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Unread 3 Mar 19, 03:28 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Hola Madrid! 2019 Day Three: More Art, More Sun and more food before home

We all slept well again and were in no hurry to leap out of bed this morning. Once we were all up and dressed, Paul made scrambled eggs for everyone and managed not to serve any of us salted coffee. Result!

The day before, we had spotted a Churreria nearby so Hannah and I volunteered to go and get Churros to make our breakfast more authentically Spanish. We got a churro portion for one which had 4 large churros and a big pot of hot chocolate sauce and it was plenty for the four of us to share.



The churros were much nicer than any we had eaten previously - nice and crispy and not too much doughy batter inside. Yum.

Once we were full of churros, we finished our packing. Yes, today was our last day and it had come around far too soon. Our flight wasn't until the evening so we still had a full day but we were all wishing we could stay a bit longer.

Even though the AirBnB listing had said that there it was possible to store luggage, the host told me that we couldn't keep our bags there when I asked. I didn't think it was worth arguing about but it was a bit annoying. We found a place not far away called Lock and be Free and headed there to store our bags.

It wasn't a long walk and the guy at Lock and be Free was very nice and friendly. It was 5 euros for each bag and you just put them in a locker and set the code on it.

Bags deposited, we headed for the nearby Metro station. Our destination was Principe Pio station so we could visit the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, a church where Goya is buried and which has his frescos on the walls.

It wasn't a long walk from the station to the church. The guidebook had said that of the two churches together, the one we wanted was the one to the south. For some reason, I assumed this meant the furthest and so we headed in there.

It was very quiet and there were a couple of people sitting silently so we crept in and sat ourselves down. Looking around, there didn't seem to be any paintings and certainly no obvious tomb. After a few minutes, and after checking the guidebook description, I realised that we were clearly in the wrong church. Doh!

Trying not to disturb the other people with the hilarity of this, I managed to signal to the rest of the family that we needed to go to the OTHER church, yes the one we had just walked past.

As we left, a woman started talking to me and pointing. I understood not a word, other than "Goya" but she seemed to be telling me that we were in the wrong church and needed to go somewhere else. I smiled and nodded and thanked her and we hurried out of there. And went next door to the correct building!

It's a shame she didn't want to talk about her worries about emissions and use of public transport, as Evan would have been ready for a chat . . .



Here we actually saw the Goya paintings, which depict the story of St Anthony raising a man from the dead to exonerate his father, who had been accused of murder. The paintings are high up on the walls and in the dome and there are mirrors to help you see them better without getting neck strain. Goya's tomb is also here; he died in France but his body was exhumed years later and brought back to Madrid but without the head which had mysteriously disappeared!

After this, we headed back towards the station, popping into the attached shopping mall for a comfort break. From here it was a shortish walk to the Palacio Real de Madrid, which we had previously seen at night.

It really is an impressive building and the Plaza de Espana and the gardens that lead up to it are also lovely.





Being as we hadn't taken a boyband photo for a while, we also quickly formed one.



It was a lovely sunny day again and we were enjoying being outside. As we got to the gates of the palace, the changing of the guard ceremony was going on so we paused to watch it. The horses were beautiful.



There were some buskers nearby, playing a random selection of songs so we sat and listened for a little while, doing some people watching.



As we headed away, there were lots of police and police tape being put up to close the roads. There were also a number of men and women in suits and shades, whom we assumed were secret service. We guessed a VIP was arriving soon but also decided that we couldn't be bothered to wait and see who it was.

It was nice to just stroll through the city, enjoying the architecture and the atmosphere. Madrid is a really lovely place and we could easily have spent longer exploring.



Our next destination was the Plaza Mayor which is the main square. It hosted a lot of executions back in the day but these days is used for other entertainment and events.

There was a lot of scaffolding and fences while we were there - it looked as though a market was being set up or taken down and so you couldn't really get a sense of the space properly which was a shame. We also thought that it seemed like a bit of a tourist trap and it would be better to eat elsewhere.



There is a church nearby that has El Greco paintings on the walls but although we found it (the right one!) we hadn't checked the opening times and so couldn't get in.

We did spot this statue which looked like our black cat, Johnny.



By this point, we were pretty hungry and had decided to do as the Spanish do, and go for a big lunch. We walked on a spotted a place, Casa Parrondo, with a decent priced Menu del Dia and went in.

The Menu del Dia includes 2 courses, coffee and dessert and a drink and so is pretty good value. This place felt very Spanish with the waiters all in white shirts and waistcoats. They made us very welcome but it was clear that we were going to have to manage with a Spanish menu. And nobody seemed interested in either emissions or public transport.

