Our flight back to the US left out of Madrid, so we spent out final night in Spain here again. This time we stayed next to the Puerta de Atocha train station, as we were arriving there, plus it would give us easy access to the Real Jardín Botánico and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
After checking into our hotel (and passing our COVID test), our next stop was lunch. Just two blocks away we grabbed an outdoor table at Bar Noa, a small cafe with a Canary Islands focused menu. We split papas arrugadas and croquettes, and paired it with Canary Island wines (a malvasia from Lanzarote and a red from Tenerife).
Fortified, our next agenda item was the famous garden, Real Jardin Botanico. Note that Google had the correct entrance, but had marked a path through other gates that are not operational… Anyway, we paid 4€ for the ‘garden only’ pass and meandered through the gardens. Since it was early May lots of plants were in bloom, but the irises really stole the show.
We also saw some beautiful peonies, trees including chestnuts, and of course, more mock orange in bloom. Everything smelled so good!
There is some background traffic noise in the gardens, and combined with the the heat, we wore down after about 2 hours. Needing a quick break we decided to cool down at the hotel and change for the evening.
Refreshed, we headed to the Reina Sofia, which has free tickets available from 7-9pm on weekdays. There was a line, which we learned could have been skipped if we requested the free ticket online ahead of time — need to remember this for next time. Unsurprisingly, the museum was fairly crowded, especially around the ever-popular Guernica (no photos!). We did see lots of Dali, Picasso, Miro, and Gris.
After an hour we decided we had our fill of art (and crowds) and searched out a pre-dinner cocktail. The Jazz Bar had lots of cozy corners and a nice jazz concert on the speakers. We ordered a Penicillin and the Vieux Carré, and both were lovely cocktails with a lot of flavor. What a great little bar! Recommended and would return.
For dinner we had reservations at Bodega de Los Secretos, a restaurant in a former wine cave. We were shown to our table in a side nook and ordered a bottle of cava. For my entrée I choose the pumpkin and Gouda ravioli which was superb! Leandra mused that she had eaten a lot of beef in the last week, so she opted for stuffed monkfish and roasted vegetables in a rich cheese sauce. The staff were quite friendly and helpful, and overall it was a great dinner in a beautiful space, a very nice way to end a long-overdue trip to Spain.