So here’s the third installment of our weekend in Madrid. On the Sunday we woke up to this. Look, it’s a rainy bank holiday weekend here in the UK at the moment so please excuse me reliving a sunnier time. For the other installments in our travels see here and here.
We were feeling a little delicate after our 3am bedtime so we took the metro (argh – why, oh why? we were hungover and feeling delicate so this was not a great start to the day. Note to self: do NOT buy a 3 day pass and then feel compelled to use it. A holiday is a fine time to take a taxi) to a place we had looked at wistfully the night before but that was all busy and booked up. It was the bread that had gotten under my skin. Look:
And the seating. One day I will have a huge barrel in my garden, in which I will sit and sip wine. Wine swilling in a wine cave once my babies have left. Sob.
Back to the food. The bread was good. Chewy and proper. Our delicate bodies thanked us for it.
We ordered some ham. Husband loved it. Me, not so much. I was feeling picky. In fact it had a lightly raw texture, that for me, with ham, wasn’t all that.
But these roasted red peppers, these were slippery and slimy in exactly the right way, and doused in a vinegary dressing.
And the tortilla was warm and pretty filling, despite my initial greedy piglet eyes thinking it were a little on the small side.
With an oozing centre and lightly caramelised onions.
Now this was a funny old thing. We ordered the red scorpion fish pie with tomato tartar and lime mayo out of intrigue and this is what arrived.
Red scorpion fish pie pate. It was kind of livery and fishy and a little smoked tasting. It was good.
And lastly these nut and raisin croquettes arrived which tasted good but were grey on the inside, and my poorly stomach was not in the mood for grey food. Passed these over to my husband too.
Special mention has to go to our waiter Ricardo, who was both beautiful and speedy. He made us feel next to dizzy with his ruthless efficiency. We loved La Bobia and would return in a flash. Perhaps when feeling less gross.
We went for a little wander around the El Rastro Sunday market. ‘Market’ is not really doing this whole situation justice. I was in shopping heaven. I love looking at random second hand stuff and cheap tat in other countries. I put it down to a childhood trailing around after my Grandmother on Leicester market. Anyway, I loved it and so wished we had organised ourselves to ask ‘how do we arrange UK shipping’ in Spanish. Many, many vintage housey things that I loved. But alas, we didn’t.
So I bought a new handbag and ditched the old one there and then. Which to me felt a bit like living on the edge, rash even. (Stay with me). My old handbag had seen me through the last 3 years of school runs and hospital trips when having little Lawrence and meetings in London and a visit to LA and even moving house. It felt a little off the cuff to just ditch it. I could at least bring it home to say goodbye. But no, Ryanair luggage allowances meant it had to go. It’s resting peacefully in Madrid now. RIP pretty blue bag.
I insisted we walk and walk and walk and husband needed a coffee so that’s exactly what we did. I was still on the water.
Now when I was a teenager I dreamed of dating a real man and not the silly boys of my own age. I thought a real man would take me to art galleries and the opera. And then I grew up and dated ‘real men’ that took me to places like this and realised, on the whole, I didn’t get that excited by cultural dates. Sure, some galleries I enjoy. But I’ll never be a person who lingers for 17 minutes at each photo breathing in the art wistfully. I’m onto the next. I’m always on an internal schedule, like my inner voice thinks I’m Oprah Winfrey. So when my husband expressed an interest in visiting the Prado museum I sighed internally and remembered a naval Bulgarian museum I visited on holiday once that was not as scintillating to me as I wanted it to be.
Anyway, I was wrong. This place is epic. I mean you can tell that just by seeing the floor in the foyer. I won’t bore on about the art we saw as that’s about as interesting as telling you about my dreams. Just this: if you’re in Madrid, do go. It was ace. I even enjoyed all the religious art. (*Ponders, is that an age thing?*)
When we left the museum a bird pooed on my shoulder. This put something of a dampener on my art uplifted soul, but hey, my husband is a farmer’s son. He didn’t care, he just set to work removing it with a tissue. You can keep your diamonds, give me a man who can remove bird poo any day.
To make up for the poo incident we went for a little walk, visited some shops (husband bought some dashing black trousers) and I treated myself to this beauty.
Oh but it was horrible. Sorry, but it really was. You see I had a fro-yo in LA that was strawberry Margherita flavour and I think it’s given me unrealistic expectations. I so wanted to like it but I just ate one spoon, skimmed off the topping like a 3 year old and binned the rest and stomped about moodily. I can force pretty much any iced dessert down so this was a low point.
To cheer up we visited this cute little place and bought the boys a little present each. They even wrapped the toys with lolly pops.
As much as small doors and lollies and cute toys were a happy distraction, the memory of a bad frozen dessert was weighing heavily on my mind. I had to sort it out. So determined was I to enjoy a delicious frozen pud that I made my poor husband stop for this.
Oh yeah. It put the wrongs of its disappointing, ugly yoghurt cousin right. Coconut, tiramisu, pistachio and pinapple. (The last was a sorbet). Oh my, oh my. I was a happy Holly so we could soldier on and walk a few more streets. Until hunger struck again (I know, it just doesn’t seem possible given the size of that ice-cream, but I’m a growing girl). We found a little bar that looked like a nothing place and ordered some patatas bravas.
And some salted deep fried padron peppers. (Yep, way too much salt but they were marvellous. I like the crunch of salt with deep-fried vegetables).
Croquettes hit the spot too.
Which just goes to show, that sometimes the least showy places can be just about perfect.
We retired early, legs weary. It was a great day, but we’re too far past 30 to be enjoying late nights and full days. We have kids for that. This was meant to be a rest.
We were still tired the next day. Embarrassing huh? So we just went for lunch before catching the plane.
It was a beautiful day, so we sat outside and enjoyed the last rays.
Little tidbits as my grandmother would have said. (Including deep-fried cheese with raspberry sauce which was something I will definitely be recreating at home. Some cheese croquettes, teriyaki chicken skewers and elegant cigar style spring rolls).
And my favourite was this baby. Blue cheese and me; we’re the best of friends.
One last tea and pastry at the hotel.
And so it was time to wave goodbye, to watch some clouds…
…to drink some actually pretty darned good coffee above those clouds…
And to welcome ourselves back to yes, a cold and rainy Britain, but also, on a brighter note, a mass of green patchwork. I do love coming home.
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