Tag Archives: Madrid

Sa Caleta beach — Ibiza’s Es Bol Nou

imageOne doesn’t fly to Ibiza and not experience its beaches. I, for one, am from faraway Madrid, and made sure I’d be able to visit one — Sa Caleta Beach.

Earlier, I was told this was one of the lesser known beaches of Ibiza, but I had to admit my disbelief when I arrived there.  Needless to say, Caleta is one of the most awesome sights I have ever seen.

The beach is nothing sprawling, but instead stretches only so far. Its smallness makes it easy for a few number of tall reddish and rustic cliffs to enclose it. Parts of the shore are dotted with dark-colored rock formations that further enhance the beauty  of the surroundings. Sa Caleta is obviously frequented, but this spectacular natural wonder seems hardly untouched.

The waters are bluish, and upon close checking, you would discover that they are crystal clear. From afar, the sea is serene, almost still, except for the repititous action of the water racing to the seashore as small, gentle waves.

We decided to see the place at 1PM, thinking that it was an early time. However, upon arriving at the site,  the beach is already filled with swimmers and sunbathers enjoying the day’s excellent weather condition.

Sa Caleta, I learned, is one of the handout beaches of many locals and tourists — they consider the beach as a favorite among all beaches in Ibiza simply because of its amazing natural setting.

How to get to Sa Caleta beach

From Madrid: Flight is more or less an hour. I rode the Iberia, which cost me 150 euros.

From the Town or Ibiza Airport: Car ride to the beach is some 15 to 20 minutes traveling the San Jose road towards Cala Jondal.

Autobus: Ride Bus number 26, which takes the Ibiza/San Jose/Cala Vadella route. You alight at Sa Caleta stop; the beach is 10 minutes away

Bit of trivia: Did you know that the Sa Caleta is the site where the Phoenicians first settled in Ibiza, during 654 BC. Because of this, it was included in the list of World Heritage sites in 1999.

imageThink twice about going to the beach late during weekends as it fills up early with local swimmers and beach lovers. The beach is the perfect place to lazily lull around, read a book or sunbath.

imageRock formations line up this part of the beach. I wish Madrid also has a beach as beautiful as this to speak of. Ibiza boasts of the most breathtaking beaches — it is a must that you see as many as possible.

imageThis reddish brown rock wall serves as a protection of the beach against strong winds. Such formation greatly adds to the already picture perfect setting, making Sa Caleta one of the standout beaches for locals and tourists alike.

imageDon’t be surprised if you would encounter habitues lying down or promenading by the shore without anything on. Apart from the cool waters, golden to white sands, blue and almost clear skies, nudists are also what you can expect at Sa Caleta

imageThe beach has shallow waters, hence, making it ideal for a number of water activities and safe for kids to swim in

imageRestaurant La Sacade is the popular beachfront restaurant with a terrace that affords the diners with an excellent view of the beach and Mediterranean Sea

imageI sat on this very table and took advantage of the best view of the beach.  The restaurant is open to serve beach goers all year round

Map

Madrid’s Mercado San Ildefonso — Food Market at the Heart of Malasaña

2017_101017_1354_744Whenever I am bound for Gran Via or Puerta del Sol, I always insist on using the Calle Fuencarral route, as I enjoy walking through one of the most touristy streets of Centro Madrid. In the middle of this road by the corner of Calle Santa Barbara, with boutiques of famous clothing and shoe brands dominating its length, is the food market called the Mercado San Ildefonso.

Where numerous food stalls are found under one roof, San Idefonso is in the same league as the Mercado San Miguel of Plaza Mayor and Mercado San Anton of Chueca. Here you can find and enjoy a wide variety of foods, not only Spanish but all types of cuisine — American, Mediterranean, Latin American, and even Asian (mainly Chines and Japanese).

Hence, if you happen to drop by at Malasaña, satisfy your hunger by dining at Mercado San Ildefonso. It is the perfect place to have some quick (and often necessary) chow that will energize you for your day-long shopping at Fuencarral or surrounding areas, or chat with friends while enjoying some rounds of drinks.

