A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about spanish cuisine

Madrid: Art, anthropology, El Rastro flea market and more

Madrid


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Off to the airport soon...

These are the highlights of the last couple of days in Madrid.

- The Museum of Anthropology - quite small but interesting, especially because it concentrated on countries that were formerly owned/controlled by Spain or at least had a significant Spanish presence; for example Latin America, the USA, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of the Congo. It also contained a mummy discovered in a cave in Tenerife in the eighteenth century and the skeleton of a 'giant' who was born in Spain in 1849.

IMG_3447.JPGIMG_3436.JPGIMG_3440.JPGAndean masks

Andean masks



- General street scenes and beautiful buildings that I've passed - Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, colourful buildings in side streets, a busker playing a set of glasses (running his finger round the rims with water) outside the Royal Palace, the grandness of Gran Vía (the main street; I came across a National Geographic shop there where I bought a lovely t-shirt on special offer at a 40% reduction)...

IMG_3421.JPGIMG_3407.JPGIMG_3406.JPGIMG_3409.JPGIMG_3422.JPGIMG_3410.JPGIMG_3418.JPGIMG_3401.JPG

- El Rastro, the enormous street flea market held every Sunday morning. I didn't buy anything but it was lovely to browse all the same.

IMG_3460.JPGIMG_3457.JPGIMG_3448.JPGIMG_3450.JPGIMG_3459.JPGIMG_3452.JPGIMG_3451.JPG

- The Museum of the Americas. There were lots of really interesting exhibits, just as I guessed there would be; highlights for me were the pre-Columbian objects, especially the exquisite gold figures from the Quimbaya culture of Colombia, a carved wooden statue made by the Chimú culture of Peru, and a Peruvian mummy with the gold jewellery she'd been buried with. There was also a 19th-century Guatemalan violin and sheet music which I was very taken with.

IMG_3430.JPGIMG_3472.JPGIMG_3478.JPGIMG_3474.JPGIMG_3484.JPG

There was a lovely little park opposite the entrance, too, with a statue of Simón Bolívar, one of the liberators of Spanish South America.

IMG_3424.JPGIMG_3428.JPG

- A special weekend lunch deal of a starter, main, dessert and drink for 13 euros at a Thai restaurant. It might seem strange to have Thai food in Madrid, but I suddenly had a craving for it. Hadn't had any Thai food since January, after all. I had stir-fried vegetables in a really tasty sauce for my starter, stir-fried chicken with a vegetable and peanut sauce and rice for the main and tapioca for pudding.

- Reina Sofía Museum, where I saw Picasso's 'Guernica', lots of works by Salvador Dalí, Miró and other artists, plus a Richard Hamilton exhibition. I bought a fridge magnet of Guernica in the shop. I've always liked the Surrealists and I remember doing a study on Picasso for A-Level Art back in 2003...

IMG_3489.JPGIMG_3488.JPGIMG_3485.JPGIMG_3486.JPG

- Gazpacho, grilled grouper with salad, ice cream, churros...

Posted by 3Traveller 08:49 Archived in Spain Tagged art market museum spain madrid pre_columbian_artifacts spanish_cuisine Comments (0)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic City of Toledo

Toledo


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Today I finally managed to visit Toledo, an extremely beautiful, historical town that I've wanted to go to for many years!

IMG_3280.JPGIMG_3274.JPG

It was a day trip organised by my hostel and we left quite late in the morning so I didn't have as much time as I'd have liked - I only really had time for some photos from a viewing point at the top of the public library...

IMG_3284.JPGIMG_3290.JPGIMG_3288.JPG

... a wander through picturesque, narrow, cobbled streets, a set lunch and then a really good look round the cathedral, including a trip up the belfry tower to see what I think is the largest bell in Spain.

IMG_3296.JPGIMG_3303.JPGIMG_3305.JPGIMG_3301.JPGIMG_3309.JPGIMG_3325.JPGIMG_3343.JPGIMG_3376.JPGIMG_3370.JPGIMG_3386.JPGIMG_3392.JPGIMG_3395.JPGIMG_3383.JPGIMG_3365.JPGIMG_3358.JPGIMG_3372.JPG

The cathedral included a museum that was mainly filled with religious art but also contained four silver sculptures from 1695 of a goddess sitting on a globe showing one of the four known continents on the world at the time. I gave a mental cheer when I looked at the Americas one and saw the names of both Guayaquil and Quito carved into the correct places in the space where the country Ecuador would later be created.

