After a relaxing week in southern Portugal, we flew over to Madrid, Spain to see the city famous for its beautiful architecture, hectic nightlife and of course, its delicious tapas.
It was a little disarming arriving in such a bustling city after a week spent on the beach, in the pool and sipping galãos every morning. However, we were energized by the thought of sangria and paella and ventured out to find a great spot to people watch. In a sprawling square called Plaza Mayor, we sat out on the patio and ordered some Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes in a spicy sauce) and fried chorizo sausage to share between sips of sangria. Not for the faint of heart.
In the morning, Dina's "coffee radar" led us to a charming little restaurant where we sampled the coffee and an order of churros (an unsweetened fried dough pastry). Although different from the Portuguese beverage, the Spanish coffee was strong yet smooth and a perfect start to the day.
When we finally got the chance to try paella (two separate times), we were somewhat underwhelmed. Perhaps it was the venues we chose, but I had expected to see a hearty mixture of rice, meat and seafood and instead we dined on a dish full of rice with a couple of chicken wings inside and a stray shrimp, mussel or two and a squid ring. Nonetheless, the delicate saffron flavour came through nicely and the rice was cooked to perfection.
Overall, Madrid impressed us with its architecture and with the wonderful hotel we stayed at, but we wished we had chosen a smaller, less touristy Spanish city that had a greater focus on local cuisine and a more relaxed pace.
Here are some more photos to give you more of a taste of our short stay in Madrid.