Day 2- my birthday! We started out the day by eating breakfast in bed (and enjoying the beautiful view and not quite too hot air that floated in). At around 10 a.m., James and I headed to the Parque del Retiro, home of the crystal palace. It was another 100+ degree day, which meant seeking out shade and rationing water.
The park itself is beautiful, and a pleasant oasis from the heat of the city. We strolled around, found the crystal palace, among other monuments, and took a page of the public yoga practitioners book and went barefoot in the shaded grass.
Overcome by the incredible heat, we eventually sought refuge in the Prado museum – which is filled primarily with religious works of art, because this is Spain afterall. Around 12:30 we started to fade and sought out the museum cafe where I proceeded to order dos tortillas de patatas, uno cafe con leche y uno te negro. Nailed it. Minus the fact that I forgot to order James milk for his tea, but we’ll take what we can get!
After being revived by refreshments, we tackled the rest of the museum and then headed to Celiocioso – the only gluten free bakery in Spain (or least the only one I found!). Their specialty? Cupcakes. I of course ordered more than I could eat, and picked up half a loaf of queso pan (cheese bread!).
We headed back to the apartment for siesta – which everyone seems to take seriously here. So I enjoyed my cupcakes with some bubbly while soaking my feet in the bathtub. The only true way to enjoy siesta.
James and I had tickets to tour the Royal Palace at 5 p.m. The security here was questionable. No one looked at our tickets. I set off the metal detector but the guards let me through when they realized I could only speak un poco espanol. Much different than our experience at Buckingham palace which required multiple scanners and check points.
The palace itself is insane. Each room was gorgeous. Over the top of course, but everything had a theme and was planned out very well. Almost every ceiling had a fresco. Art work was tasteful. The dining room was breathtaking, with a table that sat 130 individuals at a time.
After the tour, we headed over to Corral de Moreria, a famed flamenco spot. I was not expecting much in the way of dinner – this was a dancing establishment afterall. Boy was I wrong. The food was fabulous. We both ordered a tasting menu and had gazpacho, sea bass, lamb and chocolate. They brought me a whole pitcher of sangria which I barely made a dent in.
When we left around 10 p.m. the sun was still out. This is just so weird to me. How do people function here?! Clearly they don’t go to bed as early as I like to.