Friday, June 19, 2015

MADRID - BIENVENIDA TO THE SECOND COOLEST CAPITAL CITY IN EUROPE

IT'S NOT PARIS BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE MIS COMPAÑEROS VAGABUNDOS - MADRID HAS GOT IT GOIN' ON

That's right. Madrid has everything a Nomad full of intense wanderlust needs. Great food, great architecture and Picasso's Guernica. That's enough to put a town on the A List. But Madrid has so much more. As we approached this thoroughly modern metropolis with a history that goes back to at least the ninth century, we became instant romantics in search of all the things we had read about this place of insatiable cultural  diversity and a vibrant populace to go with it.
 
 
And where better to start our almost month long sojourn in the land of Iberia than Magicall Madrid? As one perceptive writer commented to comedian & radio personality Dennis Miller recently - Miller, you gotta go to Spain. All they do day and night is eat and drink. Saludos Vagabundos!

Just Gimme That One Shot Prado 23 - Por Favor

After a little hunting up a narrow street off the main drag,  the taxi stopped in front of our base of operations for three days in Madrid - The One Shot 23 Prado. Through a simple glass door entry into a lobby with stark white walls & modern paintings and sculpture everywhere, and a couple of nice English speaking conserjes jovenes, we were in. It was official, we had arrived in Madrid. Our room continued the minimalist grammar - white walls, smart furniture, a bathroom with a huge rain shower, comfy bed, pickle stained wood plank floors and a large mirror on the wall that was actually a tv. We almost never watch tv while traveling. I mean what is the point of watching a game show in a language you may have studied for six months but have absolutely no chance of actually understanding? However, the subtle design touch with a tv that actually looked like a mirror was a very hip detail in this architect's opinion.
 
The hotel designer adroitly inserted minimalist spaces, surfaces, furniture, etc. into a vintage building of undeterminable age. Those crazy creative Europeans do this with such ease.  And to make the thing go perfect, our room had a large balcony with chairs and a table for a little morning coffee or snack to enjoy the sounds of the street and some fresh air. And the staff, always helpful and knowledgeable about who, what and where were always at the ready with maps and instructions.
 
And one last thing about the One Shot for Gen Xers  and Millennials - FREE WIFI !! - OMG, U have 2 stay here!!!!!!!
 
And Where To Eat? or should I ask - Donde Comer?
 
The area around the One Shot, Paseo del Prado, is a great area to see many of the things that make Madrid such a great city. Museums, parks, transportation are all easily accessible on foot. In addition, the area is loaded with great restaurants. Because we had eaten the usual composting trash they served on our nine hour Delta bus flight, we were somewhat satiated but very tired. So our plan was to get some shut eye before venturing out for the evening.
 
IMHO - There is nothing more important than getting some quality nap time if you arrive in Europe in the AM after a 9-10 hour flight. Some say you should "keep going". I am not of that school. Your biological clock is demanding that you treat your temple with some respect. That means sleep fellow nomads. So go to bed already!
 
And Wake Up About 8 PM for some Serious Tapas - Oh Mi!
 
That's right. Spaniards just don't bother doing too much in the afternoon - early or late, so we got up around eight, jumped in that massive rain shower with pressure to die for, combed and made ourselves up and took off for our first real experience enjoying one of the many things España has contributed to civilized culture - TAPAS. Hola LA MUCCA DE PRADO! This very busy tapas restaurant/bar had been recommended by the one of the young ladies at the front desk and it did not disappoint. Great food and great service. Flying somewhat blind, we ordered a few items and some wine and began our official culinary trip in the land of Jamón Ibérico and Tempranillo.
 
Oxford Dictionary defines Tapas as small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar. Savory - sí, drinks - sí, small - well not really! Tapas Rule No. 1 - Go slow. Cheese, sausage, beef, veggies - you name it - they can serve it up in quantities that will leave you with a need for more nap time. Safe to say - the Spanish have very much perfected the art of eating and drinking.
 
After dinner, we took a leisurely stroll back to our little piece of minimalist diseño and its very comfortable bed and nodded off with dreams of the coming days in the land of La Mancha.

Still to come in Magical Madrid - Museums, Windmills and More Tapas!

D.L.Stafford
thenomadARCHITECT

Spanish Lesson of The Week - In place of a quip or other witty euphemism, this series will contain a weekly thought, point or admonishment about travel in Spain and other countries, including the good ole USA.

This Week's Lesson - Always follow the two day rule when traveling to Europe. Unless you are a hyper, super energetic traveler, which makes you completely annoying or just too young, you should allow yourself two full days to "get in the flow" of life in your new environs. Jet lag, learning the ways of the place you are in and the practical things you need to deal with (ATM's, different food, language, etc.) require some serious R & R to get your biorhythms properly aligned. So, like I said earlier - Go to bed already!

Video Artist of The Week - Chic Corea - One of the fathers of jazz fusion, this 22 time Grammy winner commands the keys with creativity and skill.

 
 
 

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