This report is about the second part of our 2001 trip;first part of the trip was the subject of another report tagged Turkey.
Madrid-Wednesday june 8th.
Our flight from Istanbul arrived in Barajas on time; but had to wait almost an hour to pick up our luggage and decided to take a van(shared) to our hotel.By 11 p.m.we reached the hotel.The Regente hotel on Gran Via at Mesonero Romanos is our hotel since 1981!!!! Not that it is luxurious, but has good size rooms and bathrooms,is updated,and location is ideal for us(any thing you need is one or two blocks away,Zara,Mango,El Corte Ingles, the Metro, Pans and Co for breakfast; dozens of restaurants).
We have been to Madrid many times(not less than 6, so we know the city pretty well,but we enjoy returning again and again).
Thursday(when we went to have breakfast and ended in Alcala de Henares):
As usual when in Madrid, we had breakfast at Pans & Company; and then go a few blocks to Hotel Maria Elena Palace to share a few minutes wth friends that made a stop in Madrid going back to Uruguay from Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
They are four persons, a couple friends of us(he is a chem.engr. as I am) and another couple of friends. e meet and they said they are going to Alcala de Henares(the birthplace of Cervantes); will we like to go? Of course; and a group of 6 starts immediately towards Atocha, to take the train.
At the station a niece of one of the couples, who lives in Madrid, is waiting us to be our “tour guide”; and a real good one she was!
This is a short and inexpensive trip, and the city ended being really interesting; home for lots of lovely storks, who have their nests in every bell tower.
We wandered trough the city, the ladies did a little shopping and the gentlemen decided to go to visit a church,then,the ladies come to the church,but it was closing time; fortunately,the lady in charge at the church decided there is no problem, and we can visit the church.
At the end of the visit we asked her for a good place to have lunch…and she takes the time to go with us some 5 blocks to a restaurant she likes,and where we have a good meal of asparagus(appetizer), sword fish with French fries for 4 persons,one choose “callos” and another a paella) and coffe or ice cream (8.50 euro per person).
Then we went to the archeological museum, (free admission); really a must ,with outstanding roman mosaics and a hall devoted to fossils;and to the house where Cervantes was born and lived part of his life(also free admission).In front of the house is a nice monument depicting Don Quijote and Sancho Panza; and we took lots of pictures.
Went back to the train station through a beautiful pedestrian street and the city market. Cherries are in season; and 1 kilogram vanishes in less than 10 minutes!!!
Back to Madrid we said good bye as our friends are returning to Montevideo next day(but a volcano in Chile has its own agenda).
Back to the hotel, we rest a little and decided it is time to visit El Corte Inglés, something we usually did almost every day.
We start to take a look at different things we will buy(all in the same day, in order to qualify to VAT discount), and also asked about the cart that entitles us for an additional 10 % discount.
We ended in the supermarket; where we have yogurts, “lomo iberico”, fruits and, as per Ekscrunchy advice, Tortas de Aceite.
I must confess I became addict to those Tortas de Aceite, sweet and anise seed flavored, they are good anytime of the day!!!.
We have a pic nic dinner at the hotel and went to bed.
Tomorrow: the day when we paid to meet a beautiful young lady.
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