Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 3 - Madrid

Day three we managed to get up with our alarm at 9:30am. We were hankering for something other than our beloved egg/jamon/cheese sandwiches, so we foolishly decided to try and find this coffee shop we'd heard was good. 30 minutes of walking and searching later, we were back in our hotel ordering the same old. (we even sat down at one random place after we gave up but were ignored for 10 minutes...we just couldn't win)

We walked to the palace again and this time the line was much more reasonable. The inside had lots of fancy things - tapestries, gold leaf, giant crystal chandeliers, walls made of porcelain, embroidered wallpaper, clock collections, thrones, etc. It was fun to see it all. Then we went into the armory and wow, kyle stared at the armor (and swords) for ever and ever and ever.

Once I dragged Kyle out of the armory, we went to a restaurant in the nearby park, with an amazing view of the palace and the silly tourists wandering about. We watched in horror as one well endowed 20-something girl had her friends take a picture of her in front of every bush, every tree, every statue....often leaving her purse sitting 10 feet away all by itself. They must have taken 50 pictures of her in the park while we watched, some alone, some with her was ridiculous - but memorable. I only wish I'd thought to take her picture too.
We had our veggies for lunch - simple grilled ones with a nice slice of melty goat cheese for kyle and a tuna/egg/olive/tomato salad for me.

After lunch we ambled to the Prado. We decided to get the audioguides since we got in for free. It is a huge museum, but on the back of our program they listed a bunch of paintings as the "masters" so we just sort of wandered and made sure we saw those ones.

It was the perfect way to not get overwhelmed and the audioguide was a huge help to both of us. The highlight was seeing Las Meninas by Velazquez - often referred to as the best painting EVER. Crazy.
Worn out, we wandered into Retiro Park for a bit and sat down. These old guys were playing a game in the walkway where they threw on old chunk of slate tile at a coke can. That's it. Like Bocce Ball on a budget.

Walked back to freshen at our hotel before dinner and oh! Surprise! Plaza del Sol had once again erupted into chaotic crowds - this time apparently a Corpus Christi parade that was blocking the main thoroughfare and taking up the entire plaza.

Somehow we fought our way through the madness and made it to the restaurant we had decided to try. This one was described as "traditional simple home style Madrid cooking". Most restaurants in Spain are not even open Sunday night, usually people do a huge lunch out that day and a light dinner at home. So the place was mostly empty. I had read that their pigeon stew was good and since we had never had pigeon I sort of wanted to try it. The stew was gone, but they had "pickled" pigeon. hmmmm....We ordered it and some lamb dish from the daily specials menu that the waiter recommended. (one of the first phrases I memorized was "que recomiendo?")
The lamb was spectacular, the pigeon horrendous. The best part was that it was an entire leg of baby lamb, complete with hoof as seen below.

Kyle love loved the lamb and I had been the one rooting for the pigeon so I ate mostly pigeon that night. (voluntarily and yes, kyle did share) It was definitely edible - just bony, mealy & dry. The sauce was a fine vinegar sauce, but even it couldn't really help the dry pigeon. Oh, and it was cold.

We went to bed a bit earlier so we'd be fresh to drive to Barcelona in the morning. Farewell Madrid!

1 comment:

Shauna said...

Wow, that was awesome. A lamb leg with hoof...and pigeon?! You are awesome Kari!!

PS - thanks for inspiring me to get the rest of my Italy posts done. ;)