Madrid                   2016, October

October 28th, Friday, Algeciras-Madrid

We tried to start our trip the earliest in the morning as possible, and so we did, at about 08:30 we were on our way to the Spanish capital. We faced a 670 kilometres trip by car, so we sit back, relaxed in order to make the trip as comfortable and short as we could. After several hundreds of kilometres, once we crossed Despeñaperros, we did a break to have lunch in Santa Cruz de Mudela at about 13:00. The restaurant was called "El Puente" . Once our meal was over I took a quick rest in the car, about twenty minutes, to avoid tiredness affecting my driving. We reached Madrid at about 16:30; our apartment was at 5, Sedano street, very close to "Colonia Jardin" underground  station; Ivan, Maria and their son Ogi, as old as Marta, were waiting for us at the apartment rented via Airbnb. We took the  underground to "Lavapies". We strolled this quarter untill we decided to have a drink in a bar called "Cerveceria San Andres" at the very "San Andres square" and very close to the church with the same name. Once our drink was over we resumed our stroll around the district until dinner time. We agreed to enter in a restaurant called "La Curruteka" from where we left satisfied both because of the price, the service, and of course the food. Once our dinner was over we went on walking around Lavapies where the ambient on the streets, for it was Friday night, was fantastic. We took the tube back to our apartment and about 23:00 we were in bed ready to sleep.

La Curruteka restaurant, ideal place to enjoy a good meal

Group of girls playing on the steets of Lavapies

October 29th, Saturday, Madrid

We left the apartment at about 10:00 as projected. Then we reached EI Retiro using the underground. We spent the whole morning in this part of Madrid. We rented a small boat in the lake of EI Retiro for 45 minutes. Once we finished rowing we went to see the Velazquez Palace and the Crystal Palace, both of them inside El Retiro. The visit to these two Palaces didn't take us more than 15 minutes for it was not allowed to enter, they are only admired from the outside. After this we sat in a self-service where we had some drinks before having lunch in Lavapies again. We ate in a Restaurant called Achuri where we ate very well and very cheap. It was completely crowded, we managed to get a table for six though. After some minutes there was absolutely no room in the restaurant... Once our stomachs were full we made to the Botanical Garden, a huge extension of ground with classified plants and a hothouse for those plants that needed special humidity and temperature conditions. The Prado Museum was very close and it could be visited from 18:00 to 20:00 for free. Actually our visit to the Botanical Garden was an excuse to make time in order to be able to visit the museum. As it could be easily guessed there was a long queue to enter. We waited there for about half an hour and we finally got in. We could admire, among other great artists, two pieces of art by Goya which particulary grabbed my attention: "La lucha con los Mamelucos" and "El 3 de Mayo en Madrid". We were back in our apartment at 20:30 where we had dinner; we went to bed early, not in vane we had walked more than 22 kilometres all over Madrid...

Rowing on the Retiro lake

Prado Museum main entrance

October 30th, Sunday, Madrid-Segovia

The sun rised in Madrid and we had to readjust our watches with winter time. We left the apartment bound to Segovia at 10:00. For there was not room in our car for the six of us, Mariana went by bus. At 11:30, and skipping the highway we reached our new destination. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for Mariana at the "Plaza Mayor". Maria, Marta Ogi, Ivan and I had previously visited the "Acueducto" though. Once the six of us were together we entered the Cathedral, an astonishing building which we were admiring for more than an hour. Lunch time approached and we had to decide the restaurant where to eat. "Mesón Casa Cándido" was one of the best places in Segovia, but it was not an option because a previous reservation was needed. After asking Google, we found the right place: a restaurant called "La Criolla" which turned out to be very close to "Mesón Casa Cándido". For it was Sunday it was completely crowded, but we spoke with the woman in charge and she found a table for six. We enjoyed the famous Segovian "cochinillo"  at this restaurant, a real delight. Once our lunch was over we made to the "Alcazar". Our visit to this fortress took us from 16:00 to 18:00. Then we went to the bus station where Mariana had to take the bus back to Madrid. We came across long queues in the highway as expected. We were back at our apartment at 20:30. Looking for a place to have dinner in our district turned out to be a bit difficult. Again, with the help of Google we found a "bar de tapas" called "EI rincón de Javier". We were practically the only customers at the establishment and we ate extremely well paying a very reasonable price. We returned at 23:00 ready to rest after a tiring day.

Segovia Aqueduct

Inside the Alcázar

October 31th, Monday, Madrid

We left our apartment at 11:00 and we took the tube to Colón where a superheroes made with Lego pieces exposition was to be seen. We faced two queues: one to buy the tickets and another one to enter the exposition itself. The girl selling the tickets warned us that they were having difficulties to issue them, and the ones with mobile phones could buy valid tickets using the internet and a credit card. So we did and we saved a lot of time. We didn't wait much at the other queue. The exposition was at "El Centro Cultural de la Villa Fernán Gómez". The statues of every comic superheroes were astonishing, from Batman to Spiderman, and characters which I didn't even suspect their existence. Once our visit to the exposition was over we took the underground to "Plaza de España" and then we walked to the "Debod temple", a present of the Egiptian gobernment to Madrid. We had lunch in a restaurant close to this temple called "Los 100 Balcones" from where we left quite satisfied both for the quality of the food and the price we paid.  Then we made to the "Palacio Real", and from there to "Gran Via" and "Preciados street" where I entered in Fnac while the others were in "Sol". We met at 19:45 again by the "Oso and the Madroño" statue where a Break Dance street show started with some exceptional dancers. The spectacle was nice while it lasted: the Madrid Local Police aborted the dance; this interruption made the numerous public, including us, very upset. We returned to the apartment where we had dinner; our mind was set on our return home the following day.

Batmovil made with Lego pieces

Marta, Mariana and me in font of the Palacio Real

November 1st, Tuesday, Madrid-Algeciras

Our return home time had arrived. We had breakfast, we made our luggage and we saw Maria, Ivan and Ogi off. We left Madrid at 11:00 and after refuelling our car we made to Jaen. Once we were close to Despeñaperros we could not find a place to have lunch by the road, so we dedided to drive to Jaen instead of passing by this city. We found a nice-looking restaurant called "Casa Rafa" where we ate quite well. To avoid falling asleep driving I decided to have a half an hour siesta in the car. Then we resumed our return reaching our destination at about 19:30.

Colonia Jardín tube station, 200 metres far from our apartment which made our days in Madrid very comfortable