Hola Madrid!

I like nothing better than spending a weekend in a different city. Over the last years I have done that quite often (click here and here e.g.) and every place hast something special. This time I traveled with my girls (it might sound pathetic at my age but even The Golden Girls stayed girls until the end). The organization could have been a bit better but we managed to get through the weekend without a cat fight (let’s drink to advanced age and nerves of steel).

The plan was initially to leave Vienna early so that we could explore Madrid already on Friday. The part about leaving early worked like a charm, anyway the flight was booked and would not wait for us, but getting five independent women to function as a group was not so easy. Eventually we managed to reach our host’s mansion where we were already awaited by his housekeeper (please, no envy here; let me travel in style once in a while!) and his cook. Imagine it as grand as it sounds, it was even better.

Thus fortified we took the metro back into the city to participate in one of the many free walking tours. The one we chose (or rather I) was a disappointment. Sandeman now caters to tourists all over Europe but the one in Madrid catered only to American tourists. I don’t want to have an American guide leading me through Madrid telling me stuff about Spanish history that all over Europe is taught in third grade. I wanted to hear new and exciting things and especially I wanted to hear a sexy Spanish drawl and not American slang.

So at the first opportunity we slunk away and headed for the Mercado San Miguel. There we sampled Spanish olives, nuts, oysters, custard tarts and German beer. Don’t ask me why but we didn’t see anything else. As inviting as it looked at first sight, it didn’t tickle my fancy. Too crowded, too many tourists and quite expensive. There were better places to be seen in Madrid. So across the Puerta del Sol (or rather Vodafone Sol as the metro station underneath is called; I wonder how much Vodafone is paying for this pleasure?) we walked to our next destination the Circulo de Bellas Artes, where you pay a small fee for the elevator and get access to a spectacular roof top bar.

There we stayed until the sun went down eventually and it instantly became cold. After another drink in the downstairs bar (also amazing with a live band very mixed audience) we had a short shopping break but taking the metro back to the outskirts of Madrid. Our host and his staff were already awaiting. It might have also been the thought of the freshly made paella that convinced us to leave the city rather sooner than later.

Once at the house a magnum bottle of Cava was opened and vanished instantly with the served tapas. No sooner than our first hunger was stilled was paella on the table and the feast just continued. Only when dessert was served, a chocolate souffle with whipped cream, was I in sufficient shape to take out my camera. Sorry to say therefore that from this memorable meal only a picture of the last course exists. But let me assure you that it was outstanding. Yours, Pollybert

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