restaurant. The daily menu was €12.90 and included a starter, bread basket, main and desert with a drink. I went for coffee, goats cheese and mango salad, grilled chicken and the cheesecake. The main was a bit disappointing (size wise) but the rest was very enjoyable. Once we had paid up, we went on the hunt for an ATM and then for me to find a Madrid patch, which again took longer than I'd have liked. We planned to go to the palace this evening not long after 6 and it was already gone 3pm
so we decided to head back to the hostel to have a break before the evening plans. We did some laundry (our last clothes washing of the trip!), I phoned mum and we freshened up and relaxed for a bit. At about 17:30
we headed back out and walked over to Macardo de San Miguel, an indoor food market just outside of Plaza Mayor. We had planned to go here for dinner later in the day and were just scoping it out for he evening however, we could tell that it was mainly tapas, small plates, drinks and raw ingredients and that we might struggle to get a full meal here later. Thankfully, we were both pretty peckish anyway so we decided to have something to eat and drink in the market before heading on to he Palace. We both had a bowl of chicken, sausage and chorizo paella and I added on a bottle of Sol and a selection of olive based tapas. The market was busy and had a good atmosphere, it's definitely worth a visit.
Before moving across to the palace, I wanted to make a trip up to a basketball store about 20mins away up past
Santo Domingo. It's Google Map listing told me it would be open from 16:30
but did warn me it was some sort of public holiday today and, of course, we got there and it was closed, which was a shame (I wasn't as c'est la vie about it the next day, when I returned for a second time, again within their listed opening hours, to find it closed again! Enjoy your 1 star review on Google Maps you jerks! What a waste of time). We made a brief stop to buy water on our way across to the palace and rocked up at 7pm
on the dot to take advantage of the free entry 6-8pm
. That was of course until we saw the sign 'last entry 1h before closing' as we rounded the corner to the entrance, the bell tower of the cathedral opposite was just finishing ringing out for 7pm
and we literally saw the entrance doors shut in our faces. We wish one of the 3 people who advised us of this free entry time slot had mentioned the 7pm
Clearly the palace would have to wait till tomorrow
(and cost €11) so we had to make another
plan, which ended up being to hop on the metro over to Banco de España and buy a €4 ticket for the rooftop terrace and bar of the Circulo de Bellas Artes building, a centre of arts and culture in Madrid which, amongst many others, is home to some of Picasso's works. We were mainly here for the beer and the view though! Once on the roof, we sunk a few Heinekens, enjoyed the views from the 7th floor vantage point (Madrid doesn't have that many skyscrapers blocks the skyline) took some photos and chilled out in the last of the days sun.
Our last evening in Madrid and our last dinner here, your probably thinking we found a really nice little Spanish place or got some more tapas whilst we had the chance, we'll with some embarrassment, I can tell you we actually just went to Hard Rock Café Madrid! The Hard Rock has been somewhat of a running joke on this trip as Dan gets irritated by the fact that it makes it on to all the tourist maps despite not really being worthy of it. As he had never been before, and I have only been
twice in Athens and Barcelona some time ago, we agreed to pay the Hard Rock a visit once during our trip to decide if it really was worth the mockery we were giving it, here isn't one in San Sebastián so this was our last chance. Of course, after all the jip we've been giving it, we both enjoyed it (though we still both agree it is not worthy of its repeated inclusion on tourist maps the world over). They were even running a 'Test Kitchen' and had some new menu items sourced from local producers and only available in Madrid, so it wasn't a totally standardised experience. After dinner we walked back to Retiro and jumped on the tube home.
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