Espana at last! Learning to eat tapas like a Madrileno

Adam and I had wanted to go to Spain for a while and, admittedly, we had entered Spanish borders previously when we visited my aunt and uncle in southern France a few years ago and they took us for a day trip to several Basque towns, including San Sebastian but we were only in San Sebastian for a few hours and didn’t know at that time the difference between pintxos and tapas or that San Sebastian a culinary mecca. But our fifth wedding anniversary was coming up and it was time that we visited Spain, which has long been high on our list.

We caught a red-eye flight from New York to Madrid and after checking into our hotel, headed straight for the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, a local modern art museum.  Heading northward, we couldn’t help but notice the bright red tulips in the botanical garden, and popped in to check out the flowers.

real-jardin-botanico-tulips1

We were pretty hungry afterwards and stopped off at an informal tapas place north of the museum where we shared a
racion of was akin to a tasty beef stew. Unfortunately, my stomach started hurting while we were there and we went to the Prado afterwards which may not have been the best idea. I’ve seen a lot of religious art but am not so keen on it and was even less so in a museum filled with religious art and few benches to provide temporary relief to the weary or, in this case, pained museum patron. Fortunately, Madrid is a very walkable city and within ten minutes of leaving the Prado, we were back at our hotel. The pain dissipated after a quick siesta and I took the opportunity to check out the shops near our hotel while Adam continued his siesta.

Deciding where to go for dinner can be a weighty decision and, fortunately, I made the right one–old Madrid, where tapas bars line the streets. Like the gringos we are, we arrived to the tapas bars early but this actually worked in our favor. We’d go to each bar as they opened and would be among the first people there but that meant we’d have the whole place to ourselves for a good ten to thirty minutes, after which more people would start filing in and we’d move on to the next place. This continued until we could no longer contemplating eating any more tapas and happily ambled back to our hotel.

Madrid (don't remember where I took this)

Madrid (don't remember where I took this)

Yum, tapas!

Yum, tapas!

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