Madrid and Toledo - discovering the center of Spain

I've been there once in September 2014 already and have good memories only back to that time where we've met friends for tapas and enjoyed the citylife. I  thought I will write a blog about it "mañana" - which means 1:1 translated tomorrow but the spanish meaning is somewhen in the future if ever :) And that's how it goes, I do it now, more focusing on the 2018 visit :)

What I remember from the last time 4 years ago was that we stayed at a really cool hotel, Roommate Oscar. In the area of Chueca including a rooftop pool which is a cool think as it is still very warm in September.

This time we stayed in an NH hotel a bit outside of the citycentre but easily accessible by bus (just took a while until I figured that out :) and the hotel was good too.

Madrid is a beautiful city and best is to discover it by yourself as everyone has his own interests on which you can focus then.
Recommendations I can share:

  • Book a Free City Tour! It lasts about 2.5 Hours where you walk around the city centre and the guys have great knowledge to share background. At the end you decide what you would like to give to the guide for the tour. There are differnet operators - I have linked the one we did and good a cool and fun guidance by Dani, "un gato" Born in Madrid, lived in different other citiies in Europe and is now back in his hometown.
  • If you like sunset and would like to have a great view over the city, go to the Templo de Debod! You can find an egyptan temple there as well (was closed for visitors when we where there) and the view is really really cool!

  • The areas Chueca, Huertas and Malasaña - so many alleys with bars, tapas and other restaurants where I could spend Hours and more days! The citycentre is lovely to see but for eating I would rather stay out of the citycentre (experienced bad service)  and the alternatives in the other areas are just too good! For the shops outside of the centre just consider the famous siesta - most of the shops are closed between 2-5 pm.
  • Thanks god for Friends in Madrid and Toledo who recommended to block a day to see the former capital of Spain. It is only a 30 minutes drive by train away and definitively worth a visit. What a gem! If you ever in Madrid and haven't been to Toledo - go there! You'll see buildings from jewish, christs and muslims door by door who lived in Peace together - I think the world should be more like Toledo!
    I want to go back one day and see this beautiful city by night as well. What you need to know (and our dear guide was wrong about it): There is one train per hour and you Need to book your ticket and reserve your seat. When we arrived at the trainstation, the train we were approaching was full already and we had to wait for another hour.
    Another thing what was really cool was the Tourist train who drove for another Ootlook point of the view!

You probably know that I love delicious Food and Madrid has plenty of it - These are my hotspots:

  • Markets: Mercado de San Miguel - cool place., Pretty crowded though. Mercado San Anton - Beautiful market too where you can eat and drink, less crowded :) 

  • Maceira - been there in 2014 but still can't forget the delicious galician seafood. Loud but fun place!
  • Saporem - Located in Chueca, we entered the place for dinner. It was soo delicious! Only to mention the Tuna Tataki! Very friendly staff as well! What I also like is that they would charge if you don't finish your plate. Hard for me to imagine how this could happen but I like the Approach to fight against foodwaste.
  • Cacao Restobar - stopped there by coinsidence, specialized in venezuelan Food. First time I had a Sangria de la cava - it was yum! And the foood oh my good! We started with Patacones which was already delicious, headed over to yum garlic shrimps and octopus and ended it with a passionfruit cake! Very friendly muchachos there - served the dessert with a chocolate heart only for me <3 (at least this is what they said but they got a TripAdvisor recommendation from me in return which I do very rarely, only if something is really bad or exceptionally good :)
  • In Toledo, we got a very delicous lunch with a very friendly service too (after we had some bad luck before where we left because we didn't got served but Looking back, it was great luck that we have moved). For 20.- EUR you get a fixed Price menu where you can choose starter, main course and dessert and bottle of water or glass of wine is included too. I had delicious strawberry gazpacho with an Avocado Tartar, a part of the iberian pork and passionfruit-mascarpone creme topped with ginger. What a fantastic place to eat!

We have also eaten at other places, mostly tapas and itt was everywhere delicious! You can't do much wrong I guess in Spain, Cava Baja for example is another famous tapas street which is common for spanish people to try some tapas and then move on to the next one for more drinks and other tapas.

I do also have a "secret list" from a local wtih more spots - if you're interested in, let me know, I am happy to send it to you :)

Impressions from Madrid

Impressions from Toledo