Thanks to Allison’s generosity, I have had a good reason to continue visiting Madrid (and not living in my Camino clothes when not hiking!). My most recent visit to Madrid was to meet Vinny prior to our trip to Pamplona (see prior post), and then for a few days afterwards to get myself sorted before resuming the Camino. I have now stayed in a hotel (Emperador) and Airbnb near Santo Domingo/Callao, an Airbnb near Sol/Plaza Mayor, and a 3rd Airbnb near(ish) to Plaza de Castilla. The latter isn’t really recommended unless you’re on a tight budget or taking a train from Chamartín (God help you) and want to be walking distance, like me. (But really, if you have to get a train from Chamartín, book online and arrive early so as to not miss the train. Buying a ticket at the station is nearly impossible and you can easily get stuck in a line 1.5+ hours long for customer service.) I also discovered Madrid’s Central Park on my walk to the Hospital (international vaccination clinic), and had one of my best nights learning to make THE MOST traditional Spanish tapa: the yummy tortilla.
While Vinny was in Madrid we made a visit to one of my favorite places in Madrid, Mercado San Miguel. We also found a much more “local” version, Mercado San Fernando (Vinny approves of Tinto de Verano), and ate at two different vegetarian (one with meat options) restaurants in different parts of the city. One I will highly recommend is Viva Chapata; their veggie burger is off the chain! Walking around Madrid also meant spotting lots of awesome street art. We had dinner at another place, Restaurante Vegetariano Artemisma Sol- Gran Vía, which had the biggest menu I’ve ever seen in a veg restaurant! But I wasn’t starving and was craving veggies so we ordered the salad for two that was basically a mountain of vegetables. Yay!
And another one of my favorite nights in Madrid came from an Airbnb experience (if you haven’t figured it out yet, I LOVE these!): learning to make a traditional Spanish tortilla. It was the first time Lola had hosted this experience and she did an amazing job. Added bonus: I met some incredible new friends from China (who are super international, living in China, Montreal, and Cambridge). Made for such a wonderful night! We cooked, ate, and Yanray, Felicia, and I shared in our love of wine. I look forward to seeing Yanray and hopefully the Fang family again! Yanray, I expect you to show me all the good food and wine places in Cambridge when I visit 😊
For anyone traveling abroad and making making plans as you go (as I am): don’t forget about vaccinations! This reality hit me hard during my last trip to Madrid; I learned that some of the vaccinations I need must be administered over a period of days/weeks, some at least one month in advance of travel. Because of timing AND I no longer have health insurance in the US (plus, medical care always costs more in the US), I have to take care of my vaccinations for upcoming trips to India and Nepal while in Europe. Thanks to the interwebs, I made my way to Hospital Moncloa in Madrid and one day (and only 135€) later I had seen a doctor and had the first round of one of the vaccinations I need.