Saturday, October 29, 2011

Viva La Espana ~ Madrid

Viva La Espana ~ Madrid

 The first stop to our trip is Madrid, the capital of Spain. Getting into the modernized Castillan city of Spain is easy with the yellow airport shuttle bus that costs only 2 euros per person. It did not take long to ferry passengers from Barajas Aeropuerto to the heart of Madrid at Plaza de Cibeles or Atocha Renfe station.
If you are staying in the city centre, like us, we stopped at Plaza de Cibeles and hopped on the metro to get to our hostal at Opera station. If you are going to travel out of Madrid immediately, Atocha Renfe is the best station for you to hop on the high speed Renfe trains.

Our hostal is just above Opera station, which is a stop from SOL station at Puerta del Sol. It is also less than 5 minutes walk from Puerta de Sol. I would say the hostal is in a very good location at a very reasonable price.

Getting around Madrid is very easy on the metro. You can purchase your tickets from the automated machines. It cost 1.50 Euro for a single trip regardless of distance. It will make more sense to buy a 10-trips ticket which costs less than 10 Euros. The ticket is transferable and can be used at the same time for 2 persons.

Puerta del Sol is like the central interchange for a few metro lines and is the heart where every local and tourist would meet. Around Puerta del Sol, it is within walking distance to shopping arcades, such as Zara, Mango, H&M, El Corte Ingles (departmental store) and FNAC (electronics megastore).

The bear and the Mulberry tree at Peurta de Sol.

Kilometre Zero, the plaque that marks the sport where all distances in Madrid are measured from.

Stepping in Plaza Mayor. a 17th century square of Old Madrid, where public bull fights, trials by the inquisition and executions. Plaza Mayor springs into live in the evening, where you meet locals, tourists, human statues, basking acts, surrounded by many restaurant serving the best local food.

The Plaza Mayor coming to life in the evening.

Mercat de San Miguel is a local market within walking distance from Puerta del Sol.
This market is not exactly a big market you will expect to find lots of fresh produce. There is one of each stall that sells meat and another selling fresh fruits and vegetables. The majority of the stalls sells seafood, tapas, olives and beverages. A hotspot for locals who patronize after office hours to enjoy a vast variety of tapas. Simply find something you like, order and have them prepare it on the spot for you. You can either have it over the counter or find a bar table to enjoy your tapas.

La Mallorquina at Puerta del Sol is the must visit for everyone. It is adored  by the locals at anytime of the day. The window displays will entice you with their vast variety of sweets and cakes. The ground floor is the bar service counter where you can order and eat over the counter, as well as take away counters. The first floor is a sit-down restaurant that serves local food.
The local love to come in, order their favourite sweet pastry and a cup of coffee and enjoy it over the counter. People just come and go, but the shop is always packed and the reason is obvious!


A breakfast for 2 should cost you no more than 5-6 Euros.


In the middle is churros or spanish fried dough, the locals have it dunked in hot chocolate or coffee, sprinkled with sugar or savoured the way it is.
Another pastry and 2 cups of tasty brew costs us 5 Euros only!


Take a walk around Plaza Santa Ana and discover the many interesting shops and Spanish restaurants. If you are staying in Hotel Miau, you are right at the centre of Plaza Santa Ana.
It did not take us long to find a lovely tapas bar that serves in our opinion the best Paella that we've had. No to mention the fragrant grilled Langoustines are heavenly.

To view all the pictures of Madrid, visit complete Madrid Album here:

Photography by WIFI
©2011 a day in the life of a bearbrick

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