2017_101007_5529_388The place boasts of three levels, although the 2nd floor is where you can find the most number of food stalls. The picture above reveals a vinos bar on the top floorreceived_1142983672470334The specialty of this stall are savory paellas and other arroz-based dishes. They are served as tapas, which I thought is rare as paella is available in restaurants as raciones (bigger servings) to ensure the quality of the dish)2017_101017_1319_552This plate of paella of sticky rice of saffron and shrimps sells for 4 euros, one of the dishes I always try whenever I visit San Ildefonso. I’m just surprised that they serve it with a slice pan2017_101017_1306_410Madrid is known to be home to delicious tapas — they’re everywhere, especially in Mercado San Ildefonso. No doubt the chorizo tapa with pan above is inviting. You will certainly have a good fill to last for a day with this tapa. 3.50 euros a platereceived_1142983732470328San Ildefonso will never run out of jamon tapas. Jamon dishes costs from 3 to 15 euros, depending on the type of jamon, and quantity of your order (tapa or racion).

What to expect at San Ildefonso:

Venue: The market has three floors, with the second floor hosting most of the food stalls

What to Eat: All varieties, paella, bocadillos, all types of jamon, seafoods, brochetas, even crepe

Wine: There are bars to be found on every floor of the mercado, perfect for those who want to while their time away with family and friends.

Horario: From Sunday to Wednesday, the establishment is open for business at around 10AM and closes past 12AM. The rest of the week, it stays open until 1AM.

How to go: Take Autobus number 149 and get off at the last stop, Tribunal Station. Proceed to the nearby Calle de Fuencarral and take the portion going towards Gran Via until you reach Santa Barbara.

Map:

See Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Fly from Madrid in less than 3 Hours)

2017_100518_5831_954Spain is sunny almost all year around. You can bask in the sun in Madrid, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, or just about everywhere. Needless to say, you will never run out of days when you can revel and enjoy the amazingly warm Spanish climate. Still, if you want to go to where people say is the best place to head to during summer, pack your bag and  take the next flight to Tenerife. The largest of the Canary Islands, and the most populous one, it is one of Spain’s most important tourist destinations.

Let’s focus on Sta Cruz de Tenerife, the island’s port city, where you are like being transported to a tropical paradise, which is an amazing fact as the place is warmly nestled within the European continent.

And a tourist paradise indeed it is, as travelers go there to maximize their free time by relaxing, roaming around, dining, and enjoying the amazingly fine weather. Suffice it to say that if you are on a vacation and have chosen Tenerife for your destination, you will experience the best summer holiday ever.

What to see in Tenerife

Do you love the port, museums, plazas, boutiques and malls, water sports, and most especially the beach? These are some of the features that you can expect to enjoy when in Sta Cruz de Tenerife. This charming port has so much to offer that you’ll see yourself away from your hotel room all day. Vacation time here means imbibing its unique nature — the beach, the ocean, the volcanoes and mountains, and ancient towns. You will never want to leave this island the minute that you experience it.

The city boasts of an excellent transit system, offering efficient buses available in every nook and cranny of the city. But, there is no doubt that walking around the city is the best way to truly enjoy a taste of the capital. This is true especially if you are pressed for time to see as many tourist spots as possible.

Check out some of what Santa Cruz de Tenerife has to offer.

2017_100518_5843_944Tenerife offers great beaches where you can stay all day long to enjoy the warmth of the island’s summery climate. As soon as winter approaches the country, the city port is sure to start packing with avid beach lovers. Take a long lull at the beach or enjoy some exciting water activities at Tenerife.

2017_100519_5110_086The Plaza de España of Tenerife is one of the must-visit places in the island. Here you can see the Monument of the Fallen, a tower in the shape of a cross. Evidently, it boasts of designs influenced by Fascist architecture

2017_100518_5815_248After visting the Plaza de Españá, you will want to see another square just nearby, the Plaza de la Candelaria, the second most important plaza of the island. Here is where you can find historical sites such as the Casino of Tenerife and the baroque-designed Palace of Carta

received_1495893243811946Experience the beauty of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital of the island. The serene mountains can be seen from the hotel where we stayed.

Cheapest time to book a flight

When it comes to the weather, there is never really a bad time to fly out and visit Tenerife, as it’s warm all year round. Less visitors are around, hence, you can enjoy a much more serene stay.

As one who maintains a small budget whenever I travel, I make it a point to maximize my savings when buying fare tickets to my chosen destination. In the case of Sta Cruz de Tenerife, travelers who want to avail of lower plane fares must know that the Off season for flights to the islands are March to April, and November.These are the months when plane tickets are cheaper. Flying to Tenerife from Madrid? Flight time is a little under three hours.

Buitrago del Lozoya: Reach this Beautiful Spanish Town in Under Two Hours

2017_092318_0552_939My weekends in Madrid have always been monotonous — and I must say that they have turned doubly so, now that I have taken a new job. In fact, the latter has taken much of my time because workdays almost always include the weekends.  So whenever I am free on a Saturday, I find myself confronted with the dilemma of whether to just use such precious time to rest, or do what I really like, which is to travel outside Madrid.

