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Archive for the ‘Madrid’ Category

Friday, May 30, 2014- Breakfast in Madrid, Spain at Starbucks

Jamie says: I was exhausted last night but woke up quite refreshed. Today is departure day from Madrid. It almost started to feel like (a vacation) home where you get to know your way around. I packed in the dark and waited for Starbucks to open. (Yes, the Starbucks coffee shops in Spain don’t open early like in the US, opening time is around 7:30/8:30 AM!) I walked over to the Starbucks for a cup of milk. When the barista asked for my name, I said Jamie. He paused for a while. I then said “Jaime” and he got writing quite quickly.

Jaime, the Spanish Jamie

Jaime, the Spanish Jamie

I enjoyed my hot milk (didn’t know I was going to get it hot but it was good!) with a splash of decaf coffee and a couple of Kashi granola bars I brought from home. For the price paid for a cup of milk, you could buy a gallon of organic milk in the US. But it was worth it. It’s interesting how the pricing/conversion from Euros to dollars can be deceiving. Everything is more expensive here.

2nd floor of Starbucks in Puerta del Sol

2nd floor of Starbucks in Puerta del Sol

I enjoyed my window view and then returned to the hotel to catch the taxi with my family. Adios, Madrid. It’s been awesome!

Quiet morning streets in Madrid

Quiet morning streets in Madrid

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Thursday, May 29, 2014- Dinner in Madrid, Spain at Istanbul

Jamie says: We bought espadrilles, the local shoes with a sole made from a rope-like material and a fabric top, from a little shoe shop called Lobo on a street corner.

Espadrilles sold here- and lots of them!

Espadrilles sold here- and lots of them!

It was packed. You had to take a number like you would at a deli counter in the grocery store. The young employees were very helpful and friendly and showed me how to properly lace the shoes. (I took a video, too, just in case I forgot.) There were many varieties and colors of espadrilles to chose from…

Shoes, shoes, shoes

Shoes, shoes, shoes

…and all 3 of us ladies ended up with different colors.

J in orange, K in green, and Mom in black

J in orange, K in green, and Mom in black

On the way back to our plaza, we saw a Women’s Health Magazine event taking place in Plaza Mayor.

Cover girls? :)

Cover girls? 🙂

K and I jumped in and got our Zumba on for a few minutes. Fun!

Zumba in the square

Zumba in the square

When we were back in Puerta del Sol, we joined Dad and started our walk for dinner. Before I could decide on food, a store with brightly colored athletic clothing called “Lot of Colors” roped me in. I bought a new biking shirt and running shorts that are super neon. I left happy as a (hungry) clam.

Earlier I was intrigued by a Turkish fast food restaurant called Istanbul and decided to return to give it a shot.

Turkish food

Turkish food

It was interesting how the meat was displayed on this vertical post for carving. It reminded me of another place in the States, but I couldn’t quite remember where.

Meat!

Meat!

I custom ordered a chicken wrap with lettuce, extra tomatoes, onion, and yogurt sauce. It was probably my first custom order of the trip. It seems difficult to customize here. (“Have it your way” doesn’t apply in Spain.) The wrap was large, filling, tasty and salty. I think I’m finally chickened out, though.

The happy employee who even did a custom order for me

The happy employee who even did a custom order for me

After dinner, I got my photo with one of the street performers. There are tons of them here. I’m not sure if it’s a job or a hobby, but let me tell you what, there are some pretty interesting costumes and acts out there. The one guy I got my picture with was in this position for hours! It blew my mind…

One of the cool street acts!

One of the cool street acts!

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Thursday, May 29, 2014- Sweet Treat in Madrid, Spain at Wowble

Jamie says: After the museum, we were in the mood for some shopping. On the way to our destination, we passed our square, Puerta del Sol, and a bubble tea was calling my name. After tasting K’s tarro flavored bubble tea yesterday, I had to have one of my own. I chose the coffee and milk flavor, selected the chilled option, and took the recommendation of the yogurt bubbles.

Bubble tea being shaken. Next stop is the label machine.

Bubble tea being shaken. Next stop is the label machine.

It had a nice coffee taste, and the bubbles burst with a sweet juice when chewed.

