Our front door
The interior courtyard, all musty and mysterious.
We’re off to Madrid by train, a renfe fast train at that, but unfortunately a “stopping all stations” version, so not too much super speed action. A good chance to rest the legs, listen to some Django Django tunes (get on it peeps!) and watch the countryside rush past.
But before that, some thoughts on Barcelona.
– Wonderfully atmospheric
– full of history
– outstanding winding laneways packed with interest.
– spectacular buildings, none better than Sagrada Familia
– the gentle waft of sewerage on street corners can be a little off putting, but…
– clean, tidy, and not nearly as dodgy as I was led to believe, stories of pickpockets etc are to be highly exaggerated. If you wear a sign saying ‘I’m a dickhead tourist’ you get what’s coming to you, everyone else…just simple precautions.
– not much grass, or trees…or vegetables!
– fantastic food and booze, the sangria and vermouth are to die for!
Welcome to Madrid, via a very smooth train ride. Caught a taxi a whole 2 km to our digs, then got stuck in the little plaza out the front of our apartment during a thunderstorm.
We are staying in the Lavapies district, which isn’t the sort of area you would immediately choose if you saw it before you booked!😖
The place is as multicultural as you could get, full of Africans, Indians, Arabs, shifty looking characters, and the odd Spaniard. It’s probably a bit like the crummy end of Smith Street, Collingwood.
But…once the dust settles and you get your bearings it’s actually pretty good, and as the day turns to night it changes complexion to become a diverse bar culture come tapas hangout for the inner city set. Plus a couple of Aussie tourists!!
The number one attraction in Madrid is the Museo Nacional del Prado, and it so happens that after 6pm it is free entry, so guess where we were at six, enduring a queue?
The queue was short, courtesy of us lining up at the lesser known entrance, planned of course!?
We spent almost two hours wandering around pretending to know what all this art meant, when in reality most of it was either Madonna & child, or Jesus meeting his maker…and variations on that theme. Actually it was pretty spectacular, especially those by the Spanish master Goya, as well as the retrospective Picasso’s.
The Prado is regarded as one of the great art galleries of the world, so it was nice to be there, just not sure if I have anymore Renaissance art in me this trip!
Regardless, we saved €30 which can’t hurt and will go nicely towards dinner.
Speaking of which, we’d heard of this very cool rooftop restaurant, hidden away behind the doors of a local college, which just so happened to be about 200 metres from our place, so off we went.
Gau&Cafe is an open air rooftop bar/tapas/restaurant with lovely roof level views over the city.
We sat down and perused the Spanish menus, tried with varied degrees of success to interpret it, and waited of our waiter friend to take our order, only for her to come back with the English version! We weren’t too far off, but would most probably have ended up with pickled tripe if left to our own devises!
As it so happened we had black ink squid croquettes, some fancy omelette(y) thing, referencing Don Quixote Man from La Mancha, with spuds and chorizo, and a strangely addictive dish of crispy skinned chicken rolled around prawn, with a curry and mango sauce! More food than you could trip over, which is a lesson learnt for next time…order one course at a time, pace yourself, and pace some more.