Traveling outside Madrid meant choosing nearby towns that are preferably 50 kilometers away or even nearer.

This is why I am hesitant in visiting Buitrago del Lozoya, one of the smaller towns within the Community of Madrid, nestled in the Lozoya Valley near the Sierra de Guadarrama — and some 74 kilometers away from the capital.

Such a distance meant more or less 2 hours of travel, causing me to have some second thoughts . But then I realized that my previous trips such as Cuenca and Salamanca were also distant. And I was only too happy to have gone through such travels as these two are veritable goldmines as far as tourist attractions are concerned.

What to see in Buitrago de Lozoya:

2017_092318_0517_604The Arrabal Bridge, or El Fuente Viejo, as it is popularly called, is a strong structure that spans the Lozoya River. It serves as a link between the Andarrio neighborhood and the walled city of Buitrago. From the bridge, you are afforded a beautiful view of the river as well as the walls.
2017_092318_0536_853Fly-fishing days at Buitrago are weekends, like how I observed when I wander by the vicinity of the river last Saturday. I presume the river bank is littered with avid anglers any day of the week
2017_092318_0742_611The Rio Lozoya is the natural geographical feature that gives the town its name. This river almost embraces the town on all parts, which makes it an effective means of defense against enemies.
2017_092318_0454_840Another famous landmark of Buitrago is its Clock Tower, found in one of the walls of the city
2017_092318_0437_527Popular recreational activity in Buitrago is canoeing. with the river turning into a major natural water facility as families troop to the site with their own or rented canoes to enjoy paddling through the waters all day long
2017_092318_0352_901The small town of Buitrago is surrounded by thick, good-conditioned walls built as early as the 11th century. It is said that walls surrounding Spanish towns and cities during the Medieval Ages are commonplace; they are meant to protect  the towns and their people from invaders.
2017_092318_0342_911The crenels on the top edge of the castle walls have seen better days, yet they are obviously an integral part of what once were majestic majestic town walls meant to drive away prospective invaders during the Olden days
2017_092318_0327_958One of the major entrances of the Arab Walls, in front of the Sta Maria Iglesia
2017_092318_0314_199One of the minor gates of the Arab Walls, this one facing the River Lozoya
2017_092318_0305_728Peering through the main entrance to he walled town, you will be greeted by the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Castillo, a church that’s small in size but otherwise impressive in its interior.  Santa Maria Church definitely adds character to the already charming town.

Visitors of the town will also be treated to the works of Spain´s foremost writer as Buitrago maintains a Cervantes Museum, located right in its midst.

How to go to Buitrago:

Take the ALSA autobus 191 stationed at Plaza Castilla Station. The buses park and pick up passengers at Darsena 36. Tickets cost 5.10 euros one way. From Madrid, you will have arrived at the town in approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Map:

Museo del Romanticismo: The Romantic Museum of Madrid

2017_091022_0739_493Another museum that’s worth visiting in Madrid, Spain is the Museo del Romanticismo, also known as the Museum of Romanticism in English. Initially it was called the Romantic Museum, and right from its inception in 1924, it served as another art institution that many wanted to visit and see.

Located right within the heart of the city, its accessibility made it one of the most visited Madrid Museums. The museum occupies an 18th century edifice located near the popular and crowded Calle Fuencarral, within the Justicia neighborhood that also bear an equally popular Museo, the Museum of the history of Madrid.

As early as 1962, it has been cited as a Bien de Interés Cultural. The museum exhibits portions of a dwelling typical during the early Spanish days, the time when houses expressed love and romanticism. Some items are property of romantic personalities such as the writer Mariano José de Larra.

received_1125714104197291See the dining room above that’s typical during the olden Spanish days of the 19th century, bright, intricate and opulent.  The former Romantic Museum experienced a number of changes until it is able to fully expressed the romanticism of the 1800s.

2017_091623_5416_004The concept of a romantic museum started in 1921, as a donation to Madrid by the Marquis de la Vega-Inclán. He entrusted a great number of his art property such as paintings, sculpture and similar art items to the state. They were placed within an 18th century old edifice meant to be developed as a museum. As the years passed, more and more valuable art items were contributed to the collection of the museo such as that of De Larra and Marquis de Cerralbo.

2017_091022_0820_007The museum also features a billiards room, complete with beautiful portrait paintings, elegant chairs, and decors of the times.

