Oct 8th, 2017, 06:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Surprise revealed, were going to Madrid! First week Dec. for 4 full days (have to get back to the family). Here’s what I need to know; restaurants in any area that specialize in seafood, paella and tapas that we shouldn’t miss, attractions that are a must, and do you think I can pull off a side trip to Toledo/Segovia? We are staying near the Gran Via metro station. Also, can anyone recommend a cooking class as I would like to perfect my paella skills? Thank you.
travelbuff127 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2017, 06:29 PM
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Madrid is a very big city with a zillion restaurants...
You might benefit from taking a look at a guidebook to decide what interest you.
danon is offline  
Oct 8th, 2017, 06:47 PM
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You have 4 full days? I would definitely spend one of them in Toledo.
At least a few hours or whole day in the Prado. Incredible collections.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 8th, 2017, 06:49 PM
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Oh, Segovia is beautiful, but I would not miss the cathedral in Toledo.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 8th, 2017, 08:19 PM
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Paella is not a traditional dish of Madrid. St. James, however, is excellent. It is expensive and old time sophisticated. And do not be put off by the English name
IMDonehere is offline  
Oct 8th, 2017, 08:25 PM
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Whether you can visit Toledo and/or Segovia depend on your interests! FWIW, I wanted 4 full days for Madrid itself, 2 full days for Toledo, and 1 full day for Segovia – YMMV. I would strongly encourage you to consult a guidebook or two so you can decide what YOUR priorities are in advance of your trip. The cost of a guidebook or two will be nominal in comparison to the cost of your tirp, and you will have a wealth of information at your fingertips. For that matter, you can consult one at a local library or book store...

kja is offline  
Oct 8th, 2017, 09:15 PM
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4 days is barely enough time to scratch the surface of the city, let alone time to enjoy the outstanding cuisine Madrid offers. Save Toledo and other day trips possibilities for another trip.
Robert2016 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 05:37 AM
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Sassafrass. Can u tell me more about Toledo?

Kja- even though I have limited time I want to squeeze as much as possible in. Please elaborate on what you enjoyed.

Robert2016: thank you for your input, but can u eleaborste on what were some of the highlights for you in Madrid?

Can anyone offer opinions on the Monastery in town?
travelbuff127 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 05:53 AM
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Given that you knew your short list back in July, I am surprised you didn't even seem to read about Madrid in the meantime. Each person has their own idea of what is a 'must' to do. If one is adverse to travel guides in book form, then just look at the city's tourism websites or travel forums that review attractions. Sure it is nice to have references, but every person is different. You would have to pay me big money to take time away from my plans to go to a cooking class in a city known for stellar museums, and I expect the thought of taking an afternoon to birdwatch in a local park has your eyes glazing over. So a little personal research would make it your trip.
quiltingmamma is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 06:44 AM
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Everyone is right about how much Madrid has to offer. It is a beautiful city and four days is very little there. I also would not bother with a cooking class, but all depends on your personal interests. I have spend whole days at the Prado. You can't see those paintings anywhere else.

You asked for me to tell you more about Toledo. It will likely be more than you wanted. My obsession with Toledo may not match your interests at all, but here goes.

I have been entranced by El Greco's "View of Toledo" most of my life, and wanted to see and stand in the place that was the inspiration for such a masterpiece. I also wanted to see other El Greco works in the museum in Toledo.

The history of Toledo is wonderful as it was a Mecca for artists, craftsman and great thinkers of different cultures and religions, and the respect and cooperation between them during that period is without parall. It is best represented in the Synagogue, named Santa Maria Blanca, which was built under Christian rule, by Moorish architects, for Jewish use, and is today preserved by the Catholic Church. Isn't that inspiring?

Another of my obsessions is with cathedrals, churches and synagogues, architecturally and culturally. Which ones people love is also very personal. The Cathedral of Toledo is perhaps one of my favorites. I have been twice and spent hours and hours, never wanting to leave. For me, the spaces are powerful and awe inspiring. The Transparante is most unusual and beautiful.

The little city, itself, is perched high on hill with beautiful views. It is a warren of tiny, narrow walk ways, between ancient stone buildings, especially atmospherical at night.