IMG_3355.JPGIMG_3352.JPGIMG_3311.JPG

At lunch I tried something I'd never tried until then - octopus. It came in chunks as part of the free appetiser. The texture and taste was much nicer than I expected. I still don't think I'd be able to eat an octopus if it arrived on my plate whole with all its tentacles out, but in the future if a dish has octopus chunks in it I won't hold back from ordering it.

f3718ec0-181b-11e9-b063-e591af66fcb2.JPG

After I left the cathedral I had just enough time to buy a very special souvenir for myself - a small but high quality knife with a blade made from Toledo steel and the handle handmade from antler. I did the whole interaction with the guy in the shop in Spanish so I didn't understand every word he said, but before I bought it I made sure to check that it's a type of knife allowed into the UK. He showed me the types he had that aren't allowed and said that my one was fine. So fingers crossed it will get through OK on Monday! I've already put it into my big case to make sure I don't leave it in my hand luggage by mistake and have it confiscated at baggage x-ray.

Once I was back in Madrid I met two really nice girls from Philadelphia who had moved into my dorm while I was out. They were very chatty and when they said they were going to Lisbon soon I told them that I think it's one of the best cities I've ever been to, which made them get even more excited about it. Amongst other things, I recommended that they go to the famous Portuguese custard tart shop/café in the area of Belém.

For dinner the three of us joined in an all-you-can-eat tapas event organised by the hostel jointly with some other hostels nearby. There ended up being quite a large group. We were taken on a walk to the tapas bar, which was almost unnoticeable on the street (it wasn't a touristy place), led upstairs and then organised into groups standing up at small circular tables. Plates of tapas were brought round to us, along with very large glasses of a drink very much like sangria. The tapas was very tasty, though not very much at all in the way of vegetables.

After the tapas finished there was an option to carry on to a bar crawl, but the Philadelphians and I decided to give it a miss and head to bed, as it was already very late and we had a lot planned for the next day. They were going to go on a Toledo day trip (I'd recommended it) and there were lots of things I wanted to see and do in Madrid.

Posted by 3Traveller 07:49 Archived in Spain Tagged art toledo museum spanish spain cathedral madrid hostel unesco_world_heritage_site spanish_cuisine Comments (0)

First proper taste of Madrid and I love it

Madrid


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

The highlights of today (not in chronological order);

- the same feeling of excitement that I had yesterday

- the Museo del Prado - lots of really famous art by El Greco, Goya, Velázquez (I was particularly keen to see his work because I remember doing an essay in my third year at Swansea about some of his paintings within this museum), de Zúrbaran, Fra Angelico and Titian, amongst others. I only had to queue for twenty minutes and because it was between 6-8pm I got in for free.

IMG_3265.JPGIMG_3266.JPGIMG_3267.JPG

- A lovely walk through the massive Parque del Buen Retiro. These gardens were really pleasant and I came across a big lake as well as the beautiful Crystal Palace... slightly bizarrely the latter had lots of small wicker rocking chairs set up inside, each with a thick book attached to the chair by a string. I thought that was a really good idea. You couldn't stay inside the building for too long because the sun created an atmosphere like the inside of a greenhouse, but it was still a very interesting and rather unusual environment to be in!

IMG_3232.JPGIMG_3236.JPGIMG_3243.JPGIMG_3244.JPGIMG_3199.JPGIMG_3201.JPGIMG_3233.JPGIMG_3245.JPGIMG_3209.JPGIMG_3207.JPGIMG_3208.JPG

- Another lovely walk, this time round the small Royal Botanic Gardens.

IMG_3258.JPGIMG_3246.JPGIMG_3250.JPGIMG_3255.JPGIMG_3256.JPG

- Wandering the streets, taking in the beautiful plazas and architecture.

IMG_3263.JPGIMG_3179.JPGIMG_3182.JPGIMG_3185.JPGIMG_3187.JPGIMG_3192.JPGIMG_3188.JPG

- Churros and a mixture of hot chocolate and black coffee with sugar for breakfast at the hostel.

- the interior of the Parroquia San Jerónimo El Real, which is behind the Museo del Prado. Unfortunately I could only have a quick look from inside the the entrance because a service was going on, but I loved what I saw.

IMG_3270.JPGIMG_3271.JPG

These aren't highlights in particular, but I'd still like to mention them. On the way back from the Museo del Prado in the evening, I came across a peaceful pro-Gaza march along a street round the corner from my hostel.

IMG_3273.JPG

Once I got back to the hostel I had some of the paella that is provided cheaply there every evening - not bad at all.

Posted by 3Traveller 06:07 Archived in Spain Tagged lakes art museum spain madrid hostel botanical_gardens churros spanish_cuisine Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]