Rules when visiting the Museo del Romanticismo:

1. Photographs

What attracts me to the museo is that they allow photos taken, although flash-type camera is not allowed.

2. Bags and stuff

If you must bring bags along, you will have to keep them in lockers available at the reception area.

3. Roaming the museum

The museums must have more or less 20 rooms, each of which is unique and assigned a specific purpose. The museum curator will provide you with a pamphlet complete with descriptions of the rooms. See to it that you have the correct description of the room that you enter.

Visit the Museum

2017_091021_3804_648

Location:

13 Calle de San Mateo, Madrid Centro

Hours

During Summer: Monday-Sunday 9:30AM-20.30PM
Winter time: Monday-Sunday 9.30AM-6.30PM
Closed on the following Dates: Jan 1 and 6, May 1, Dec 31

Entrance Fee:

3 euros

Free entry: Every Saturday starting 2PM, 18 May, 12 October, 16 November, and 6 December

Map

Sevilla and its Spectacular Plaza de España (and Royal Alcazar Palace and Garden)

2017_090323_0544_262Andalucia is one of the regions in Spain that display significant Moorish influence. It is likewise known for having a beautiful capital, Sevilla. And indeed, the latter is known for its grandiose and immense beauty. Luckily, we had the chance to see Sevilla, even if just to stop by at its two most important landmarks — the Plaza de España and Royal Alcazar. No doubt about it, if you’re flying to this city for a short time or you’re a first timer, it is imperative that you see the world-famous square and alcazar (castle or even military fort) In the case of Seville’s Alcazar, there’s no denying that it is one of the most beautiful in all of Spain, and comparable, if not more breathtaking, than the other famous alcazars of the country, including that of Toledo and Segovia. Despite the ending summer season, the sun decided to be searing, and the heat of the day is almost unbearable. Still, we decided see as much as we can. Time and again, it has been utilized as a location for films and TV series, which is understandable as it is just so beautiful. The first movie to feature it was the Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. The more recent one as a film location was the Attack of the Clones of the Star Wars saga. Some scenes of the 2012 movie, the Dictator, were also shot at the Plaza de España. The building exhibits mixed designs of Mudejar and new Mudejar as well as Art Deco, the result of which is the edifice’s total uniqueness.  It was built by Spanish designer Anabal Gonzales, right at the edge of Maria Luisa Park, and was initially intended to be the location where the exhibits of the country would be held. A bird’s eye view of the complex will reveal the place to be a huge half circle in shape on which the central building runs on the edge and over a river. It is accessible mainly by bridges that are said to be representative of the old Spanish kingdoms.  On the walls of the building are tiled alcoves; they are meant to represent the country’s provinces.

Marvel at the beauty of Plaza de Espana:

2017_090323_0638_255From afar, you may marvel at the magnificence of the main bricked-and-tiled building of the square. It is a premier Spanish attraction, and a must-see site by anyone touring  the country 2017_090323_0620_373Surrounding the Plaza Espana building is a wide canal, which is some 515 meters long.

The bridges

2017_090819_2042_038The bridges are not without important history behind its construction; they represent the four ancient Spanish kingdoms — these are Navarra, Leon, Castile, and Aragon.

Towers

2017_090322_3243_216Two tall towers, the south and the north towers, accentuate both ends by a pillared gallery. In front of these impressive edifice, positioned right in the middle of the promenade, is a large fountain.

Columns

2017_090323_0554_617The long facade of the square has tiled semi arcs supported by white columns, exhibiting styles from the Moorish and the Renaissance period. In front is a wide expanse of promenade where people enjoys a close view of the plaza

Royal Alcazar Palace

Another worth seeing in Seville if only for its heavy Moorish influence is the Alcazar Real Palace, which was the official residence of the Moor rulers during the start of the second half of the twentieth century. The alcazar has become all the more famous because it was used in some scenes in the Game of Thrones. 2017_090322_5633_282The gate to the Real Alcazar de Sevilla. Notice the tile with the depiction of the lion 2017_090322_2700_883The pond in front of the Alcazar lends an air of calm and romanticism to the place 2017_090322_5840_557The exterior of the Alcazar is the garden filled with trees, bushes and flowers. Also enhancing the garden are its pools 2017_090322_5831_309The high ceiling, the gigantic carpets plastered on the walls, and the tiled floors will greet you as you enter the Royal Alcazar.

