Monday, 25 February 2019

Madrid: Our Highlights Part 1

This year Scott and I wanted to spend some more time together as a couple. Whilst we adore the time we spend together as a family, we haven't actually been on a trip away together for nine years, so it was very much overdue. Fortunately I was a lucky lady this Christmas and Scott surprised me with a trip to Madrid over February half term. 

We decided to do the trip mostly on a budget to ensure that we didn't go overboard. It also meant that whilst we did venture into the tourist traps, we could also find those hidden gems that are raved about on social media. 

Madrid Sol
Whilst in Sol, we spent many an hour browsing the shops and department stores. One thing we loved was heading to the top of their biggest department store El Corte Ingles where there is a rooftop bar that enables you to take in the sights of Madrid. For us, it was something that we stumbled upon by chance (we were on the lookout for a toilet!) and something that we honestly loved. As long as you are happy to buy a few drinks, you can spend your time up here taking in the sights of the city and watching the world go by. 

Heading just off the main roads, we stumbled into the fantastic Museo Del Jamon (literally translates to museum of ham). A brilliant bar that serves cheap tapas and even cheaper drink. Whilst this chain restaurant might be cheap and cheerful, it's got a fantastic atmosphere and with everyone stood up talking and enjoying themselves, you can see why it's a must stop shop for locals and tourists. 

Whilst Sol is consistently busy and reminds me of Regent Street/Oxford Street, it's a perfect place to go and soak up the atmosphere and enjoy some real tourist areas!


vertical garden madrid

mercado de san miguel

A large part of the reason why I was excited to head to Madrid was to try copious amounts of food. Whilst I'm still on Slimming World, I've been trying to eat in moderation. But I couldn't wait to wolf down anything and everything on holiday. Whilst looking online for things to do, the food markets kept coming up as fantastic places to frequent and boy were they right!

We popped to a few, but our favourite by far was the Mercado De San Miguel, a food market just outside of Plaza Mayor. Fitted with multiple food booths serving everything from ham and calamari, to churros and sangria, it was the perfect place to spend a few hours and somewhere that we returned to quite a few times.

The highlights were a mix of 3 euro sangria, giant pastries for 1 euro and tapas that was just as cheap. One thing that stood out for me was the innovative ice cream from Rocambolesc. This thick gelato was topped with whatever I wanted and obviously that included cake and marshmallows. We could have spent days trying something from each of the stands! It's a fantastic way to try lots of the local delicacies under one roof.

mercado de san miguel

rocambolesc mercado de san miguel

Of course no trip is the same without some shopping and we absolutely loved browsing the shops along the Grand Via. Reminding me of the fantastic Oxford Street we have in London, this road catered for any shopping fanatic with a mix of high end and budget stores. I spent far too long browsing the book shops (yes I know I don't read Spanish, but I love a book shop) and venturing into the little boutique stores. I even managed to pop into their absolutely beautiful Primark. Yup, even their Primark is built within a gorgeous building!

I have to say that walking around Madrid, I was blown away with the architecture and how so much of it stayed true to it's original buildings as opposed to modern city skylines. I honestly had a fantastic time in Madrid and would love to go back and see what else I can discover in a few years time.

grand via madrid

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