The kids couldn't get a signal on their phones, so no Google translate either. We were on our own. We could guess at some of the items but not all of them, but we ordered a selection anyway. It was quite exciting not knowing what was going to appear in front of us!

I won the prize for most adventurous I think! As a starter Paul ordered a Russian salad with salmon, Hannah went for a tropical salad with chicken, I ordered fish soup and Evan went for what we thought was ham.

Paul's and Hannah's were as expected, but we were all quite surprised when Evan received a plate of artichokes with a ham garnish. And a potato. I'm so glad he's a bit older now, as I imagine a couple of years ago, that might have finished him off. However, he got stuck in and really enjoyed it.

My fish soup was served at the table - they brought a tureen and ladled it into my bowl, complete with bits of crab and various other unidentifiable sea creatures. It was all very tasty, if a bit messy, and I could have done with some nutcrackers to get into the crab legs but I did my best.

Main courses were equally surprising. We knew Evan was getting meatballs, and he did, but everything else was a mystery. Paul got a turkey escalope, Hannah received a piece of fish which seemed to have been cooked in an omelette rather than batter, and I got a thin piece of steak with a sauce that I can only describe as blue cheese. It was quite nice but equally quite unexpected!

It was a really nice meal and the guesswork just added to the enjoyment! We passed on desserts as we were full and just had coffees instead. We weren't sure if it was either/or with desserts and coffees and only later realised that we could have had both. However, we were full enough as it was, so didn't really need them.

It was all very good value and with the lovely friendly service, we had a great meal.

After filling our tummies, we really could have done with a siesta but unfortunately, had nowhere to go. We spotted a green area on the map which was nearby but when we got there, instead of being able to nap under a tree, it was a kids playground and not a good place to sleep!

The Museo Historico was there and as it is free, and we all needed a wee, we popped in. We used the facilities and then had a look around - they have a great relief map of Madrid and it was good to see the places we had been.

After this, we walked to what looked like a nicer park area. On the way, we passed this building which has lovely architecture.



There was a small park, complete with bench cycles. Yes, bench cycles - who knew?



There was a substantial police and media presence at the park, which was more of a square, and which turned out to be next to the Court of Justice. A quick google revealed that the trial of some Catalan separatists was going on today, so that explained the interest.

We sat on a bench for a while just chatting, while a curious policeman kept looking our way, clearly wondering if we were part of the spectacle. We also found some graffiti that was very uncomplimentary about a person called Ralph and which gave us fits of giggles. Sorry Ralph.



Evan also took a moment to worry about emissions.



(He cheered up later on public transport)



After a while we decided to head back to the area where we had stored our bags and have a drink before collecting them and heading for the airport. We found a nice bar in the Chueca area and had one last cerveca/vino tinto.



Then we collected our bags and set off for the airport. Evening flights do give you an extra day but also mean a fair amount of hanging around, as you are always conscious that you need to get to the airport.

The Metro was straightforward and we had been very impressed with the transport in Madrid. We might not all be constantly worrying about emissions, but we could happily choose public transport.

Once at the airport, we walked to our terminal, which again took forever, and chilled in the airport for a while. It is quite a nice airport and very spacious but there wasn't a whole lot to do. Which is typical of an airport!

I hadn't paid for seats on the way back as there had not been any of the reasonably priced ones left and we all agreed that it wasn't worth an extra 50 for a 2 and half hour flight.

We had been allocated middle seats (what a surprise!), 3 in consecutive rows and 1 a bit further back. As we got on the plane, the aisle passenger in one of our rows mentioned that her husband was in the same row as our middle seat further back, so she happily swapped with us. This gave us one pair of middle and aisle seats. Then a couple got on and one had the window seat next to us and the other person the aisle seat across from us, so we asked if they wanted to swap to sit together and they did. Now we had 3 in one row and 1 behind which was much better! This seemed to be going on all over the plane and I think most people ended up where they wanted to be.

The flight was fine and landed on time, 11.10 pm UK time. Immigration was fairly quick - apart from for Evan whose passport didn't seem to work in the machine reader. They got him sorted quite quickly in the other queue though.

Once in the terminal, the instructions were to text the parking people and they would reply with the pick up instructions. Of course, if Paul had opened the text and read the whole thing, rather than just guessing from the preview, then we might have gone to the right place first of all instead of walking to a random carpark and back, but hey, we did get the bus in the end!