Movies and TV series where Sevilla has been featured:

Plaza de España can only be described as both spectacular and breathtaking. It is no wonder that the place was the site of some of the major US movies such as Star Wars and The Dictator by Sasha Baron Cohen. Real Alcazar Palace, on the other hand, is where you’ll find some of the important scenes in the latest Game of Thrones season. 2017_090322_3336_729Starwars scene with the Plaza de Espana as backdrop 2017_090322_3319_270In the above photo, you can see walking through the promenade are Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, with the robot R2 D2 behind them. 2017_090322_3310_841Skywalker and Amidala at the Garden of Real Alcazar Palace

Let’s tour Plaza de Espana

Originally, Plaza de España was constructed for use in the 1989 Ibero-American Exhibition or the Expo 29. If you happen to visit Seville, you can still see the many pavilions and kiosks meant for the exhibition, particularly in the area of Parque Maria Luisa. Now, the square is touted as one of the best attractions of the province of Seville, together with its equally impressive cathedral. Tourists will love the means of touring the plaza, and these are carriage ride and boat ride.

Horse-drawn carriage tour

2017_090819_1541_961One of the best ways of seeing the Plaza is via a carriage. It’s spacious enough to accommodate around 4 people, albeit if you are in for a romantic experience, you can ride them with your spouse or partner to tour all around the plaza, and even beyond, to the landmarks and important points of interests of Seville. Hiring the carriage for an hour costs around 36 euros. It has a retractable roof for those who are avoiding the blazing rays of the summer sun.

Boat ride

2017_090819_1553_140Plaza España is surrounded by body of water wherein you can rent and ride a boat. The cost of a rowing boat ride is 5 euros for around 45 minutes. A maximum of 4 people can ride the boat — this is a fun and exciting way of seeing the square. If you want a much faster water ride, you can hire the motor boat, or the Enriqueta — this costs some 9 euros.

How to go:

2017_090819_1952_639The popular and fast way to get to Sevilla from Madrid is by train; travel time is from 2 hours and 20 minutes to 2 hours and a half. Go to the Train station in Atocha along Avenida de Barcelona, and you can catch the first ride at 7AM. Departures are every hour, thereafter. The last schedule of train ride to Seville is at 10PM.

Map

Restaurante Casa González — Iconic Cheese and Wine Restaurant in Madrid

2017_081517_3140_396I enjoy passing through Plaza Santa Ana because it is such a historic place, being the site of Teatro Espanol, the oldest theater house in Madrid. Within the plaza, you can find the statue of two of Spain´s foremost writers, and locals of Las Letras, Pedro Calderon de la Barca and Federico Garcia Lorca. I love that the area seems always animated and alive throughout the day. Obviously, such is brought about by the packed bars, cafes, and restaurants situated all over the place.

And just a few blocks from the plaza, along Calle del Leon, is yet another famous restaurant called Restaurante Casa Gonzalez. While online, the buzz is that its popularity is attributed to the fact that it has been the location for a few movies, many have turned to regular diners simply because because they are mesmerized by its picturesque façade.

I in fact, was attracted to it, having encountered a photo of its interior vividly seen through its clear glass walls from the outside. This, with an added romantic element that is a couple seated on a table set near the glass wall and obviously having an intimate conversation.

A bit of history

I learned that it began to serve as early as 1931; and right from the start, it established a reputation of being a cafe restaurant patronized by men of letters, and of the arts. Indeed, I did feel that Casa Gonzalez reeks in proud history — this is what you will immediately experience as you enter the place.

Even then, the restaurant is quite simple in its setting — antiquated enough to warrant some renovations in its designs, perhaps to give off some modern feel.

2017_081517_3252_588The tables are outdated pieces that are wanting of some fresh paint, or replacement altogether. Albeit, I am amused – even impressed – with its framed posters featuring ads of lesser known products

Obviously, the setting is not Casa Gonzalez main selling point, not even a bit. I’m sure it’s proud to offer some the best Spanish comida one could taste. Food blogs would not include the restaurant on their list of finest Madrid tapa bars if this isn’t true. A first timer myself, I am already confident to recommend to any one new in Madrid that they should try the restaurant’s sumptuous food offerings.

What we ordered at Restaurante Casa Gonzalez

We visited the restaurant with the plan to have a taste of its cheeses, which I heard it is famous for. But, then as we arrived, the tostas looked so delectable on the menu board that we ended up ordering them. Anyway, we still had cheese, melted ones atop a plate of tasty racion of lacon.