Bubble tea- coffee style!

Bubble tea- coffee style!

Mom found her McDonald’s coffee and K joined us (she played photographer on this pic).

Mom and I with our drinks in Puerta del Sol

Mom and I with our drinks in Puerta del Sol

The drink quickly disappeared (as most good drinks do). Time to shop!

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Thursday, May 29, 2014- Lunch in Madrid, Spain at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Jamie says: We arrived at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and headed right for the restaurant. The two level outdoor patio was pretty swanky.

Upstairs, outdoor dining at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Upstairs, outdoor dining at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The menu resembled art…

Museum lunch  menu

Museum lunch menu

…And the flowers were calming.

Hello, table flowers

Hello, table flowers

I ordered the chicken burger. It was nice and large. I liked the honey mustard-like mayo dripping off the sandwich. The orange pieces, which I thought were carrots, turned out to be unmelted cheese. It tasted different than the chicken burgers I was used to and liked. When I was half-way through eating, it hit me. Silly me, it was ground dark meat like most poultry in Spain. It’s interesting how I prefer the taste of the healthier option. The coleslaw was typical, the potatoes plain. (I shared most of the potatoes with my Dad whose meal was light).

Ground chicken burger- made with dark meat

Ground chicken burger- made with dark meat

We were then off to the museum. For some reason, this picture of a ballerina held my attention. Maybe I’d seen it before, or maybe I just liked the warm glow.

Swaying Dancer by Edgar Degas

Swaying Dancer by Edgar Degas

I also liked Picasso’s Bullfight painting. It reminded me of the Guernica I had seen the other day.

Bullfight by Picasso

Bullfight by Picasso

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Thursday, May 29, 2014- Dessert in Madrid, Spain at Smooy

Jamie says: K and I hit discotecas (clubs) last night. We said goodnight to Mom and Dad and sauntered the streets of Puerta del Sol. We were early- 11 PM, but club promoters had fun enticing us with their specials and proudly showing off their clubs to us. Alejandro sold us on his deal- 5 euros for 5 clubs. He walked us over to the club and introduced us to David who was our tour leader and sheppard, moving us from club to club. K and I really enjoyed the DJs’ mixes- including remixes of many American songs of which we knew quite well. We made friends with a few people from different areas of the world- Spain, Belgium, and our homeland, the USA. We decided to call it a night after 2 clubs. We weren’t even tired but didn’t want to feel it the next day. We went to bed late- after 1:45 AM (or at least it was late for us).

The sisters and our discoteca tour leader, David

The sisters and our discoteca tour leader, David

We attempted to take a train to Segovia this morning, but the tickets that we purchased had the wrong station of departure. We were all in good spirits about it.

My “second stomach” opened up soon after my snack and I was craving fro yo. I wanted to try Llaollao but it was closed (at noon!). I returned to Smooy and chose the chocolate fro yo with Oreo (where was the cream filling?!) and chocolate granola with white and milk chocolate pieces. I must have been craving chocolate (surprised?). It was awesome.

Super chocolatey fro yo!

Super chocolatey fro yo!

Ironically enough, after my sweet treat, it was time to see the tooth fairy! The tooth fairy, you ask? Yes, in Madrid, right next to our hotel, they have this adorable museum dedicated to the tooth fairy. It’s quite precious.

Tooth fairy museum in Madrid

Tooth fairy museum in Madrid

The funny thing is is that their tooth fairy is not quite a fairy- it’s a rat! His name is Raton Perez.

Smile big- with the tooth fairy- Raton Perez

Smile big- with the tooth fairy- Raton Perez

Our animated tour leader told the story of the tooth fairy in Spanish to a group of enthralled children. She managed to sneak in many messages about good teeth hygiene, including flossing. Great idea. I thought of my dental friends from the University of Florida immediately.

Learning about the tooth fairy- which in Spain is actually a rat- with all the children

Learning about the tooth fairy- which in Spain is actually a rat- with all the children

There were so many intricacies for the kids to see that it was hard not to believe. At one point, the kids (and me and Kathryn) crawled through this little doggie door to get into “the house” with Raton Perez. There was a model of the house and a mailbox where you could leave your letter to the tooth fairy. Super cute, people, super cute.