Picking up the car was easy enough and before too long, we were back home and in bed.

All in all, we had a lovely time and could have easily stayed for longer. Our AirBnB was in a great location and we loved having our own apartment - it felt more chilled out than a hotel and it was good to have more space.

We had some great food and did lots of sightseeing and managed with the limited Spanish that we had. To be fair to the kids, the Spanish they learn in GCSE isn't much help on holiday but they did their best, even if Evan never did get to use his sentence with a real Spanish person.

This trip reminded us of how much fun it can be to go somewhere very different, where you don't necessarily know the language. We love our American Road Trips but we are also hoping to do a European trip next year and explore somewhere closer to home. And landing after a 2 hour flight with no jetlag has a lot to be said for it!

Next trip is Chicago and the Great Lakes which we are looking forward to - once we have exams out of the way. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!
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Unread 3 Mar 19, 05:19 PM  
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katiebaz
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Great report and love the mystery dinner, glad it was all edible though and no squidgy fish! Love the emissions references and find that GCSE languages seem to miss out the useful stuff like food, how to get around etc, but at least you chat about the environment
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Unread 3 Mar 19, 07:15 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by katiebaz View Post
Great report and love the mystery dinner, glad it was all edible though and no squidgy fish! Love the emissions references and find that GCSE languages seem to miss out the useful stuff like food, how to get around etc, but at least you chat about the environment
More squidgy squid would have been a bit grim. We joked about Indiana Jones and getting a monkey brain and a spoon but as nobody else seemed to be eating those, we though we were safe.
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Unread 3 Mar 19, 08:11 PM  
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DisneyDaffodil
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I have laughed so much at your last day, I love how you ordered the mystery meals. Im so pleased they turned out so well 😂

Im sure the reason you found the transport so easy to use was down to Evans mastery of Spanish relating to transportation 😂 . I do agree that GCSE language courses seem to teach unuseful vocabulary. Georgia learnt Welsh at GCSE level and gave a speech on the dangers of drugs in Welsh, she has an A grade GCSE but would struggle to ask directions if we got lost 😃

I love our European holidays and even though we dont speak any other language, we always find the locals very helpful wherever we go and get by somehow and it is nice to see other cultures on our trips. Madrid looks really nice and I think it can go on my, ever growing, list of places to visit
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Unread 3 Mar 19, 11:46 PM  
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pinktraceb
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Thanks for sharing! I'm just about to book Madrid mini break for my wedding anniversary so this was great!
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Unread 4 Mar 19, 11:22 AM  
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Melbatb
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Another great day! You were very brave on guessing the menu! We would have had to ask sin carne? and hope

I agree about late flights back - I booked an extra night in the airbnb in Iguasu Falls just so the last day would not be wasted - we had an 11.55pm flight!

Thanks for posting it!
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Unread 4 Mar 19, 10:33 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Originally Posted by DisneyDaffodil View Post
I have laughed so much at your last day, I love how you ordered the mystery meals. Im so pleased they turned out so well 😂

Im sure the reason you found the transport so easy to use was down to Evans mastery of Spanish relating to transportation 😂 . I do agree that GCSE language courses seem to teach unuseful vocabulary. Georgia learnt Welsh at GCSE level and gave a speech on the dangers of drugs in Welsh, she has an A grade GCSE but would struggle to ask directions if we got lost 😃

I love our European holidays and even though we dont speak any other language, we always find the locals very helpful wherever we go and get by somehow and it is nice to see other cultures on our trips. Madrid looks really nice and I think it can go on my, ever growing, list of places to visit
Im quite sure it was Evans knowledge of public transport that gave us such an easy time with the Metro!

Im impressed with the speech in Welsh though, its not an easy language. Glad you liked the report and enjoy Madrid if you get to go.

Originally Posted by pinktraceb View Post
Thanks for sharing! I'm just about to book Madrid mini break for my wedding anniversary so this was great!
Have a lovely time, we thought it was great

Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
Another great day! You were very brave on guessing the menu! We would have had to ask sin carne? and hope

I agree about late flights back - I booked an extra night in the airbnb in Iguasu Falls just so the last day would not be wasted - we had an 11.55pm flight!

Thanks for posting it!
At least we all eat most things so could be fairly confident we would manage - being veggie would have been much harder.

There wasnt much choice about flight times but I wouldnt have picked late evening. Hope your late flight isnt too much of a pain
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Unread 7 Mar 19, 11:26 AM  
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Great reports. We are off to Madrid next month, followed coincidentally by Chicago in July.
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