La Magia de Madrid
In November of 2014, David and I collaborated on booking and creating our first international trip together. We had been dating for over a year and by that time, had made our cohabitation commitment. We already knew we were in harmony after traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico just 3 weeks into our relationship. It was time to reach new heights. Hand-in-hand, we were thrilled to take our first steps in exploring the rest of the world!
Having done just enough research to avoid being frazzled, we both agreed that Madrid, Spain was where it's at! We imagined Spain as a wonderland for grown-ups, where people ate luscious lunches, strolled around historic neighborhoods, and took mid-day siesta breaks from work with their loved ones, all in a state of euphoria! When we arrived, everything we imagined was pure and true.
Where We Stayed
If you're looking for trendy and hip, Malasaña is the place. In Spain, it's known as the "Williamsburg, Brooklyn" of Madrid. The streets are lined with modern cocktail bars, restaurants, cafes, and vintage clothing stores. Mixing the old and the new, you'll see abuela people watching on her doorstep and plenty of street art painted on neighborhood walls. The dynamic of this barrio makes you hyper-aware and absolutely alive.
We stayed at a U Hostel, which could have passed as a 4-star b&b. The views from the top of the hotel were impressive.
Where We Ate
You can guarantee the food scene in Madrid will leave you spellbound. It's apparent the expectations on food quality are set to sky high. We didn't walk into a single restaurant or cafe that didn't treat us like royalty. Here are a few must-dos:
- Traditionally fried garlic prawns, tapas, and wine at La Casa del Abuelo.
- Regional wine tasting, foie gras topped steak, and seared prawns over garbanzo beans at La Castela. Get there early, as soon as it opens. Locals pack the place up quickly!
- Spanish fusion dining at Restaurante Navaja.
- Tapas and aged jamón at Mercado San Miguel.
- Jamón tomato toast for brunch at Cafe de La Luz.
Where We Drank
David and I are a bit pretentious when it comes to cocktails, especially with age. We only consume clean alcohols to avoid a 3-day hangover, so we do most of our drinking at home where we can make our own mixes. Otherwise, you can find us at high-end bars where the staff takes their bartending professions seriously and with care. We found what we wanted at 1862 Dry Bar, our ideal atmosphere for libations in Madrid.
Where We Walked
We wanted to see Madrid's architecture in all of its glory. From 17th-century gardens and barroco madrileño stone and iron, we wandered the streets of Madrid by foot. No subways, no cars, no bikes. We moved slowly with the rest of the city and soaked in every minute of it. Be sure to check out these attractions:
Madrid era mágica! Madrid was magic! It filled our ears with its lusty language, our bellies with "Love Potion Number Wine", and tantalized all our senses. Madrid was so enchanting, we're not sure we ever really left.
Laney's Playlist for La Magia de Madrid