2017_081517_3421_335Jamon Braseado con Queso (Lacon with melted cheese), 10 euros
2017_081517_3408_336 Pate de Aceituna (Olives Pate), 4.50 euros 2017_081517_3355_804Morcillo de Cebolla (Pate de Aceituna), 4.50 euros 2017_081517_3331_280Arzua Gallego Fundido Con Membrillo (melted Galician Cheese), 4.50 euros Lacon with cheese, 10.50 euros 2017_081517_3229_276In the front part of the restaurant is a small area where to be found are two tables. At the back is a much larger space for dinners, with some 5 to six tables. Casa Gonzales is conspicuously small, and so, it isn’t surprising to learn that the place gets easily filled up even on week nights, like the evening that we visited. 2017_081517_3203_200Only a few could actually match this resto when it comes to cheese, wine, tosta among other things. As you enter, you will be greeted by its glass display filled with cheeses of all kinds and brands. Cheese is one of the products of Casa gonzales.

Location

12 Calle del León Madrid 28014

Opening Hours:

9:30AM to 12:00PM

Nearby landmarks:

Puerta del Sol, Cibeles, Plaza Sta Ana

Reservations:

No

Price:

20 to 30 euros for two diners

Map:

Mercadillo de Tetuan – Madrid’s Other Sunday Street Market

2017_073014_4623_061I had been to El Rastro a few times, like twice or thrice, roaaming Plaza de Cascorro and Rivera de Curtidores, among other important streets of the market. And every time, it never failed to fascinate it. It is not just a market, but more of a huge, open-air art and novelty gallery. This street market is situated within the boisterous neighborhood of La Latina, probably one of Madrid’s most eccentric barrio, together with Lavapies.

Rastro is popular for being one of the few Madrid street flea markets, and like the rest, here is where you could find almost anything that want and need, sold at dirt-cheap prices. Open full-blast on Sundays, it is a major go-to Madrid destination, and a must-see for both locals and tourists alike.

Mercadillo de Tetuan — Another must-visit market in Madrid

Of course, El Rastro is not only the weekend market in the city where you can enjoy some budget shopping. There is the Mercadillo de Tetuan, located in the neighborhood that bears the same name  – a place the attracts throngs of excited, would-be buyers every Sunday.

I am much nearer to the Tetuan Market, my apartment being just a few blocks away from it. Yet ironically, I had been there only twice, including this latest visit of mine.

While El Rastro appears as a labyrinth (hence, there’s a great chance that you will lose your way with one wrong turn), where you’d be surprised that even the narrow inner streets have a lot to offer, Mercado de Tetuan is much easier to check out as everything is conveniently laid out along the length of Avenida de Asturias. In less than half an hour, you would have traversed its whole length, starting at Plaza de Castilla (near Via Castellana Hotel) to its other end, which is within walking distance to La Vaguada mall.

What to buy

The market boasts of a wide variety of goodies, and a large percentage of them are clothing, shoes, and home accessories. The market offers affordable necessities, which makes it one of Madrid’s weekend center of attraction. Needless to say, all roads lead to the Mercado de Tetuan during Sundays, where people enjoy only the best buys.

2017_073012_2354_756Take the metro line 1 or line 10 and get off at Plaza de Castilla station. Seen partially in the photo is the Gates of Europe or Puerta Europa

2017_073012_2326_733Shirts and blouses for women and camisas for women are sold at 3 euros for 2 pieces. Similar stalls are aplenty so you do have a lot of choices. You you need to do is have the patience to rummage through piles of clothing
2017_073012_2247_901Football shirts, scarves, flags, key chains and other accessories, anyone?
2017_073013_4401_937One look at the fruits and vegetables and you’d say they are of the freshest quality. Those who need goodies to fill up their refs and kitchens can check these stalls found at the far end of Avenida de Asturias
2017_073014_4201_763I encountered a stall that sells bird cages, pet food and accessories2017_073014_4428_934A number of stalls entices more customers than the others because of the attractive wares that they offer, like the one above displaying psychedelically designed and colored bags.

How to go there:

Remember that the market opens only on Sunday, from 10AM to 3PM. But, as early as 7AM, vans containing loads of goods are everywhere, and stall owners are rushing to prepare their wares for the expected influx of prospective buyers.

Going to Mercadillo de Tetuan is easy. Plaza de Castilla Metro Station is nearby, and accommodates Lineas 10, 9, and 1. Numerous EMT buses use the plaza as their parada, including 27, 42, 49, 67, 107, 70, 129. Autobuses such as 147 and 5 passes through the area as well.

