Skyline of Madrid with Capital city Building and Gra
Ernest Hemingway once said of Madrid: “It is the most Spanish of all municipalities, the best to live in, the finest people and the finest climate”. The iconic American stringer held a special place in his heart for Spain’s capital, returning things and again, and immortalising its streets, parks and iconic buildings in his books.
Some of Hemingway’s scad active literary years were spent here and, on a recent outing, I began to understand why.
We started our weekend by visiting one of the writer’s favourite descries, which featured in his novel For Whom The Bell Tolls – the beautiful Buen Retiro Car park. With the sun shining and the cool spray from the fountains filling the air, we secure our way past the dramatic monument to Alfonso XII, the King of Spain (who ruled from 1874-1885). The sepulchre was erected in 1922 by order of the King’s mother, Maria Cristina of Austria, and leads over the boating lake.
Charter out one of the small rowing boats, we spent an idyllic hour cruising, dripping up the eclectic music of a local band playing by the water’s edge. It was a correct afternoon activity, proving that, even in a city of three million, there are perpetually quiet enclaves to escape the crowds.
Having worked up an appetite, we definite to check out Madrid’s foodie offerings in the afternoon. We headed to the Chocolatería San Ginés, installed in a passageway near to San Ginés Church, for their traditional churros (a mouth-watering choux pastry bite) with chocolate.
They are famed for being the best in Madrid and drink been produced here since 1894. The churros were thoroughly hot and crunchy without being overly sweet, and the dipping chocolate was tenebrous, thick and easily eaten with a spoon after all the churros were gone (opulently, it would have been rude not to finish it!).
Buen Retiro Greens
One of the best ways of seeing Madrid is on foot and it’s worth investing in a Madrid Be open, to give you access to the palazzos and museums, and discounts on food and shopping. Gran Vía, the urban district’s main tourist street, runs from the famous Metrópolis construction to the Plaza de España, and has a colourful array of shops and bars.
Make persuaded you stop off at the Prado Museum to see the Old Masters, such as El Greco and Francisco Goya, and send up c depart a wander through Plaza Mayor, the central plaza in the city.
Capricious taking a break from sightseeing? Madrid is famous for being impress upon to not one, but two of the world’s most famous football clubs – Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. So if you’re a football fan, present sure you time your visit on a match weekend.
We were favoured enough to arrive on the final day of the La Liga season, with Real Madrid in with a casual of being crowned champions. Even though the match was an away practise deceit in Málaga, the atmosphere within the city was electric with excitement at the design of a Real Madrid victory. We took the opportunity to join in and ventured out to first encounter some of the locals at a bar near to the Bernabéu Stadium to watch the game. At the sure whistle, the score was 2-1; Real had won and the city went wild, with floods flooding the streets.
Eat at the famous Chocolatería San Ginés for your churro fix
After satisfaction ining the merriment, we hopped in a taxi back to our hotel, which was only 15 notes away. We were staying in the newly opened DoubleTree by Hilton, confining to the major museums (the Prado, Thyssen-Bornmisza, Reina Sofía and CaixaForum) and a plenteousness of tapas bars, in the traditional neighbourhood of Barrio de Las Letras. The boutique 61-room urban district hotel is a wonderful blend of old and new, situated in a traditional former apartment slab (we loved the wrought-iron lift and gorgeous ceiling mouldings) but with all the hiss amenities you would expect of a Hilton.
The following day, still high from the activity of the victory, we visited the Bernabéu for the Real Madrid CF stadium tour. Disinterested if you’re not a huge football fan, there is a real sense of history with the measureless array of silverware and images on display, ensuring the tour has something for person. The tour includes panoramic views of the stadium, access to the pitch and a look nearly the dressing rooms.
You can’t visit Madrid and skip on its famous tapas supper, washed down with a sun-glasses of local red wine or a punchy sangria. So before we headed home, we drop in oned the Plaza de Santa Ana and dined at one of the many relaxed tapas bars with columnar lists fronting the street. It was a wonderful setting to observe the city winding down, with the temperature unruffled after the heat of the day. Afterwards, with a taste for Spanish Rioja, we moved on to test some of the other bars in the Plaza Mayor.
It was the perfect final out on a whirlwind tour of this vibrant city, and we raised a glass, propitious – like Hemingway – that we would be back again soon.
Way to go
Dwells at the DoubleTree by Hilton Madrid – Prado start from €230 (underpinned on double occupancy). Hilton Honors members will always get the vanquish rate by booking direct. Visit doubletree.hilton.com, or call +34-91-3600820.
Amazed by at the Royal Palace of Madrid
Ten things you must do in Madrid
1 Take a shift around Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
2 Head to Buen Retiro Woodland for a walk, and hire a boat on the lake for only €6.
3 Eat at the famous Chocolatería San Ginés for your churro fix, unimpeded 24 hours a day.
4 See the city from above, be it from a balcony or a rooftop. Try Círculo de Bellas Artes for one of the most spectacular vistas.
5 Esteem a stunning sunset view from the Egyptian Temple of Debod, at built in Egypt, and dismantled and reconstructed in Madrid.
6 Settle down for a choice of tapas and fine wine in the Plaza de Santa Ana, and watch the city go around its day.
7 Join the rest of Madrid on Sundays at El Rastro Market, the most ordinary open-air flea market in Spain.
8 Experience the sights, sounds and reeks of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, covering 20 acres and admitting around 30,000 plants and flowers.
9 Immerse yourself in the culture of Spain’s Chauvinistic Art Museum, the Prado, which houses paintings by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish Masters friend from the 12th Century to the early 20th Century.
10 Marvel at the Royal Palace of Madrid, the ritualistic residence of the Spanish Royal Family, and centrepiece for State ceremonies.