Letters to the tooth fairy go here

Letters to the tooth fairy go here

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014- Dinner in Madrid Spain at Mercado de San Miguel

Jamie says: Next stop- Plaza Mayor. One of the most memorable memories (is that redundant?) was how absolutely excited Mom got when she saw the sign for Ulysses. It surprised all of us how Mom jumped for joy (literally) when she saw the sign. I guess none of us could relate because the three of us skipped this laborious read.

Mom jumping for joy at the Ulysses sign

Mom jumping for joy at the Ulysses sign

Plaza Mayor reminded me of Venice.

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Mom found THE place for bocadillos de calamares (fried calamari sandwiches)- Casa Rua. They made them fresh right before your eyes.

Calamari sandwiches made before your eyes

Calamari sandwiches made before your eyes

Mom loved it. K enjoyed it, too. I played photographer on this one.

Mom and her bocadillo de calamares

Mom and her bocadillo de calamares

Now it was time for me to find my food Heaven- and we did. Mercado de San Miguel captured all my attention for the night. Dad loved how excited I was- like a kid in a candy store.

Time to go to the market! Get excited!

Time to go to the market! Get excited!

It was beautiful! The first thing that captured my eye was the corner display of produce, then the colorful drinks. I decided I was going to make my rounds before buying anything.

Pretty drinks

Pretty drinks

Other foods that captured my attention included: a fancy display of different types of nuts…

Fancy presentation

Fancy presentation

…a cone with sweets

Sweet tree

Sweet tree

…and shots of yogurt.

Shooters- with yogurt!

Shooters- with yogurt!

Kathryn found this cheese booth called Moz Heart that had the most beautiful selection of toast with a plethora of soft cheeses. It was divine and exquisite! A favorite we raved about for days.

Cheese bliss

Cheese bliss

And I found seafood. I’m not a fan of mussels or clams so I asked if it was possible if I could have more shrimp. Wish granted- the guy picked the shrimp out one by one with his bare hands and put it in my cup. I appreciated his effort, prayed his hands were clean, and enjoyed every last bite, sharing the few random clams with Mom and K. It was delish!

Scrumptious seafood

Scrumptious seafood

The fruit beckoned us- especially me. We picked up mandarin oranges, which we enjoyed as sweet juicy snacks.

Mandarin oranges

Mandarin oranges

The figs was the best fig of my life.

Fresh figs!

Fresh figs!

It was hard to say goodbye to the market- but fate had it that we’d be back.

Night-night, bustling market

Night-night, bustling market

But our night wasn’t over. We next ventured back to Plaza Mayor to see La Torre de Oro- a bar dedicated to bull fighting.

La Torre de Oro

La Torre de Oro

After seeing the pictures on the wall, I do have to say this was a much better way of experiencing the bull fights.

Pictures of the bull fights were enough for me

Pictures of the bull fights were enough for me

They were not only gory but could be lethal.

Everything bull

Everything bull

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014- Dessert in Madrid, Spain at Smooy

Jamie says: After the Prado, we walked toward our next museum, the Museo Reina Sofia. (We bought a pass granting us access to 3 museums). On the way, we stopped to smell the roses. Just kidding. K took a picture of me and Mom matching in our new pants- near a ton of flowers, though.

Mom and I in our matching Spain pants

Mom and I in our matching Spain pants

The highlight of the museum was Picasso’s Guernica. It was pretty crazy. (Again, no photos were allowed, so check out the link.)

We more quickly strolled over some other pieces of art. K was most enthralled by all the art work. She’s our museum girl. I couldn’t help but take this picture of K. Timing is everything.

See the resemblance?

See the resemblance?

After the museum, I was ready for my first frozen yogurt of the trip. I stopped at Smooy which was literally a rock’s throw from our hotel.

Smooy- cool name, tasty fro yo

Smooy- cool name, tasty fro yo

I chose…chocolate frozen yogurt topped with kiwi. I couldn’t believe it. I chose kiwi for my topping. I don’t usually mix fruit and frozen yogurt but it sure was good. I’d repeat it for sure!

Chocolate fro yo + kiwi = a new delicious treat

Chocolate fro yo + kiwi = a new delicious treat

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