Hola from Madrid! It is currently 10:06 PM and the sun has just gone down. I am still so fascinated with the time of sunset here – just blows my mind. Anyway, it has been an interesting day filled with some fun and some yum things.
The hotel check out time this morning was 12pm…I love this. I wish this became the norm in Australia. We of course utilised this opportunity to write yesterdays blog and to shower and pack our bags etc as we were moving to the Contiki hotel. We ended up leaving the room at about 10 to have breakfast at a little restaurant right near the hotel. We regretted yesterday’s shitty continental breakfast so we weren’t making that mistake again. We both ordered the Spanish breakfast. This is a Spanish Tortilla, with a bread roll and a coffee. It was pretty damn good. The coffee was a bit weak and sweet for my liking, but definitely decent. The tortilla was excellent as was the bread. It was a good breakfast that did not make us too full.
Then we walked about 20 minutes to this amazing beautiful and gigantic park called “El Retiro”. It is really nice. We walked around there for a bit and we found the main attraction which is called the “crystal palace” (No, not the EPL team). It is a big glass house in front of a pond with some sculptures inside. It is really beautiful. We looked around and took a few pictures which was nice.
We then walked to a different part of the park which has a massive lake with a big monument behind is. We decided to rent one of the row boats that everybody was doing an go for a row. This was pretty fun. Aimee was terrible at rowing so I did most of it. Pretty fun cruising around the lake. There was a little fountain under the monument and we rowed over there, I accidentally rowed us into a fountain though and our butts got all soggy. Yuck!
As Aimee was getting out of the boat she dropped her phone into the boat which had a puddle in it. Her phone was not working after that. We thought we had busted it. Aimee was in a pretty shit mood because her phone was broken, we had wet butts and a long walk ahead. It was a pretty silent 36 minute walk to our next destination which was where we were going for lunch. Luckily at the end of the walk Aimee’s phone decided to start working again. This was a big relief as we have been relying on it for google maps pretty heavily.
Now more about our lunch destination. This is Aimee taking over to talk about the food, of course. We had seen YouTube videos about what is considered to be the oldest continuous running restaurant by Guinness Book of World Records and it just happens to be in Madrid so we made a reservation there for today. It’s called Botìn, it opened in 1725 and its specialty is roast suckling pig. We were asked whether we preferred to dine upstairs or downstairs. We wanted to dine downstairs in the cellars so we walked down a steep staircase to be seated. We ordered sangria, a portion of the roast suckling pig each (had to go with the specialty!) and bread to soak up the meat juices. Our sangria arrived which was very sweet and we sipped on it while waiting for our food.
The pork arrived at our table and the smell was amazing and it looked really juicy. There were bones so you had to cut away the meat from the bone but cooking it on the bone gives it more flavour. There was lots of crispy skin, yum! It was definitely the tastiest pork I’ve ever had. It was also served with roast potatoes which were a nice addition but certainly not the best potatoes we’ve had. It was a good thing we ordered that bread because there were lots of juices to wipe up on our plates.
When our plates were cleared we were given the dessert menu. We weren’t planning on getting dessert but we went for it anyway. Ronnie decided on the Arroz Con Leche which is rice pudding. Ronnie loves a rice pudding and he enjoyed this one too. It looked really creamy. I ordered the Tarte Botìn which was a layered cream cake. The cream was more like a custard with cinnamon but it wasn’t as bad as actual custard so I managed to get through most of it. It was also covered in meringue. At the start of this holiday we felt like we were walking so much we wouldn’t gain much of the weight we had lost back but as you are reading more about our food choices you can see we feel very differently about that now!
Anyway we settled our bill for lunch and made our way back in the streets of Madrid where it was getting very hot. We decided to do a little bit of shopping on Gran Via. This is a massive street that is loaded with shopping options. We had a bit of a look but we decided that we didn’t have the bag space and that upon our return to Madrid that we will do some shopping.
We then had to grab our bags from the hotel and catch an Uber to the contiki hotel – which is actually close to the airport which is a bit annoying because it’s pretty far away from anything. We met with our new tour manager Zach who seems pretty cool and our new group which is made up of 24 people. WAY smaller of a group than we are used to! This is also a modular tour which means that it is made up of two tours that break away from each other in 10 days time. After that there will only be 14 of us – so tiny! Everybody seems nice though. We had a beer at the hotel bar. It was lemon flavoured and pretty nice – they were called Radlers. They also served them with toasted almonds – nice!
There was an included dinner tonight at the hotel which was a super average buffet that was pretty generic and you could pretty much get anywhere.
We needed a bit of rest though which will keep us fresh for tomorrow which is our first real day on tour.
- Breakfast €7
- El Retiro boat hire – €6
- Botin lunch – €77
- Coke – €3
- Uber – €24
- Beers – €6