Here I am, in the capital, I’m going to be a tourist. I stay in a very central hostel where they treat me wonderfully. I just passed the covid, I know that it is not fashionable (says my friend Marco) but it has left my immune system very weak, and the saying “Madrid kills me” is almost fulfilled.
I get to the Atocha station and walk to the hostel, (I could have taken the metro to Antón Martín but I’m that cool)
I go for a walk and by chance I pass by a corner in the Plaza del Ángel where “el Ángel del Jardín” (the angel of the garden)” is, a beautiful flower shop and protagonist of the novel “Mujeres que compran flores” by Vanessa Montford, that I totally recommend.
The last time I passed through here was in March 2020, yes, that fateful month, I had just moved to the capital but life had other plans. The “Garden of the Angel” which was what it was called before, was closed.
I went to 60, Pelayo Street, yes to “Amapolas en Octubre” (Poppies in October) bookstore that has become my first stop everytime I set foot in Madrid. It’s like coming home, it’s beautiful, both Laura, its owner and writer of several books (including one that gave the bookstore its name) and Lana are bookworms and full of wisdom to share. I buy several books, of course, including Laura’s last “Todo lo que fuimos” that I love, like all of hers, if you have not read them, I do not know what you are waiting for.
I go to the mythical and literary Café Comercial that opened its doors in 1887, to browse the books and I start with “La parcela” by Alejandro Simón Partal, who was that day signing his book in the bookstore. He writes so well, that austanding use our beautiful language is wonderful.
After this little break, I visit the Papiroga earring shop and as I had the weading of the year to go, I bought a pair for my mauve outfit.
How nice it feels walking through the center of this, our imperial city, I don’t feel like having dinner but a hot chocolate is tempting, and as I am close to San Ginés, I get one with chat with the waiter included. I love how every Madrilenian (original or adopted) I meet along the way engages in conversation with any stranger. I, an adopted one, chat with an Argentine chef and traveler.
The next day I get up early to take a walk (which ends with a whopping 30,000 steps). I love the buildings in the center of Madrid, they are so beautiful, that I spam social media with many of them (thanks for continuing to follow me and not leaving me out of boredom lol)
The mythical Cine Doré is nearby. I use the word mythical a lot, but here there is a lot of that.
My steps take me to the heart of the city, to the beautiful Plaza Mayor and its divine façade.
Many streets come out of it, some with surprises like the Posada del Peine that has some details that I love in its façade.
Or the Old Watchmaking of 1880.
In the middle of Calle Mayor is the Pastelería El Riojano since 1855. Its furniture was built inside the bakery, so that they would not steal it, in the background it has a tea room where you can taste its million biscuits.
Remember I told you once about the San Miguel Market?
Not only NY has series or movie scenarios, here we have Fortunata and Jacinta, a classic by Galdós, the Restaurante Botín appears in it and is the oldest restaurant in the world, according to the Guinness Book, with an original oven dating from 1725, where Goya worked as a dishwasher and Hemingay finished some of his novels in one of its charming corners.
I love passing the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral returning to Amapolas because today Sol Aguirre signs her book “Apréndete”. Don’t love book signings?
I keep multiplying steps, the Recoletos promenade is full of stalls and the literary and also mythical café Gijón, frequented by Antonio Machado or the actress Ava Gardner.
But I dont stop for coffee because I’m heading to the Ritz Hotel for afternoon tea with my Bruno and Florian. We enjoy the experience like excited children, how important it is to indulge ourselves every so often,isn’t it?
It’s Sunday the day the Rastro (fleet market) is on in La Latina with Silvia. We take easy it’s too sunny so we have a drink in a super cañí bar, decorated with Betty Boop. We eat in the delicious vegan restaurant “Distrito Vegano”, very pretty and where a kind gentleman gets us a table without previous booking.
When we left we took a mini walk through the neighborhood that is beautiful, we found the Alatriste Restaurant about the mythical character of the novels of Arturo Pérez Reverte “Captain Alatriste”
Madrid has a sky no other great European capitals have, that light and that blue are ideal to go for a beer or tapas on its terraces. A very popular one with a rooftop that goes great with this blog is El Viajero (the traveller). Dinner takes us to De Diego restaurant, where a very cañí waiter entertaines us and serves a delicious meal, I appreciate the vegan and vegetarian options.
This morning, after resting, I go to Retiro Park with Maribel, straight to the Crystal Palace, I adore this park.
In one of its exits is the impressive Church of San Jerónimo del Real next to the Prado Museum, a statue that I loved and the RAE, yes the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language.
From there I go up to the Barrio de las Letras, tiled with phrases from our beautiful Spanish literary classics. Where the houses of Lope de Vega and Cervantes await us (not on Monday when they’re closed, so I’ll leave them for the next visit).
Today Silvia and I are going to play instagrammers. We go to the rooftop of the Riu Plaza España hotel, where we enjoy the 360º views and take pictures on the glass bridges. We also witness how many people have vertigo.
Nearby is one of the restaurants of the Honest Greens chain, where you can eat wonderfully at a very good price.
Even though I have talked about a few books on this post I am not sure they’ve been translated yet, so I will recommend any of Douglas Kennedy´s, I learnt about him through “Amapolas” and fell in love, I hope you do too.