Museo Thyssen Bornemisza of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art

2017_072317_5139_496After Prado and Reina Sofia, what else is next? Of course, it’s the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum along Paseo del Prado, another famous art museum in Madrid, Spain. It’s definitely one museum that I mustn’t miss since it is considered as one of the major ones in the city. For one thing, it holds a gargantuan collection of valuable art pieces, with over 1600 paintings and similar items on display.

I was simply awed by its current artwork, many of which are available for viewing by the public. Thyssen affords art connoisseurs and lovers the chance to experience and revel at the variety of outstanding artwork that come from different periods of time — these include the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and up to the modern popular art.

The Thyssen Museum boasts of unique paintings from major worldwide artistic movements such as the Fauvism, German Expressionism, together with the experimental movements that sprouted in the twentieth century.

You will find on its top floor a number of religious art work, most of which are from the  17th and 18th centuries, while on the lower floor are found a variety of modern art pieces. Clearly, there is something for every visitor to enjoy.

Likewise, Thyssen is known for its great massive collection of 19th-century American paintings, many of which cannot be found in other European museums. Because of its rich collections of artwork, it is understandable that the museum is packed with visitors every day of the year, attracting close to a million visitors a year. The presence of Thyssen, plus other major museums, renders the city of Madrid as a major player in the art world.

Where is the museum located?

What I love about Thyssen is that you can find it right in the midst of the city, together with the two other major Madrid museums, such as The Reina Sofia and The Prado Museums. These three popular museums, found in the area of Paseo del Prado and Atocha, form the so-called Golden Triangle of Art of Spain.

When it comes to the other nearby tourist sites and attractions, you can troop to the Puerta del Sol, Cibeles Palace, and The Temple of Debod, places that are just a few minute walk from the museum. Such sites are must-visits by anyone who is in town for the first time.

Another recommended place to visit after seeing Thyssen and getting hungry from all that art viewing is the Plaza Mayor, the ideal spot in Madrid. It is the most famous square of Spain, and one that I go to if I want to have a bocadillo or paella.

It’s an ever busy square that offer local events, and even a perfect place if you enjoy watching people walking and bustling by. Of course, there’s the Terrazas de Thyssen right inside the museum’s premises to satisfy your hunger.

2017_072317_5046_898The Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday starting at 10AM up until  6:30PM. On December 24 and 31,  the museum is open until 3PM.  It is closed on December 25 and January 1.

Individual access tickets are available to all visitors; such a ticket allows full access to the Thyssen for one day. Access includes all temporary exhibitions on viewing during that day.

How much are the tickets to the Museo Thyssen?

The cost of the regular ticket is around  €12.00, but if you are a student, a fine arts teacher, or a senior, that give you the chance to avail of discounts.  The ticket prize is also reduced to 10 euro if you belong to a group of seven. But, you want to take advantage of free entrances, Thyssen offers free entry to the museum’s permanent collection during Mondays, from 12PM to 4PM.

Las Terrazas del Thyssen and the gardens compliments the museum

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2017_072317_5115_526In front of the museum’s gardens is the Las Terrazas del Thyssen, a 3-floor food establishment that offers a variety of casual and easy-to-dine food. This makes the  restaurant one of the top dining choices this part of Madrid. In fact, the Las Terrazas is place to be by those who prefer to spend their night on an amazing u4ban dining club.

An exhilarating experience

2017_072317_5209_279I must say that my Thyssen visit is truly unforgettable. For one thing, I had the chance to view and experience immense amount of valuable artwork. Also, the place itself is inviting — it was easy for me to lose myself in the spacious rooms as I enjoy breathtaking art items on display.

The hours seem so short as I focused on immersing myself at the amazing collections; but still, I took time to also visit the gift shop and drink some bebida (refreshment) on the Terrazas. Needless to say, my visit to Thyssen is one to cherish forever, one that has enriched my life in a profound way.

How to go:

Autobus: Go for EMT 1, 5, 9, 14, 20, 34, 37, 41, 51, 53, 52, 146, 150

Metro: Take Line 2 and get off at Banco de España

Via RENFE, Atocha and Recoletos are the nearest stations to the museum

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7 Must-try Spanish Restaurants In and Around Madrid Centro

Centro Madrid, needless to say, is one of the Spanish meccas for tourists because it covers the districts and neighborhoods where found are some of the country’s most engaging sites and attractions. In the south, you’ll find Latina and Embajadores neighborhoods, while situated in the East are Recoletos and Colon. The Northern portion is bounded by Chamberi, among others, while Moncloa-Aravaca is located in the West. Within its confines are innumerable must-see attractions like museums, churches, plazas and monuments scattered around popular touristy areas such as Puerta del Sol, Gran Via, Atocha, to name a few.

