Well, my time in Madrid and London was wonderful. Getting there and back was challenging - especially for my suitcase. But despite my missing suitcase (eventually found), I managed to enjoy most every moment of my time there.
Madrid is a beautiful city! In some ways it really reminded me of Paris, so I've taken to calling it the "Poor Man's Paris". Madrid has amazing architecture, impressive boulevards, lots of parks and fountains, world-class art museums, and great food. My first full day there we took the metro and walked a ways to see the Museo
Prado which houses lots of religious icon-type pieces, including many by El Greco
. I'm not really into that type of art, but I appreciated the opportunity to see it. We then walked to a little sidewalk cafe where we enjoyed a cold beer and a tapas plate of cheese, pate, and pear. Muy bien! Our afternoon included a walk to the Plaza Mayor, Royal Plaza, and the cathedral. By this time my feet were killing me and I was so wishing I had my suitcase and could put on a pair of my flip flops.
After a siesta, we asked the concierge to make a recommendation for dinner. He directed us a a nearby plaza where we had our choice of about six outdoor cafes all serving raciones, which are similar to tapas but larger servings. We tried their stuffed tortilla, calimare, and a dish that sort of looked like fried Oreos, but was actually made from rice and pigs' blood. I know it sounds gross, but it wasn't. We also enjoyed the sangria there. It was warm out, and even thought it was after eleven o'clock, the plaza was packed with locals enjoying the summer night.
The next day, we made it over to the Puerta del Sol which is a great shopping and dining district. We also returned to the area by the Royal Palace for lunch at a sidewalk cafe we had seen the day before. The thing that appealed to us the most about that cafe was the misters in their umbrellas. On a hot day in Madrid, it feels so good to catch a little mist in the face whilst you sip rose and enjoy tapas. We then made our way to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia where we saw many works by Picasso and Dali. Once again, not my thing, but Michael really enjoyed the art there.
That night the concierge recommended another place for dinner. He described it as home-style Spanish food. It was delicious! We both had roasted asparagus (something I make at home, and my sweetie just loves it), and grilled salmon with potatoes.
The following morning, Michael tried to track down my bag and I went shopping because I was sick of wearing the same thing everyday! It's hard for a girl to be without her bag, let me tell you. We had no luck finding my bag until we were back at the airport in Madrid. There he was able find it in one of the airlines' lost and found. When we met up again several hours later in London, I was thrilled to see him with my bag!
We arrived in London late in the evening. The hotel was on the Thames River across from Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. We ran out to take some pictures and find a place for dinner. Nothing in our neighborhood was open, so we took a taxi to Piccadilly Circus where we found a little Chinatown and had some soup and a tofu dish for dinner. It wasn't the best Chinese food I've ever had...
Our last day together only allowed us a half-day for sightseeing as Michael had to go to work in the late afternoon. So, we took some more photos of the local sites before heading over to Buckingham Palace, where it just so happened that we were able to witness the changing of the guard. Very cool! Lots of pomp and circumstance, you know. Then we took a rather long walk over to Harrod's. The thing I enjoyed the most about Harrod's was the food court downstairs. What an amazing place! Such gaudy displays of every imaginable type of gourmet food. And there were many places to eat down there - sushi bar, oyster bar, pizza par, etc. We took a break and enjoyed tea and pastries.
Now I mentioned that my sweetie had to go to work, right? Well, that night he was working at the Tower of London! During the summer, a promoter puts up a large concert stage in the former moat of the Tower of London. After the sound check, we were given a private tour of the Tower. It was fascinating! So much history there.
The next morning, my sweetie escorted me to the airport for my flight home. I made it home, and so did my bag! He's still out on the road enjoying the sights in more fantastic cities when he isn't working. Lucky dog! I had such a wonderful time in both cities, and I really hope to go back and see more of Spain one day when I have more time.
If you would like to see some of my pictures in a slide show, you can use this link
. Click on the "i" on the first photo to see captions.