Spain 2014: a day in Madrid

by | May 15, 2014 | Food & Drink, International Travel, Travel

After our full day in Malaga we would have loved to sleep in a bit, but we were up early to catch our flight to Madrid. The taxi ride to airport was uneventful, but “didn’t have change for a 10E note” for a 23.50 ride… mm-hmm. Personal pet-peeve of mine with taxi drivers — why do most of them seem dishonest?

El CentralThe flight to Madrid was uneventful, and we made our way through the airport to the Metro. While Madrid’s metro system can take you a lot of places, it usually requires at least one transfer from the airport which is not ideal when you have luggage and stairs are a constant sight. From the airport it took us about an hour to get to the center with two transfers.

Since it was just about noon when we arrived at our hotel we dropped our bags and had a second breakfast at the nearby Cafe Central in Santa Ana Square. Sunday was a gorgeous day with cool air and warm sun, so outside seating was a must. Plus the people and dog watching was quite entertaining. Eric had a limon schwepps with a ham and cheese sandwich and I had a glass of blanco vino with my tomato tostada. We did note that the portion sizes in Madrid were quite a bit smaller for a similar price… that’s life in a big city.

On our previous trip to Madrid we loved our visits to two of the major art museums, the Reina-Sofia and the Prado, so after eating we walked to theThyssen-Bornemisza Musuem to complete the Madrid museum trifecta. The Cezanne special exhibit was a pricey to add, so we skipped it and concentrated on amazing  general collection. It was inspiring to see so many old and new masters and classic paintings, including several women artists, which is quite rare in such a high quality museum.

Magritte  Dali  Picasso


We spent more than two admiring the artwork, leaving us quite foot weary. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel to get our luggage into our room, then relaxed for a bit.

beer, olives and hubby photobombAt 6:30pm we headed out to do some clothes/shoe shopping. We stopped at Naturbier first to try their drafts (light and dark) and watched a bit of the Seville football match. Both were drinkable, the tostada (toasted) was darker, with the rubia (blond) a more standard Spanish beer. These drinks came with yet another plate of green olives, which I love normally, but I was tiring of them after a week.

Shopping wise we mostly struck out but I did find a white linen shirt that I really liked at Springfield. The streets were very busy with lots of people out and about, including musicians entertaining the crowds for tips.

By 8pm we were ready for a snack so we followed some TripAdvisor reviews and went to Vinoteca Barbechera across from our hotel. The cold tapas choices didn’t appeal to Eric so he opted for the patatas bravas which were disappointing – spicy, but little flavor, and not crispy. Boo. At least the Rueda sauvignon blanc was nice, light but crisp. I started with a tempranillo rose and two cold tapas pieces – guacamole with cured meat (beef maybe?), and salmon on potato salad. Both on toast, of course, and substantial for the price. We did notice quite a few Americans here which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps if Eric had ordered a different appetizer we might have had a better overall experience.

Volapie interiorWe went back to the hotel to regroup and look for better dinner options, knowing some things would be closed on a Sunday night. After canvassing a few blocks around the hotel, we eventually stopped at Volapie for dinner, a place specializing in Andalucian-style tapas. Their menu was printed newspaper style and the waitress was eager to explain anything we needed help with. Eric had the Protos verdeho (from Rueda) as his first glass, which had good acidity and paired well with our food. I ordered the house rose (nice and fruity). A bread basket appeared and we also ordered some aged manchego and a plate of the albondigos (meatballs) in a light brown wine sauce and served with crispy potatoes. Very different than the tomato-based meatballs we are used to, but still tasty with good tenderness.

We still had a bunch of food to finish, so we ordered another round, Eric switched to a Barbadillo (lighter, slight sweetness) and since Eric liked the Protos white, I tried their Roble (from Ribera del Duero), a bit on the dry side but nice brown sugar spice and good with the aged sheep cheese.

Tagged with: Madrid | museu | Spain | Spain 2014

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Long Island, NY (July)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)
Grand Rapids, MI (Nov)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)