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28.9.12

Must dos in Madrid

Here are some of the things that one must do in Madrid, especially if you have only 2 to 3 days:

  • Visit the Plaza Mayor and some of the other major Plazas, get a portrait or caricature sketch!
  • Shop at the Salamanca Street (if you are looking high street fashion and haute couture)
  • Visit the Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas - where the bull fighting takes place
  • Watch a flamenco show - we went to Cafe De Chinitas and it was quite an experience - http://www.chinitas.com/inicio?lang=en - It's one of the best shows in the region!
  • La Puerta Del Sol - the areas around Sol is known for shopping, nightlife and restaurants



At Plaza Mayor

At Plaza Mayor

At Plaza Mayor

Lots & lots of artists! caricaturists, illustrators, painters etc... 

Human Statues! You'll find them everyone...

And that's me with a flamenco dancer - it was early morning and we both seemed somewhat high with the troop's (which included her) performance!

This is Sol and here is another artist, I wondered how long could she stay for?

Front view

One can hear music everywhere in Sol, there are so many musicians in every corner and not just solo performers, 4 to 5 piece bands even! People just need an excuse to dance I guess!

And that's me again, in Sol, in a flamenco costume! Ola!














23.9.12

Bullfighting in Madrid!

Madrid is known for it's very famous bullring - The Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas.
It's located in Ventas, you can take the Metro there and as soon as you step out of the station, you can see it.

It is a traditional activity and that's really all I can say - I couldn't stay for more than one round, even with almost closed eyes.

For animal lovers, I don't suggest to sit through it, maybe just see the ring, grab a few seats, soak in the atmosphere, wonder what the excitement is all about and then leave before it actually starts (it's not the prettiest sight).

The outside structure

Inside the ring!

The crowds gathered - wondered if they knew what was to be expected!

& that was the start...

We were early so thought of grabbing a coffee & this was more than a year ago..


21.9.12

Hotel Unico in Madrid

Reaching Madrid, we took a taxi to our quaint luxury boutique hotel - Hotel Unico on Salamanca Street, thankfully we had a print out of our reservation and hence, the location was easy to get to. Taxi drivers in Madrid barely speak English, or at least the ones we encountered. So it's good to always have your reservation print out or a location map of your hotel. 

Barrio De Salamanca, Madrid is a shopper's delight with high street fashion brands such as Zara, Massimo Dutti & Mango to name a few as well as haute couture stores. It is a beautiful area to stay in with easy access to the Metro, bus stops or Taxis. There's lots of street side restaurants, cafes & bars and  it is surely an elite neighborhood.

Hotel Unico seemed like the perfect option for us with a very cozy waiting area at the lobby, creative black, white & cherry red interiors with a vintage - like feel, the reservation staff were friendly and informative and the breakfast was delicious and sufficient, served at the lawn. We took the junior suite, which had a small living area and a window. The highlight of the room was the bathroom as it was even bigger than our living area! 

Here is the website link - http://www.unicohotelmadrid.com/en/.

Street outside Hotel Unico, Barrio De Salamanca

The Breakfast area & the funky white chairs at Hotel Unico

Loved the flooring!

There's a reason why we never took the elevator..







18.9.12

Ola!! from the Spanish Trails

Spain was a last minute destination since we never really went on a honeymoon after our wedding - got to work straight and hence, we needed something like Spain. Some place to disconnect! Just like any European country, Spain is rich in culture, history and there's lots to do - from wine trips to museums to piazzas to bars! 

Every time you see a person or want to ask for direction, just begin with Ola! and that's their 'hello' and we realized that as soon as we stepped into Madrid. 

Our travel plan consisted of 3 days Madrid and 3 days Barcelona and I think one needs 4 to 5 days atleast to enjoy Barcelona.
Travelling between Madrid and Barcelona is super easy. Just take the Renfe http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html - Luxury seats!

Will update more in the coming posts - For now this is the where the bull fight was, in Madrid and I still get goosebumps from the experience...