One caveat. Because I love hot weather and hate being cold, I have gone to Spain only in Summer and Fall, so have no idea if it would be too cold in winter to enjoy walking about in Toledo.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 06:47 AM
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Sorry, did not proof enough, meant "parallel".
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 08:21 AM
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Madrid is in the middle of the country on a high plain, of course, and far from the sea. It's 2000 feet above sea level (about 700 meters). December is not one of the drier months. But being the capital city, of course you will be able to find seafood restaurants and even restaurants that serve paella, just like you can find seafood restaurants in Paris.

I think in 4 days, you can do one day trip, either Toledo or Segovia. I enjoyed both but in first week of Dec probably think Toledo would be better as most of my time in Segovia was outside. I don't think any place is going to be that great in December myself.

I don't think going to cooking classes on a short vacation is a good use of time, but definitely not paella in Madrid.
Christina is online now  
Oct 10th, 2017, 09:02 AM
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Hi Travelbuff!

I will mention some of my best places in Madrid, please note, those are just places I like.

Royal Palace.

Almudena Cathedral.....modern, not to please everyone!

San Francisco el Grande...on the same street where Royal Palace and Almudena are located....... To me, the most beautiful churh in Madrid, amazing.

Museo del Prado. You can soend one or more days, or you can go for free at 6 pm and enjoy two hours looking at the best it has to offer. Don't miss Las Meninas, Los Borrachos, the Dureros, the paints fron Ieronimus Bosch, The Annunciation and the Madonna de la Malagranna both from Fra Angelico, and a charming sculpture...Elzabeth II veiled, a jewel.
Two hours are enough to see at least what I am telling you.....and you can return.

Museo Thyssen Bornemisza. Good, but not up to the Prado level.

Take a walk at the Prado Park.

Go for low cost shopping at Gran Vía, or high en shopping at Calle Serrano.

Every restaurant in Madrid offers, for lunch, a Menu...appetizer, main, dessert, water or beer, bread for a price between 9 to some 15 €..... Perfect for a break, and good quality in general.

For a nice dinner, I wil go for Ten con Ten or La Monteria( gor for the restaurant, not tapas, at La Monteria)
Ten con Ten is part of a group of restaurants, all of then of very good level....named Amazonia, El Paraguas and one more whose name I forgot.
You must visit, of course, Plaza del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Cibeles, Puerta de Alcalá.

Enjoy you stay!!!
jelopez33 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 09:22 AM
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Travelbuff :
As you are going in december , you must go for chocolate con churros at Chocolatería San Gines o a cup of coffe and one or two of the sweet treats at La Mallorquina, in one of the corners of Plaza del Sol.

Don't count calories.....just enjoy!
jelopez33 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 03:32 PM
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We did the chef's tasting at Lua ( last Thanksgiving and it was absolutely fantastic! Also had a great meal at Viridiana ( Favorite lunch was wandering Mercado San Miguel. Prado is amazing, but we loved Reina Sofia as well. And DON'T miss chocolate and churros!
lindatx is offline  
Oct 10th, 2017, 05:29 PM
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Among sites in Madrid that don't always make it into a rushed itinerary, my favorites include the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, and Templo de Debod. But my tastes could be quite different than yours….
kja is offline  
Oct 11th, 2017, 04:17 AM
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Well, the FODORITIES have awakened! Now those are the kind of responses I was looking for.

Sassafras;your love of art if truly inspiring. Reading your post totally had me enthralled and anxious to visit. We will see the Prado and Reina Sofia in Madrid for sure and hopefully the Monastery Descalzas thanks to KJA. Toledo and Segovia have been added to the itinerary in spite of short time frame.

Jelopez33: will be adhering to your advice and visiting Palace in Madrid, Plaza Mayor and del Solas well as shopping Gran Via as we will be staying in that area. We won’t forget the chocolate and churros either.

Christina - thanks for the advice and you’re right.... I’ll learn how to cook paella here!

Lindatx; I will look into the restaurant you suggested.

Please keep it coming. And thank you!
travelbuff127 is offline  

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