Likewise, Centro Madrid is touted as a hot spot as far as iconic bars and restaurants are concerned. This is exactly what I love about this part of the city– it easily boasts of a great number of food establishments that serve all types of food imaginable. Of course, if you are a tourist, try as many of the typical Spanish fares as possible.

Below are 7 popular restaurants in and around Centro Madrid that you must dine at. Note that for every restaurant, I also recommend a top dish that you should try.

1. Museo del Jamon (Gran Via)

Museo del Jamon, Calle Mayor is one of the most popular in Sol, MadridFor great Spanish eats, a top choice is Museo del Jamon of Gran Via, Calle Mayor and other various locations. It is popular for serving a great variety of Spanish food fare at affordable prices. Traditional Spanish comida are found in menu here, and available in both tapas and raciones. Quick and cheap servings of tapas can be had on the bar on the ground floor. For instance, bocadillos of lacon, chorizo, queso, and jamon sell for 1 euro apiece. On the second floor is where sit-down dinners and multi-courses are served.

I recommend its mouth-watering Callos de Madrileno

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2. Cafe Melo’s Bar (Barrio of Lavapies)

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For those looking to savor zapatillas, check out what I personally think is the best in Madrid, the ones served at Café Melo’s Bar. Located at Lavapies, along Calle Ave Maria, it serves some of the tastiest and chunkiest zapatillas in town. It’s not only a huge delicacy, both in size and taste, but also reasonable in price.  One can relish its heaping lacon-and-cheese sandwich for only 11 euros. That’s for one whole order, and a bit over 6 euros for a half. Another must-dine at Melos is its croquetas — a delightful, crunchy ball with hot gooey cheese and ham bits in its inside.

Even a half-order of Zapatilla more than satisfies

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3. Bar Santurce (Plaza General Vara El Rey, La Latina)

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You must have visited El Rastro for its variety of inexpensive knick knacks and various other items, which are sold on shops and its network of streets. But I must say that your visit to this barrio is not complete if you have not dined at Bar Santurce and tasted its grilled sardines. Located along General Vara del Rey, customers, old and first-timers, would not mind the cramped, no-frills dining area as they are simply after its main offering, which is its tasty grilled fare. The dish is eaten best with pimiento de padron, a piece of bread, and ice-cold beer.

Opt for a tapa of Pimiento de Padron

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and of course, its grilled sardines

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4. El Brillantes (Plaza Emperador Carlos V, Atocha)

El Brillante at Plaza Emperador Carlos V MadridAtocha is known for being the site of one of Spain’s premier museums, Museo Reina Sofia. Within the barrio, you can also find Atocha Metro and RENFE stations, transport systems that will bring  from you anywhere in the city and all around Spain.

If you find yourself in Atocha, a good choice to pacify your hunger is at El Brillante, an iconic Spanish restaurant that takes pride in serving what according to it are the most delicious calamares sandwiches. In fact, it is not shy to post a sign that says Brillante’s bocadillo de calamar is the best in the whole of Madrid.

Where its Bocadillo de Calamares is a must-eat

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5. Casa Labra (Calle Tetuan, Plaza del Sol)

2017_050120_2843_549Casa Labra used to be a Tavern that right from the start had been serving unique cod croquettes to residents in this part of Madrid. With its location within the area of Puerta del Sol, and in front of the El Corte Department Store, the restaurant is proud of serving its highly in-demand cod croquette.

Savor its croquetas de Bacalao

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6. Chocolateria San Gines (Calle Arenal)

Especially if you’re a sweet tooth, your tour of Madrid is never complete without dropping by San Gines. Suffice it to say that this cafe bar has some of the most popular churros in town. Although I was misheard by the lady at the counter and got me some borras instead, which were too much for me to finish. Had a hot cup of choco, which surprisingly wasn’t that sweet like I thought it .
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While others like churros, i love its porras more

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7. Mercado San Miguel (Plaza de Sn Miguel, near Plaza Mayor)

The most popular market of its kind, where hundreds of food kiosks are lumped under one roof selling various fares such as mariscos, dulces, vinos y cervesas, chicharrones, and even paellas. If you’re one big tapa lover, you must head to this market of hundred tapa bars just outside Plaza Mayor. You will be bewildered by the seemingly endless tapa choices, each of which is sure to satisfy your craving.
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Have a taste of chicharrones, among numerous other delightful tapas

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