We had such a great time in Motril, it was really sad to say goodbye to the sea, but I was pretty excited when we set off on the next leg of our road trip – MADRID! We set off on convoy early in the morning, driving through the mountainous region of Granada, the olive groves of Jaen and then up through the sun scorched fields of Castilla de La Mancha – the land where petrol stations stock hunting knives and massive cheeses and where I saw my first ball of tumble weed. TUMBLE WEED :)))! Wouawouawoua (Wild Wild West Music)…Indeed, the motorway stops and motels of Castilla de la Mancha look like they have come straight out of Tarentino’s film “From Dusk Till Dawn”- Creepy vibes from the knife window displays, stares from men with eyes in weird places and the motels look like you would need to sleep with one eye open or you could wake up without a kidney… Needless to say we stopped and had the most amazing Spanish Tortilla and Strong Coffee and we left without a scratch, but with all the knives on show, the imagination does go wild…
The traffic intensified as came into the capital. We drove past sky scrapper’s and along grand boulevards to reach the city centre. It was really nice and sunny and so, after dropping our things off, we went to explore the city straight away. Our first port of call was Puerta del Sol, the centre of the radial network of Spanish Roads. It was super fun standing at the Kilometre 0 point, taking pictures of the iconic billboard signs of Tio Pepe and the even more famous symbol of Madrid El Oso y El Madroño, a giant statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree, the symbol of the city.
Puerta del Sol was pretty busy but we sat for a few moments by the large fountain in the centre of the square and enjoyed the sun. All of a sudden, a gaggle of giant foam cartoon characters appeared and started mingling amongst the crowds in the aim of getting tourists to take their photo. Mr Bean, the Minions, they were all there. I really wish now that I had take my picture with them because they were hilarious, especially when Mr Bean and Bart Simpson started engaging in some sort of photo turf war, which after some comical gestures, required a hot flustered Bob Square Pants to intervene. Was I in Madrid, or was I actually dreaming?
The cartoon action was getting intense and so we decided to move off in search of some shade and the old quarters of Madrid. The narrow streets were cool and lined with orange trees. The houses were brightly coloured and in between the old fashioned barbers and coin collectors there were flamenco taverns and tapas bars. This place seemed to embody everything Spanish, from the food to the sounds, it was all there. A must see if you are ever in the area is the Arco de Cuchilleros, the Barber’s Arch, that leads to the grand Plaza Mayor, which has beautifully painted walls, corner turrets and balconied three-story residential buildings – starring up at those houses was most definitely a “life goals” moment if ever there was one…
Although the open air terraces of Plaza Mayor looked appealing we decided to have lunch at the famous restaurant, Casa Lucio’s, who’s signature dish “huevos rotos”, Spanish Ham, Eggs and Chips has been enjoyed by all sorts of celebrities, from Leonardo Di Caprio to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy. For pudding, because there is always room for pudding, we waddled over to the Mercado St Miguel, an incredible place, full of counters and stands with dried hams, cheeses, olives, wine, coffee, fruit smoothies, exotic fruits and of course my favourite, macaroons and cakes. Not too dissimilar to La Boqueria in Barcelona, along the counters there were stools to sit and it would have been a great place to have a more informal lunch surrounded by locals and definitely the right place if you are looking for some seriously photogenic food! After some amazing pistachio and raspberry macarons, we rounded off our first day at the symmetrical French design Sebatini Gardens and incredible Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, who unfortunately forgot our invite for afternoon tea..
So here are the pictures from this glorious day, some of you may have seen some of them already in my Madrid Trip post featured in Mess Magazine, but for those who haven’t here they are!
Reflective Glasses – LEFTIES
Blue Faux- Leather Jacket – ZARAS
Blue Jeans – RIVER ISLAND
Shoes – CONVERSE
White Shirt – STRADIVARIUS
White Floral Jumper – LEFTIES