It was the day of the Brussels attack. My second day in Madrid. As news broke, other major European cities were put on high alert. It’s tricky to play tourist during these sobering times. As much as it was unlikely to happen in Madrid, there was caution in the air; I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one that day who avoided taking the metro or the bus.
Anyway, let’s keep this post light, shall we?
And so I walked, from my hostel, The Hat (highly recommended btw) to wherever my feet could take me: Sol, Gran Vía (high-street), Chueca neighbourhood (Soho), Malasaña (apparently Madrid’s equivalent to East London), Parque del Retiro, Thyssen museum and Prado Museum (nauseatingly massive), Palacio Real etc. I know I say this quite often now but I genuinely find Madrid to be one of the most walking-friendly cities – just because it’s so damn easy to navigate yourself around. I found it easier to take a mental note of the map and its neighbourhoods than Valencia – where I lived for six months!
Of course, an entire day of walking is nearly impossible without fuel. And for me, fueling up happened to be paying visits to the city’s renowned food markets (I’m about to go travel blogger on you here, a rubbish one):
1) Mercado de San Miguel (close to Plaza Mayor) – swanky, good variety of tapas, drinks and desserts, you will need to cough up some pennies
2) Mercado San Antón (Chueca) – multiple-storey, modern, relatively quiet during the day and good sushi (that’s all I ate here)
3) Mercado San Ildefonso (Malasaña) – hipster, smallest of them all, less stalls, good portion. My highlight was the rice with mushrooms and truffle oil for 8 euros – clearly meant for sharing but a girl’s gotta eat.
Anyway, enough about gluttony. Here are some photos where I learnt to embrace tourists rather than crop them out and pretend they don’t exist as I have always done: