Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

‘Walking not running…’

February 12, 2010

We broke our budget on the first day. This was hardly surprising considering David collected us from Madrid airport in his Aston Martin Vantage V8. Clearly, we would not be slumming it for our 48 hours in the city.

The day had started early as we woke at 7am to say goodbye to our wonderful London hosts, Kate and Tris, who we also bestowed with the honour of looking after our cat Ute for the next six months. Having woken early we decided to head to the airport with plenty of time so we could start our journey in as relaxed a way as possible.

In fact we were 2.5 hrs early, surely a record in punctuality for catching a European flight. That’s when we decided on our first motto for the trip – “walking not running”. We have six months in which to do everything so we figure we should never have to run for a bus, a train, a flight or anything else for that matter. Chilling would be a central theme to our travelling lives.

The real Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (alongside two large statues)

So we ambled around Heathrow airport, went to the shops, ate some food and generally enjoyed the fact that we had plenty of time to spare. We were so chilled, in fact, that neither of us had bothered to check the departure screens. When we eventually did so, next to Madrid in bright red flashing text were the words: ‘Final call’.

It was at this point that we walked rather briskly to the gate, trying not to contradict our motto but also trying not to miss our first flight (Manna’s brisk walking style may have bordered on ‘panicked trotting’ at some point but I’m pretty sure that one foot was touching the ground at all times). We made our flight with a good 60 seconds to spare.

As part of our round the world ticket we had to go via Madrid to get to Rio, which is why we decided to stay for a couple of days to visit Manna’s good friend Elsa and her husband David. The next 48 hrs would mainly involve eating fine food and drinking finer wine.

After arriving back at their place, David suggested a few restaurants for the evening, one of which he claimed served the “best Paella in Madrid”. That’s when we decided that our daily budget of around €30 each would have to be tweaked for this European leg of our travels.

The best paella in Madrid?

Suffice to say the Paella at the Casa Nemesio restaurant was indeed excellent but the highlight for me was the delicious langoustine tempura. A good night was had by all.

The next day Elsa gave us her version of the open-top tour of the city in her convertible Mini Cooper S. We drove past the many statues and fountains as well as Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium which Manna, a staunch Barca fan, took great pleasure in giving the finger. For lunch we visited a food market where you can pick out the freshest fish, seafood and meats and have it cooked up for you to eat then and there. Accompanied with fine Spanish wine it went down a treat.

At night David and Elsa took us to their favourite restaurant. The food was good but the highlight was the post-dinner drink. After you eat the manager will come to your table with his mixing trolley to make you the best drink of

Manna gives the finger to the Bernabeu

your life. For instance, the place has 81 different types of gin and over 100 whiskies.

Three of us had gin and tonics and each one was very different yet excellent in its own way. Mine was made with an obscure Spanish gin and was mixed with fragrant Malaysian lime and fresh apple. It was a great way to end the meal and our stay in Madrid. But now our budget life begins.

For anyone who is visiting Madrid I thoroughly recommend both those restaurants. Here are the details (But don’t worry I’m not turning this into a food blog and you wont be getting restaurant tips everywhere we go!):

Casa Nemesio
Paseo de la Castellana, 260
28046 Madrid
+34 91 323 84 10

El Padre
Serrano, 45
28001 Madrid
+34 914 484 016