It was our last day in Madrid – and unfortunately we hit a few bumps in the road related to forgetting tickets and being hangry. But we’ll get to that later.
James and I left the apartment and headed to el Templo del Debod – a temple that was gifted from Egypt to Spain in the late 1960s. From what I could understand (remember I’m only 50% fluent in reading Spanish!), this had to do with Spain helping to preserve or conserve some artifacts. The temple is on the outskirts of la plaza de España, and is situated on a reflection pool. A man outside is screaming “AGUA FRIA. TENGO AGUA FRIA.”
Visitors are actually able to go through the temple, which was a nice surprise. The rooms are small and cramped, which also means hot and smells like BO. We were intending to go to Goya’s burial site (which boasts infrequently seen frescoes) when I realized I had left the tickets to a cable car attraction at the apartment. We opted to take the train back, and made a quick pit stop at el Mercado de San Martin.
I don’t like ordering from butchers in America, I don’t know why I thought I would like doing this in a foreign country in a foreign language. Overwhelmed by the prospect, and not quite knowing what I wanted to make for dinner, I left in a huff and headed to a MASSIVE big box store a few blocks from where we were staying.
First, I found a Starbucks. This seems silly, but the coffee here is espresso and nothing is iced. Ordering meat at a market? No way. Ordering coffee and chai tea latte? Yes please. (And no this was not done in Engish – though I did manage to butcher con hielo for my coffee so it ended up being hot. This was fine; I was in a massive store with AC blasting).
Let’s discuss this store. You walk in to a Macy’s style layout – perfume and makeup counters, purses, clothes, the works. Another level is full on gourmet grocery store, another is a regular grocery store with a butcher and cheese shop. There is a pharmacy and a Starbucks, and their equivalent of a Target. Everything you could possibly need is there. We went to the grocery store and picked up provisions to make dinner. Afterwards, as we walked back through the Macy’s like store, I discovered the Longchamp section.
Longchamp in New England is a thing. I don’t know why, I’m sure it is elsewhere in the country, but it’s part of being a “Basic Boston” and I absolutely adore my giant black bag that can hold everything from my laptop, 1L water bottle, a change of clothes, extra shoes and everything else a purse needs to contain. I’ve had mine for a few years the bottom has started to wear out. I know I can pay to get this fixed, but the entire bottom is literally sprouting holes, and when pens stick through them, they write on my shirt. I also don’t have a backup for when this would be fixed, and so here we were – in Europe – with access to bags that are literally half the price that they are in the U.S. because of the amazing exchange rate and the lack of importing overseas.
After dropping the groceries off at the apartment, we headed to Gonzales de Queso, which is a famed cheese and tapas restaurant and a place I’ve been eyeing since planning this trip. They weren’t open. This was tragic. I did what I always do when I’m hangry – I shut down (sorry James!). We eventually found a tapas place near el Museo de Sofia Reina and devoured patatas bravas, paella and a roasted red pepper dish with tuna.
El Museo de Sofia Reina is… a modern art museum. It’s interesting. We’ll put it that way. There were however, many Picassos and Dalis, and some of the sections were actually interesting. Others – well lets just say I have a hard time with some modern art. I can paint a canvas blue and glue a stick to the bottom too. The museum is known for housing Guernica – one of Picasso’s masterpieces. There was a significant amount of articles from the U.S. in the 60s and 70s, outlining the different museums that once featured this painting.
Afterwards, we finally made our way back to the cable car ride. We were incredibly hot by the time we found it and proceeded to load into a small, no air-conditioning car built in the 60s that precariously wheeled its way across the city of Madrid.
Out of my comfort zone? Oh that doesn’t even begin to cover it. This was terrifying – but the views were pretty spectacular. I thought if I could do the London Eye then of course I could do this. I guess the difference is, I didn’t fear for my life on the London Eye.
For dinner that evening, I made rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed peppers, mushrooms and arugula, and steak.
Afterwards we headed over to “The Roof,” a rooftop bar in the Hotel ME. The views here are spectacular, and it was a nice way to end our time in Madrid and help even out some of the bumps we came across throughout the day – even if I did spend a ridiculous fee for a glass of wine.