Spain

Madrid Day 1: Retiro Park

Madrid Day 1: Retiro Park

Last major city of our trip: Madrid where we’ll be based to make three day trips to the nearby towns/cities.  We arrived Madrid from Barcelona via train at 11:10 am. It was hot hot hot in Madrid but it was dry heat so not as bad as I thought!  We strolled our luggage from Atocha Train Station to our hotel: The Westin Madrid. It was at least 15 minutes walk and yea it might be funny we arrived by feet into a 5 stars hotel but we had to conserve our cash after our room break-in in Barcelona.  We were left with 200 euros to make it for 5 days!!!!

The hotel is beautiful really looked like a 5 stars. We were upgraded to a Premium room, the room was very comfortable! I love the room color tone – light yellow; a feeling of warmth 🙂

The Westin comfortable bed! When I lied down on the bed, I felt relieved that we safely left Barcelona and finally could have a good night sleep.

When I opened the closet to use the safe (well I no longer trust any hotel safe!) to put our passports, there is a warning message that the safe is not guaranteed to secure your valuables and if you have any valuables please contact the front desk to be stored in the hotel safe! I wished I saw that message earlier in our trip!

Lunch time, we went down to the La Rotonda Restaurant in the hotel where its famous for its stained glass dome to see it and have quick tapas. The restaurant was running a summer special on tapas: 4 tapas and a glass of wine for 15 euros (a bargain compared to other menu prices at the restaurant). We actually were there to just see the stained glass dome but we don’t want to walk in to take photos and walk out hehe!

I walked into the restaurant and the huge stained glass dome with hanging birds and butterfly ornaments were spectacular. I also like the purple and green cushioned furniture added elegance to the restaurant…like in a royal room!

We don’t drink alcohol so the waitress was nice enough to substitute soft drinks for us. We ordered 8 tapas, the 4 mini deserts counted as 1.  Here they are…very colorful and pretty looking!

Hum..where should I start first?  I was happy even looking at them…even though they were very small tapas. Some were very special combination which gave an unexpected taste and texture but some were just average. The deserts were good but not awesome.

Eating here with the beautiful atmosphere already worth the price 🙂 The famous stained glass dome:

After lunch, we walked over to Prado Museum which was a few steps away from the hotel, we didn’t went in since we are not museum fans. Instead, we walked over to Retiro Park.

San Jerónimo el Real, right next the Prado Museum:

Walking in the Retiro Park, it was a huge park and we were looking for the Crystal Palace:

We finally found it, the Crystal Palace:

We don’t know what are those colored dishes hanging down and on the floor for…….it would be much nicer without them, then it will be pure “crystal” palace.

Imagine having wedding photos taking in this Crystal Palace?? I think it’ll be very dreamy and fairy-tale like!

Then, we turned back and walking to the Independence Plaza.

Alcala Gate:

Then made a turn to Plaza de Cibeles, a very nice building!

We walked back to the hotel, it was hot! Actually the hottest hours are from 4-6 pm, we can literally feel the heatwave coming up from the heated ground! We went back to the hotel and had some cool drinks and to relax a bit before heading for dinner.  I made a reservation at Amayra Restaurant at 8:30 pm with 50% off discount from http://www.eltenedor.es/

The restaurant was a short walk from our hotel, not hard to find. We went in and it was a bar but walked further into, that was where the restaurant located; it’s actually inside a hotel.  The decors were modern and chic; the waitress spoke okay English.

Here are what we ordered!

Shrimp salad with melon….very refreshing after a hot day:

Another shrimp tapa with sliced fish and egg:

Shrimp and salmon with cheese and salad:

I ordered the Segovia roasted pork. The skin was crispy and the meat was tender. It was different than the Chinese styled roasted pork that we had.

Hubby ordered a fish fillet, he said it was okay but definitely not worth 36 euros (half price is still 18 euros).

The bill came to 50.5 euros with 50% discount already!  It was an experience to tried out new food, food was good but not great, it’s definitely not worth it if without the discount…with the discount..it was good.

We walked our way back to the hotel, we definitely felt a different atmosphere than Barcelona.  Perhaps, the location we stayed at was a little bit quieter. There was a police van right near the hotel at all time so it felt safer. The hotel exterior at night, the building next to it was very luxurious! The LED lighting of the building next to the Westin was very pretty:

The Westin Palace at night:

 La Rotonda Restaurant at night with the beautiful glass chandelier:

Finally, we were able to have a good night sleep on a comfortable bed and yes we always double locked our doors!

 

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