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Madrid: Spain 2019, Stop 3 & 6

I was excited to see Madrid - I wanted to see the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) - to explore the neighborhoods - walk in the park, Parque de El Retiro, and visit some of Spain's famous artwork at the Prado Museum. I wanted to eat all the treats at the famous Mercado de San Miguel.

We had a museum day planned. We had a day planned with friends who were going to give us a tour of the city. None of that happened. I ended up with some kind of illness/fever and we spent most our time in the hotel room. Real life stuff happens on vacation too. I was so glad it only lasted about 2 days.


We did wander a little around the hotel to find soup for me and real food for my husband. Not really being able to eat in Spain was a crime. There were churros and chocolate everywhere. Jamon (cured ham) is offered at every moment of every day.


Our hotel was on this street - check out the charming "Calle de Silva" street sign on the building.


Obviously, this photo was taken pre-COVID. The streets were packed with people out enjoying the lights and special Christmas set-ups for shopping and eating. Plaza Mayor hosts Christmas markets annually, a tradition that dates back to 1860.

Spain's Christmas decor was a mix of tradition and chic. Lots of blue lights in Madrid.

Plaza Mayor Christmas Lights

We caught a glimpse of Santa in Plaza Mayor as well. He was on the go and must have updated his large red bag to a more chic black backpack to fit in with the Spanish crowd.

Mercado de San Miguel is more than 100 years old and is a jewelry box of edible treats. I was seriously sad that I couldn't eat anything from this place. At least I got to see it and it stays on the visit list for next time!

Paper cones of cured meats and cases full of tapas as far as the eye can see...

We found a nice restaurant near our hotel that had soup for me and food for my husband - score!

Not only was it yummy - the food was also beautiful.

Cafe Varella - Anchovies with salad on the left - Scallops on the right

Lots of food to try here and since we didn't get to do much I'm sending you here: Spanish Sabores. If you care anything about Spain and it's food culture - this is a great resource and helped us plan our trip!

Let's talk about churros con chocolate. It looks amazing. It smells amazing. The churro is a strip of fried dough-crispy on the outside / soft on the inside. Then add warm chocolate sauce to dip in in. Not a runny, thin, drippy sauce-a thick, oozy cup of almost pudding-like sauce to really make sure it sticks in a thick layer to the churro. Do you crave one yet??

Well, I have to return to this spot to have a proper churros con chocolate experience because I just couldn't eat that day.

Chocolatería San Ginés is claimed to be the most iconic churrería in Madrid. This "to-go" window stayed packed with a line. I will be back Madrid - with big plans for being in this line!

You could try making your own...Spanish Sabores has a Spanish Hot Chocolate recipe online...churros too!


Another Christmas market while wandering Madrid

Our last night in Madrid was actually the last night of our trip. So, our path of overnight stays went: Granada, Toledo, Madrid, Alcala, Tudela, Madrid. We stayed the last night of our trip at the Tótem Hotel in the Salamanca district with little time to really do more than walk in a few shops nearby and eat dinner. The area was perfect for this! Lots of shopping and dining in this area.

Tótem Hotel

We landed at La Maruca for dinner and it was wonderful! I must have REALLY enjoyed it and been so distracted that I took no photos...

Our only shopping stop was to load up on cans of sardines and edible treats at Lafuente, a neat little epicurean shop we stumbled upon. No pics - but a great stop for take-home treats.

Cab ride on our last night in Spain.

Up next...Alcalá de Henares!


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