Honestly, after Lanzarote, Don and I both felt “complete,” like we were finished with this vacation and ready to go home. But we had three nights and two full days yet in Madrid. We used the time to simply be tourists, all the while staying in one of the most beautiful Air BnBs we’ve ever experienced. We truly felt “at home” and if we were to return to Madrid, this is where we would stay.
Victor, the owner, had arranged airport pick-up for us. We arrived right across the street from the Royal Palace and a lovely park.
Our “neighbors” were quiet and stoic!!
The dusky pink building is ours. We suspect it was an old hotel, now converted into apartments. The perfect final spot for our THIRD long trip of this calendar year!
Sunday we set out for La Bola, the spot we had discovered on our previous food tour, only a 3 minute walk from our new home. Victor willingly made a reservation for us, and we felt oh, so delighted that he did because most patrons were being turned away. Reservations are a MUST!
Now we would get to try the entire “madrilena Cocido,” from broth through meat.
The soup itself is the same we had on the food tour, only more of it. The broth is very savory, having been cooked for 6 hours over a charcoal fire amidst the other ingredients. Delish!
Chickpeas along with a small piece each of beef, chicken, sausage, ham, potato, garlic, and lard came tumbling out of the crock. I guess each society around the world has a dish that is filling and cheap, using whatever thrifty housewives had on hand. This one was delicious and VERY filling.
The waiter added a serving of cooked cabbage, one of those other cheap, filling, easy-to-grow, peasant vegetables. It was a veritable feast!!
Of course, we were too stuffed for dessert. NOT!! Don spied the people beside us having a good-looking treat, asked the waiter for ONE to share, and whether it was a language snafu or a good opportunity to make an additional sale, we each got one, and boy, was I ever glad. What’s better on a Sunday afternoon than a warm apple fritter and a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream!
So now that we were completely sated, what else could we do but 1) take a nap, or 2) go for a walk. We chose #2.
Oh, but before I leave the La Bola experience, let me just say that this spot has been frequented by movie stars, literary geniuses, sports figures, the famous and infamous over the years. Their walls are adorned by photos and autographs. It is truly an iconic spot, now made more famous by two travelers from Quakertown!!
Could it be that Madrid has the highest number of street performers and living statues of any city in the world!?? This was my favorite, and when I put a few coins in the box, the guy banged his hammer and motioned me to come and sit down. So I did!
We could have “called it a day” after an afternoon of eating and trouncing around the city. But no, there was one more “adventure” to be had.
Sunday night. . .milonga night!! Even in Madrid, home of flamenco, we found tango. Carefully plotting our subway strategy, shoes in hand, we ventured into the far northern suburbs of Madrid to seek out a dance floor. At Roble, 22 we found it.
As we reported to Pierre, this evening was like a neighborhood dance party with a side of tango. The DJ played a wide variety of music, from cha-cha to flamenco (which was the Madrid version of a Philly line dance and beautiful to watch), to folk songs, and then a few tango pieces.
It was the first time that we can honestly say that none of the dancers were any better than us!! So. . .the level of tango was “beginner” with maybe 1 or 2 couples as advanced beginners. Phew. . .we found our tribe at last!
Don even showed some fancy footwork doing the cha-cha. By 10:30 the crowd was thinning and so were we, so we wound our way back home via metro. Our beautiful little apartment was waiting for us.
Good night, Madrid. . .